According to Blair Hagen, executive vice president of the National Firearms Association, changes in regulation prohibiting a type of riffle magazine will affect hundreds of thousands of Canadians.
Factory made 22 long rifle calibre 10/22 platform magazines that have not been permanently altered, or “pinned” to meet the maximum capacity of 10 cartridges are prohibited. This means that anyone in possession of a Ruger 10/22 magazine may be in possession of a prohibited device.
“We believe this decision has left a lot of Canadians in a very bad spot legally,” said Hagen. “The RCMP has basically manufactured criminals where there were none before, and for no good reason; magazine capacity restrictions do nothing to ensure public safety.”
But according to the RCMP’s Canadian Firearms Program, there haven’t been any recent changes.
A recent bulletin on the Canadian Firearms Program’s website seeks to clarify the “several inquiries” recently received regarding this issue. The bulletin provides a link to another bulletin issued in September 2013, saying “magazines designed or manufactured for use in both rifles and semiautomatic handguns are subject to the handgun limit of 10 cartridges.”
“I would draw your attention to the information on the unchanged legal status of the devices and the current regulations, which, in terms of magazine capacity, came into force in 1993,” said RCMP spokesperson Annie Delisle.
However, Hagen says the public was unaware of any changes up until two weeks ago.
“The Ruger 10/22 riffle is probably the most popular riffle in Canada,” he said. “These magazines were imported to Canada legally and sold to the public right up until two weeks ago.”
“The problem here is that there are millions of these [magazines] in Canada in the hands of hundreds of thousands of people,” he continued. “If you’re in possession of these magazines, you are committing a criminal offence, even though you bought it last month.”
Hagen said there will be legal action over this issue. “The Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association is ramping up for civil action in regard to this decision because retailers across the country are stuck with stock of these things [magazines],” he said. “According to the RCMP, they cannot be sold and cannot be possessed, so it’s left a lot of people in a very tenuous legal position.”
The National Firearms Association is looking for is anyone who’s been criminally charged with possession of one of these magazines.
“If you’re out on the bush and a police officer fines you with one of these magazines, we want to hear about it,” said Hagen.
Bob Zimmer, Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, has also expressed his concerns with the regulation changes.
In a letter addressed to RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson, Zimmer urged the RCMP to reverse the regulation change.
“I have heard from many constituents who are concerned that this bureaucratic decision to change the classification of the Ruger 10/22 magazine, without a public bulletin, will now make many law-abiding firearms owners unknowingly considered criminals,” he said. “I urge you to reverse this unfortunate decision which has done nothing to promote public safety.”