Registering Your Firearm as Unknown

Under the "new" system, you fill out a "postcard" application, giving Make, Model, Manufacturer; Type, Action, Calibre, Shots (in magazine), Barrel (length) and Serial number for each rifle or shotgun you own, add the fee, and send it in. No "eyes-on" examination of the firearm is done, and the registration is simply using YOUR (possibly defective) information. We pointed out that few people can identify firearms accurately, and that "unique identification" (their stated goal) cannot be done that way. In fact, that is a proposal to cram the new "improved" registration files with garbage.

They explained that each firearm will be eyes-on "uniquely identified" the NEXT time it is transferred - X years from now. We pointed out that if THAT identification locates an error on the registration certificate, it is evidence of false information supplied on the "postcard" application. THAT can lead to criminal charges under Firearms Act sections 106 and 109, and up to five years imprisonment for a bad guess on identification. No thank you. They said that no one would actually lay charges under FA s.106; we countered with a series of horror stories about abusive enforcement that we have already seen, and declined to place unlimited trust in some police officer or firearms bureaucrat who may not even have been hired yet. We explained OUR program to deal with the FA s.106/109 problem. The only SAFE way to register a rifle or shotgun by the "postcard" method is to register it as: "Make: UNKNOWN, Model: UNKNOWN, Manufacturer: UNKNOWN, Calibre: UNKNOWN, Shots: UNKNOWN, Barrel length: UNKNOWN."

If the government wants to file all that useless information, we plan to force them to get it from the firearm, not from its owner. It is the only way we can guarantee that the owner will NOT be charged for giving false information the NEXT time the firearms is transferred.

We also pointed out that each "firearm" is actually a "frame or receiver" with or without a bunch of uncontrolled "spare parts" TEMPORARILY attached to it. We change barrel lengths, calibres, etc., quite often. Their concept is adding more and more information - much of it taken from markings on a "spare part" -- for entry onto the registration certificate. Therefore, the NFA will be educating firearms owners to register ONLY the naked "frame or receiver." In that way, "spare parts" can be added as needed.

True, that will complicate matters. Should the "naked receiver" of a Thompson Center Contender be registered as a "restricted firearm" handgun, a "prohibited firearm" .32 calibre handgun, an unrestricted rifle, an unrestricted shotgun, or all of the above simultaneously? (It can fall into ANY or ALL of those classifications by interchanging uncontrolled "spare parts.") They were quite unhappy with that. We pointed out that WE didn't design this ridiculous system of "unique identification." It was Ottawa's "experts" who included the definition of "firearm" which can make nonsense of the entire system when used creatively.

So: Please gather up all the junker rifles and shotguns you can find, particularly those that are DIFFICULT to "uniquely identify" from the data on the "frame or receiver." Strip them down to "frame or receiver," or as near to that as is convenient/possible. Apply to have them registered as: "Make: UNKNOWN, Model: UNKNOWN, Manufacturer: UNKNOWN, Calibre: UNKNOWN, Shots: UNKNOWN, Barrel length: UNKNOWN, and Serial number: UNKNOWN" when C-68 comes into force.

You are NOT being unreasonable. You are being SAFE. Unless you are a world-class firearms expert, you may NOT know that the "Make" stamped into your firearm is not a "Make." Your "J C Higgins" shotgun was actually made by Hi Standird and MARKED "J C Higgins" because Sears Roebuck ordered it marked that way. Your "Browning" rifle's actual "Manufacture" was done by a Japanese company. Your "8mm" rifle MUST be registered as "Calibre: 8X57mmJS" or "unique identification" is lost. The tubular magazine "Shots" capacity of your .22 firearm changes as you shift from .22 Long Rifle to Short cartridges, and your box magazine firearm "Shots" changes as you change magazines. Your "Barrel length" is dangerous, because different officers measure "Barrel length" differently.

The only SAFE way to register is the way we suggest. Let THEM gather the data they want for their files FROM THE FIREARM, NOT FROM YOU. It is better to be SAFE than to wind up in court severaI years from now, stuck with heavy fees going to the lawyer you need to defend you. Please make certain that every firearms owner is aware of this information.

Dave Tomlinson, National President, NFA