MAGAZINE CAPACITY RESTRICTIONS
Policy Memorandum No.:
16 July 2019
The CCFR believes that magazine capacity restrictions ought to be eliminated as they serve no useful public safety purpose.
RATIONALE AND DISCUSSION:
First, if one has a criminal intent to use a firearm, and wishes to use a standard capacity magazine, one merely has to use a power drill to remove the rivet which pins it at the legal capacity. The rivet therefore only prevents lawful firearm users from enjoying standard capacity magazines, not criminals. This regulation places an unjustified burden on licensed firearm owners in their participation in shooting sports, defense against predators in wilderness areas and exposes them to devastating criminal penalties for unintentional contravention.
Second, there are lawful ways of achieving higher magazine capacities. For example, there are variants of the AR 15 that fire .50 Beowulf cartridges. The magazines for these firearms fit all AR 15 variants. These magazines can also hold 14 rounds of 5.56 mm NATO ammunition. These are not prohibited devices but do permit lawful users of AR 15 rifles to load more than five rounds in their magazines. To the same effect are LAR-15 magazines which hold 10 rounds because they are designed for a pistol. However, they also fit all AR 15 variants. Finally, there are a number of rifles designed to take pistol magazines. For example, the JR carbine uses Glock magazines and the Beretta Cx4 storm carbine uses Beretta pistol magazines.
These “interpretations” or “loopholes” demonstrate the impracticality of the regulation and further increase the legal exposure of law-abiding citizens as they struggle to comply with a pointless law. In addition, the Canadian Firearms Program often changes their interpretation of this regulation by simply editing “Special Bulletin #72” on their website. This essentially changes the effect of the regulation making a previously “legal” magazine a “Prohibited Device” exposing those in possession to a mandatory 1 year in prison and up to 5 years depending on the circumstances of the offence.
Third, non-licensed, criminals possess firearms unlawfully and thus ignore magazine capacity limits. Firearm magazines can be produced by 3D printing or other simple methods of production and thus are impossible to keep out of the hands of determined criminals.
Recently published RCMP opinions and the statements from the Minister of Public Safety have indicated that incredibly common magazines for the Ruger 10/22 platform are now being considered prohibited.
Low power rim fire rounds like 22LR are legally exempt from the legislation which prohibits standard capacity magazines in all other calibers. Hundreds of thousands of firearm owners own these devices and the RCMP has no reliable way to inform them of this change of policy. Like all prohibited devices and firearms, unlicensed possession carries serious criminal penalties which makes paper criminals out of law-abiding firearm owners.
Magazine restrictions continue to serve no purpose in the prevention of criminal behaviour and only harm the law abiding and should be repealed.