Industry News: July 2005
By Robert M. Hausman
Key amendments to the Canadian Firearms Act and its supporting regulations affecting firearm owners and businesses went into effect on April 10, 2005.
Individual Firearms Licenses
The firearms license renewal process has been streamlined and standardized, with reduced information requirements - for example, fewer personal history questions and no photo guarantor or reference requirements. All renewal applicants still need to provide information on current and former spouses and other conjugal partners with whom they have lived within the last two years.
Non-resident minors may use a firearm in Canada only if they are under the direct and immediate supervision of a licensed adult. Non-resident minors aged 12 to 17 may obtain a minors’ license to use non-restricted firearms for purposes such as hunting or target shooting if they have taken the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and passed its test.
Business Firearms Licenses
Business licenses formerly issued for a maximum of one year for businesses that possess firearms and other items regulated by the Firearms Act has now been changed to three years for business licenses issued on or after April 10, 2005 and five years for businesses that only sell non-prohibited ammunition with no fee increase.
Businesses can now get a firearms license to sell prohibited handguns they have lawfully possessed since December 1, 1998 to properly licensed individuals.
Individuals who have continuously held a valid registration certificate for a prohibited handgun since December 1, 1998 are grandfathered. Businesses and individuals now have another option for disposing of a handgun grandfathered by the amendment - they may give or sell it to a properly licensed individual.
Transporting Firearms (Individuals)
The maximum term of an authorization to transport (ATT) restricted firearms or prohibited handguns have been raised from three to five years, depending on the term of a person’s firearms license.
Prohibited firearms, other than prohibited 12(6) handguns, may no longer be transported to a shooting range. They may only be transported for specific purposes, such as a change of residence, repair, export, disposal, or taken to a gun show.
Transporting Firearms: Businesses
Formerly, only non-restricted firearms could be shipped by Canada Post. Restricted and prohibited firearms had to be shipped by licensed carrier.
Under the new law, restricted firearms and prohibited handguns may be shipped to another location in Canada by the most secure method offered by Canada Post that requires a signature upon delivery. Prohibited firearms other than prohibited handguns may still only be shipped by a licensed carrier.
Under the old regulations, the Registrar needed to be notified of firearm modifications only if the modifications were made to a converted automatic or if they changed the classification of a firearm. An approved verifier must have verified the firearms that were: being registered to a business; new imports being registered to an individual; or as of January 1, 2003, being transferred to a new owner. There was no requirement to re-verify a firearm that had already been verified.
Under the new rules, the Registrar must be notified of changes: to a converted automatic; those that make a firearm no longer a firearm; and changes to the type, action, caliber or gauge of any registered firearm if the change is intended to be permanent or lasts more than 30 days. All registration applications must be accompanied by evidence that the firearm has been verified. A firearm that has been verified must be re-verified if the information changes or if there are any questions about the firearm’s classification or description.
Transferring Firearms to New Owners
Formerly, a provincial Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) had to approve all transfers. Now, CFO approval is only required for restricted and prohibited firearms. The eligibility of purchasers to acquire non-restricted firearms will be confirmed during the registration process.
New Ownership Regulations on Isle of Man
Gun owners on the Isle of Man in the British Channel could face having their arms seized if they fail to comply with new firearms regulations.
Some 828 firearms certificate holders had until the end of March to apply for renewals. To receive the new certificates, owners must meet strict security rules on firearms storage or face seizure. Firearms certificates, which must be renewed every three years and cost 23.50 in British pounds, cover most firearms, but exempt air guns and certain types of shotguns. Unlike the United Kingdom, handguns can still be owned on the Isle.
Anti-Gun Group Gets UK Government Funding
The annual report of the United Kingdom-based anti-gun group, Saferworld, shows the organization received 1.8 million British pounds in 2004 for efforts against small arms ownership.
Saferworld, which is active in the United Nations as a non-governmental organization, had total income for the period (2004) totaling 2,373,791 pounds, according to the World Forum on the Future of Shooting Sports.
Saferworld’s Arms and Security program received funds totaling 1,841,643 pounds from the UK government in 2004. The project, aimed at strengthening controls on arms exports, also received funds from the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland, and the International Development and Research Centre, Canada.
Army Seeking M9 Replacement
The U.S. Army is evaluating possible replacements for the Beretta USA manufactured M9 service pistol.
The move is prompted by a feeling in some military circles that the 9mm cartridge the M9 pistol fires is inadequate. The M9 replaced the M1911A1 .45ACP pistol in 1985, and some in the military feel a return to the .45, or even a pistol chambered for the .40 S&W cartridge would be more appropriate.
The Marine Corps Times reported last month that the Army has evaluated some 88 commercially available pistols with the idea of possibly inviting makers to participate in an open competition. The Army also recently conducted tests of 14 various pistols in 9mm, .40 and .45 calibers at Fort Benning, GA.
Triebel Germany Moves
In other news, Triebel Germany, a gun tool supplier, has moved into a new facility. Triebel also has become the distributor for the Swiss-made Bersin ammunition measuring devices for the German and Austrian markets. More information is available at: www.triebel-guntools.de
UK Home Office Approves Use of TASER X26
TASER International, Inc., producer of non-lethal devices, says that the British government’s Home Office has approved use of the TASER X26 conducted energy device for authorized firearms officers throughout England and Wales.
According to the Home Office, “The Defense Scientific Advisory Council Sub Committee on the Medical Implications of Less Lethal Weapons confirmed that the risk of a life-threatening event arising from the direct interaction of the currents of the X26 TASER with the heart is less than the already low risk of such an event from the M26 TASER.” Both the X26 and M26 TASER devices are now authorized for use.
Another relevant highlight from the report concludes however, “Some frequently abused drugs have the potential to contribute to any cardiac-related morbidity or mortality that may arise in the context of TASER use.” ProTect Systems is the exclusive distributor of the M26 and X26 TASER products to the United Kingdom.
German Police Search Carl Walther Offices
In early March, the business premises of Carl Walther, in both Arnsberg and Ulm were raided by the German police on suspicion of illegal gun exports. Also searched were the offices of two employees, and the offices of Swiss and Czech arms dealers.
The police believe that Walther shipped P99 pistols through the Czech company Banzai, Ltd. of Prague to Manuel Pinto, a firearms dealer in Guatemala. Export licenses were reportedly never approved by the German authorities. Walther denies any wrongdoing. The matter arose following a shooting in Guatemala with a Walther P99 handgun.
In other Walther news, the firm has been awarded a 12 million Euro contract for the delivery of 40,000 P99 DAO pistols to the German police in the state of Nordrein-Westfalen, one of the largest German states.
Rival Heckler & Koch, which had raised two objections to the contract award, based on a claim that the Walther P99 pistol was “unreliable,” and on a claim to patent protection for an identification chip feature both pistols have, were rejected by a German court. H&K holds an international patent for a firearms identification chip which is included in their Model P2000 pistol.
Newly Legalized Models for German Market
Acting upon the request of importers and producers, the German Federal Criminal Investigation Agency (BKA) has confirmed the legality of the following models for ownership in Germany for target shooting purposes:
- Walther WA 2000 Cal. .308 Win & .300 Win. Magnum
- Oberland Arms .223 Rem. .22 LR with 16 inch and 20inch barrel
- Thompson T1 and T5 in 9mm and .45ACP
- Bruegger & Thomet TSP-A1 9mm Luger sans second pistol grip
- SARSportmatch Mod. 41 in .308 Win./.243 Win.
- Springfield M1A “Loaded” & “National Match” .308 Win.
- SIG Kempf SG 550 Zivil Match in .223 Rem.
- SAR Europe Sport in .222 Rem./.223 Rem.
- SLG-Hege in .308 Win.
The following models are not permitted for use in target shooting as their appearance fits the definition of a resemblance to a fully-automatic firearm (according to the 2003 German gun law). These definitions include a barrel length of under 17 inches (42 cm), a magazine located behind the trigger and hammer (“bull pup” designs) or an ammunition case length less than 1.6 inches (40mm).
- Oberland Arms UG in .223 Rem.
- 5k (Bruegger & Thomet) in 9mm Luger
- Bruegger & Thomet TSP-A1 in 9mm Luger with second pistol grip
Accuracy Intl. of U.K. Files Bankruptcy
Accuracy International of Portsmouth, U.K. has filed for bankruptcy, according to a report in the German trade press.
The company was formed in 1978 to design and build tactical rifles. In 1985, the British Army began to use the firm’s L96 A1 model. The company has since received orders from over 20 other countries for this model. The Germany Army ordered the Model G22 from the firm in 1997 to the chagrin of Mauser and Erma.
Malcolm Cooper, the company’s founder, died in 2001. Continuing government export restrictions have caused the gunmaker difficulties. Six months ago, one of Accuracy’s most important investors retired. According to a highly placed trade source, Heckler & Koch has expressed an interest in taking over the firm.
Internet Load Data Available
Reloading data for over 60,000 rifle, shotshell and handgun loads is available for a $24.95 USD fee at: www.loaddata.com.
U.S. Pavilion Formed at Moscow Show
In recognition of the growing marketing possibilities in Russia, an American pavilion has been organized for the upcoming Arms & Hunting 2005 event, which will take place in Moscow, Russia October 20-23, 2005. The U.S. pavilion will be composed of ten booths, each being 10-feet by 10-feet in size. The price of 2,000 Euros includes a table, chairs, two glass showcases, bottled water, an entry in the show catalog, an interpreter and transportation from the airport.
The Russian company, Kolchuga, offers help in transportation of exhibition products, import documents and in providing an invitation letter which is necessary for the VISA application for visitors. It is reported the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives will attend the show as part of the U.S. Embassy exhibit.
U.S. firms considering attending the show should get in touch with Tony Szemerei at Skenco International (situated in the U.S.) by phone (623) 581-3450 or by E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The author publishes two of the small arms industry’s most widely read trade newsletters, The International Firearms Trade, which covers the world firearms scene, and The New Firearms Business, which covers the domestic market. He also offers FFL-mailing lists to firms interested in direct marketing efforts to the industry. He may be reached at: FirearmsB@aol.com.
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