The federal government says it will bring forward further restrictions on long-gun magazines that could impact many hunting firearms, although they are not included in the reintroduced Bill C-21.
The original Bill C-21 introduced in 2021 ordered a buyback of what the government calls “assault style rifles” and made it a criminal offence to increase any magazine’s capacity beyond what is currently lawful. That bill was reintroduced this past May in the wake of a US school shooting with, among other things, the federal government adding a freeze on handgun sales.
This was accompanied by signalling from Public Safety Canada that “the permanent alteration of long-gun magazines so that they can never hold more than five rounds and prohibit the sale and transfer of magazines capable of holding more than the legal number of bullets” is coming.
Previous magazine capacity restrictions only applied to centrefire semi-automatics.
“This bill is yet another example of the federal government missing the mark when creating new firearms legislation,” Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) Senior Advisor, Community and Partner Relations, Brian McRae, said. “More legislation that targets legal firearms owners does absolutely nothing to address the core issues around crime and the real problems that lead to gun violence in Canada. This legislation will have no effect whatsoever on crime in this country. The wrong people are once again getting caught up in this.”
He is especially concerned regarding the impacts on hunters. “You’re seeing coast-to-coast mainstream media headings about how the proposal focuses on the buying, selling, and transferring of handguns, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find many other aspects and measures within the bill that have other implications which are worrisome for our membership and the greater firearms community,” McRae said.
His fear is that the magazine restrictions could come soon through regulations that may not come before Parliament.
“With this bill comes a very strong signal from government, that additional regulations will be coming, and probably sooner than later,” McRae said. “The government has indicated their intention to implement measures that will severely impact long guns with a requirement to permanently alter all long-gun mags so that they can never again hold more than five rounds. This would have massive implications for the hunting and recreational shooting community.”
For instance, the minimum magazine capacity of a current Winchester Model 94 lever action .30- 30 is six, and most models hold seven cartridges. Most .22 rimfire guns of all actions also hold more than five.
More regulations to come
Asked for more about proposed magazine restrictions, Public Safety Canada spokesperson Magali Deussing said, “As part of its comprehensive strategy to keep communities safe from gun violence, and consistent with Minister Mendicino’s mandate letter, the government intends to bring forward regulations that will require the permanent alteration of large capacity magazines so that they can never hold more than five rounds, and prohibit the sale and transfer of magazines capable of holding more than the legal number of bullets.”
More information on these changes will be available later, Deussing said.
The OFAH doesn’t plan to let up on advocating against the legislation.
“We have to continue to implore the government to address the real issues on this matter,” McRae said. “Real, tangible actions and investments aimed at the root causes of violence are badly needed to see any measurable change in the issues which plague our society. The continued focus on licensed firearms owners is not the answer.”