In Gun News From The Sub-Polar Region To The North

The Canadian Firearms Blog is reporting that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Director of Firearm Regulatory Services has decreed that 80% AR lowers are prohibited. The rationale given is that they can be converted into M16 lower receivers. This prohibition also extends to receiver flats for the AK-47/74 and AMD-63/65.

From the memo issued by Robert J. O’Reilly of the RCMP:

Receiver blanks are firearms since they are nearly completed receivers and fall within the adaptability clause of the firearms definition in Section 2 of the Criminal Code. In other words,
a receiver blank is considered a
“barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death in a person,
and includes any frame or receiver of such a barrelled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm”. As such, they are subject to the firearms-related regulatory and enforcement provisions of the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code, including licensing and registration.

Depending on their properties, receiver blanks can fall into any one of the three firearm classifications: non-restricted, restricted, or prohibited. 

The memo goes on to say that individuals have no legal authority “to possess or acquire prohibited receiver blanks”. The memo contains a table listing many of the most common receiver blanks and their classifications under Canadian firearms law. The only receiver blank that is listed as “non-restricted” are ones for the Ruger 10/22. The rest are either prohibited or restricted.

The Canadian Firearms Blog goes on to report some hearsay evidence behind the RCMP’s decision and the reaction within the Canadian firearms community.

A user on a popular Canadian firearms forum on Reddit, who wished to remain anonymous, has reportedly spoken with RCMP firearms techs in Ottawa, stating they had explained that their interpretation is “so long as the blank (in whatever state it may be in) can be ‘easily’ turned into a firearm, it’s a firearm, and since machining is ‘easy’ that any completion of the receiver is enough.”

This decision by the RCMP has drawn considerable criticism, with some expressing concern that, by the verbiage used in the memo, any unmilled piece of alunimium or polymer in the size or shape of an AR-15 receiver can be affected, and some fearing that this is the foundation to reclassify AR-15s as a whole.

I feel for our Canadian gunny friends. While I have neither the skill nor the inclination to complete an 80% lower, I understand the appeal especially if you live in either Canada or California.  I doubt that they are going to get any relief from these onerous regulations in the immediate future given their respective governing parties.


5 thoughts on “In Gun News From The Sub-Polar Region To The North”

  1. When I see statements like "anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm" I cringe. Adapted by whom and with what? I have machine tools in my garage. I can adapt chunks of solid aluminum or steel into a firearm. Are they going to regulate the sale of chunks of metal as though they were firearms. Ever seen a "0% lower"? Those are just a forging shaped like an AR lower; no features go untouched. They require real machinist's tools and knowledge to complete, so maybe they make more sense to regulate than chunks of aluminum. On the other hand, they're a nifty paperweight.

    I still haven't worked out how to rifle a barrel, though. Do you know if replacement barrels are regulated the same as firearms up there?

    When you say, "… I have neither the skill nor the inclination to complete an 80% lower …", I'd say skills can be learned. As for tools, I've seen it done on a benchtop drill press. The only question is if it's cost effective to buy some jigs to help the process vs. buying a completed lower through an FFL if you only want to make one. If the laws change, the calculations trade off differently.

    1. I'm sure I could finish an 80% lower or AK flat. I've got the drill press and there are videos out there on how to do it. Extra tools could come from Harbor Freight.

      That said, with stripped AR lowers selling in the $40-50 range, my best option is to have a few extra. As you say, if the laws change, calculations on trade offs will change as well.

      Currently, I'm still designing my Form 1 suppressors as I've finally gotten my tax stamps on them.

    2. Barrels are not regulated. Only lowers and receiver frames are. The law is so stupid that you have to treat a completely stripped lower as if it is a firearms and trigger lock it. You even need a permit to transport it.

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