* This is Part 1 in our series on the UN Marking Scheme and what it means for Canadian gun owners.
Canada –-(Ammoland.com)- The Firearm Marking Regulations, introduced on December 23, 2004, have been postponed for 11 consecutive years by 3 separate governments for one simple reason: No government wanted to be responsible for killing Canada’s legitimate civilian firearm industry.
On June 1, 2017 – just ten short months from now – the shoe drops.
For most of us, the United Nations Firearm Marking scheme is an esoteric set of rules that really have little meaning for regular Canadian gun owners. The common refrain we hear is this: “So what if the gun has an extra marking on it. That doesn’t mean anything to me.”
If you don’t care about paying an extra couple of hundred dollars for every single gun you purchase, then you are absolutely correct. The UN Firearm Marking scheme means nothing to you.
However, most Canadians are not so eager to fork over an extra $200 on each new firearm they purchase. Under the UN Marking scheme, an inexpensive firearm that is worth $150 today would, because of UN Marking, become a $350 firearm after June 1, 2017.
That’s utterly insane and that’s why this issue is so important.
How can a small mark added to a gun possibly cost so much? To understand why the costs are so high it is necessary to examine Canada’s Bill C-10 Regulations on Firearm Marking.
First, Canada’s Bill C-10 Regulations state precisely how the marking must be applied to a firearm:
4. (1) The firearm shall be marked by permanently stamping or engraving on the firearm’s frame or receiver the word “Canada” or the letters “CA” and
(a) in the case of a manufactured firearm, the name of the manufacturer and the firearm’s serial number; and
(b) in the case of an imported firearm, the last two digits of the year of the importation.
(2) The markings shall
(a) be legible;
(b) have a depth of at least 0.076 mm and a height of at least 1.58 mm; and
(c) subject to subsection (3), be visible without the need to disassemble the firearm.
In short, this means every single firearm imported into Canada must have “Canada” or “CA”, a serial number, the manufacturer's name (on the receiver) and a two-digit code for the year it was imported.
No big deal, right?
Canada imports roughly 350,000 firearms every year. If these regulations come into force on July 1, 2017 as scheduled, every single firearm imported must have this information engraved on its receiver in plain view.
Firearms are made from many things: different grades of steel, aluminum, titanium, alloys, brass, case hardening, plated metals and polymer frames/receivers. The only practical method for applying the country code and year of import to firearms is Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Laser Engraving. It is the only method that can cope with such a wide variety of materials effectively.
Each CNC laser-engraving unit costs nearly $100,000. The fixtures to hold firearms in the CNC machine during engraving cost another $3,000 or so FOR EVERY MODEL OF FIREARM imported.
You cannot use the fixture for a Beretta 92 handgun for a Sig Sauer P-226. Nor can you use the fixture for a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun on a Ruger 10/22 rifle. Every make and model of firearm requires a laser engraving fixture specifically for that make and model at a cost of roughly $3,000 a piece. Imagine just 100 different makes and models of firearms. That’s $300,000 for a single fixture for each of those firearms.
It gets worse.
These astronomical costs must be duplicated for every single firearm importer and firearm manufacturer in Canada. Every single penny of those costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher firearm prices – higher by an estimated $200 per firearm.
Why can't the manufacturers apply the marking when the firearm is manufactured? Because Canada’s Bill C-10 Regulations state precisely when those markings must be applied:
3. (1) Every individual, business or public service agency that imports a firearm shall ensure that the firearm is marked in accordance with section 4 before the 60th day after its release as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Customs Act or before transferring the firearm, whichever occurs first.
Further to this point is the spirit of the C-10A legislation. The UN Marking is intended to be an import mark, not an export mark. If the manufacturer marks the firearm with the UN-correct marking, it only serves to identify that the manufacturer intends to ship the firearm to Canada, not that the firearm has actually been imported to Canada.
Firearms cannot be marked at the point of manufacture. Firearms can only be marked AFTER they are released from Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and they must be marked within 60 days of their release from CBSA. There are many valid reasons for this, but for Canadian gun owners it cannot be done at the cheapest point in the manufacturing process, at the gun manufacturer’s facility. It must be done in a Canadian facility that, at this time, does not exist.
Those facilities must be built, inspected and set up for firearm marking. Let that sink in for a moment. Those facilities do not exist in Canada. They must be created from scratch and that is very expensive.
Do you want to guess who will be paying for it?
The Firearm Marking regulations will come into force on June 1, 2017, unless the Trudeau government can be convinced that the regulations are not in the best interests of Canadians.
Our partner organization, the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA), the firearm industry group that lobbies on behalf of hunting and shooting related businesses in Canada, estimates the total cost to apply the UN Marking to a firearm is just over $200 per firearm.
This estimated cost includes CNC Laser Engraving machines, training and salary of the technicians required to run those machines, the new facilities that must be built or leased to house all of this, along with the labour to unpack and repack firearms from their factory packaging once the process is complete. It also includes the labour and computer systems required to track all of this activity so it can be reported to the United Nations.
The CSAAA estimates the cost of processing all firearms imported into Canada at about $60 million per year. This does not include the cost of purchasing the equipment and training the people necessary. This is the cost PER YEAR after all the marking equipment is purchased, configured, the staff trained and the site is operational.
Can Canada’s firearm industry really withstand a 60 million dollar tax PER YEAR? It’s highly unlikely.
Firearm manufacturers, importers and distributors simply do not have the profit margins to allow them to absorb these astronomical additional costs. Every penny of this cost must be passed on to consumers: Canada’s firearm owners.
Marking every firearm that enters Canada is no small task physically or financially. It is, however, an excellent way to radically limit the importation of firearms without actually banning firearms from civilian ownership.
If you disagree with Canada’s looming implementation of the UN Firearm Marking Regulations, please write to the following people and express politely why you believe implementing these regulations is a very bad idea for Canada.
- The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
- The Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety
- Michel Picard MP, Parliamentary Secretary to The Minister of Public Safety
- Bob Zimmer MP, Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus
- Yvonne Jones MP, Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus
- Your own federal Member of Parliament
You can find contact information for Members of Parliament and Minsters here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members