Late Friday night the RCMP declared all 12-gauge and 10-gauge shotguns are legal “because we say so.”
Please read my assessment of Minister Blair’s similarly worded legal advice on Facebook and Twitter at the end of this article. My thoughts there apply to the RCMP’s latest as well.
Friday was not a good day for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) published another news release slamming the minister for his May 1, 2020, Order in Council banning over 1,500 specific makes and models of semi-automatic rifles.
On Friday morning, RCMP Technical Unit Supervisor Tim Hobbs confirmed an old Iver Johnson single-shot, fixed-choke 12-gauge shotgun with a 2 3/4” chamber would be reclassified as a Prohibited firearm.
This information was obtained via an unnamed firearm dealer who recorded a video while measuring the bore of the old shotgun before speaking to Mr. Hobbs.
Adding CBSA insult to the RCMP’s injury of the Public Safety Minister’s credibility, a 2019 Canadian Border Services Agency Memorandum (D19-13-2) defines “bore” as
“the inside of the barrel of a firearm, from the throat to the muzzle, through which the projectile travels.”
By the CBSA’s definition,” said the CSSA news release, “it may be all 12-gauge and 10-gauge shotguns – not just those with removable chokes – that are now Prohibited firearms because they [Bill Blair’s office] do not consider the forcing cone, the ‘throat’ of the barrel, which exceeds the 20 mm maximum bore diameter specified in SOR/2020-96.”
But that wasn’t even the worst part of Bill Blair’s Friday daylight nightmare.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) issued an alert, New Canadian Gun Ban Poses Risks for Exported American Shotguns.
Based on strict reading of the new Canadian law (SOR/2020-96, Section 95) 12-gauge shotguns are banned because with the choke tube removed the muzzle diameter is 20mm or greater (depending on the model). The new law bans any firearm with a bore of 20mm or greater.
According to Canadian law, the barrel bore is measured at the widest point through which the projectile travels, which is the muzzle on a 12-gauge shotgun. 10-gauge shotguns may also be included in the ban.
We would urge all companies to exercise caution when deciding whether to export any 12-gauge or 10-gauge shotguns to Canada at this time. It is possible that the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) could impound and/or seize the shipment. If impounded, you will face thousands of dollars in fees per day based on the size of your shipment. There have been public statements by Canadian officials suggesting that 12-gauge shotguns are not banned. However, the law as written has not been changed to remove any legal ambiguity.
NSSF® is attempting to obtain legally-reliable assurances from the Canadian government as to whether 12-gauge or 10-gauge shotguns can be lawfully exported to Canada. We will continue to monitor this situation and keep members updated on further developments.
Ignorance and stupidity have consequences – a timeless principle even Public Safety Minister Bill Blair may now understand.
With each passing day, we discover more and more unintended consequences delivered by Bill Blair’s OIC.
Unfortunately, over two million licenced Canadian gun owners caught in legal limbo must now ask themselves what to believe:
- a Facebook and Twitter post from the Minister two days ago?
- the Order in Council he published in Canada Gazette and passed into law seven days ago?
- The RCMP’s declaration last night?
That any government would put its citizens in this position is unconscionable, yet here we are.
I can’t trust a word that passes over Minister Bill Blair’s lips.
My only option (if I want to remain out of federal prison) is to believe the words the Public Safety Minister wrote and passed into law by Imperial Decree in SOR/2020-96.
Ultimately, this whole disaster will take a judicial ruling to sort out.
Until then, Minister Blair’s Facebook and Twitter decrees, along with the RCMP’s edict last night, that 12-gauge and 10-gauge shotguns are not affected by SOR/2020-96 carry zero weight with me, nor should they carry any weight with you.
I’ll pass on more about this ever-expanding fiasco as new information comes to light. We’re far from done on this, edicts from on high notwithstanding.
In the meantime, stay happy, healthy and safe until common sense returns to Canada.
Just don’t hold your breath while you wait.