With Bill C-21 before the Senate at press time, there is still confusion about what this will mean for gun owners and how it relates to the gun buyback.
A spokesperson for Public Safety Canada confirmed that a buyback for semi-automatic military-style rifles will go ahead. The spokesperson added, “More information will be provided to Canadians in due course.”
It was also confirmed that Bill C-21 is not linked to the buyback program.
For owners of the firearms prohibited on May 1, 2020, this means the guns named in the Order must be disposed of by the time the amnesty expires on Oct. 30, 2023.
Public Safety’s spokesperson said that there will be no restriction on hunting semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. Bill C-21 does have a new definition of a prohibited firearm, which is: “a firearm that is not a handgun and that; discharges centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner, was originally designed with a detachable cartridge magazine with a capacity of six cartridges or more, and is designed and manufactured on or after the day after the Bill comes into force.” It was clarified that this does not apply to guns currently on the market.
OFAH Policy Manager Mark Ryckman confirmed there is still confusion about C-21 amongst gun owners and the public in general. “The general public doesn’t have a solid appreciation for how robust Canada’s gun laws are or what the existing body of research says about the anticipated impact of the measures in C-21, like the handgun ban, magazine restrictions, etc.,” he said. “This makes the entire debate about Canadian firearms policy and gun crime susceptible to misinformation and increased polarization along political lines, neither of which is constructive.”
He said the final version of Bill C-21 will have less of an impact on gun owners than the definition proposed in November 2022 that would have had captured many guns currently used on hunters. “
The Minister of Public Safety has signalled that he intends to reconstitute the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee to conduct a model-by-model review of the remaining 480-plus models and recommend some for prohibition through a future Order-in-Council,” he said. “As such, any impacts on individual gun owners is essentially deferred for now.”
Ryckman indicated there is a possibility the amnesty may be extended. “The government has suggested that it will extend the amnesty past October, which is an absolute necessity because they still haven’t figured out how they are going to buyback prohibited firearms from individual gun owner,” he clarified.