The term “variant” does not appear in the Firearms Act or the Criminal Code and yet it is used ninety-nine times in Firearms Regulations.  The definition of variant, or lack of one in our laws, has wide reaching implications with respect to the classification of and reclassification of firearms.

This 190 page response from the Justice Department has most of the pages blanked out citing the excuse of Solicitor-Client privilege and Advice to the Minister.

Interesting pages include the following:  

  • 158 and 159
  • 284 and 285
  • 287 and 288
  • 290 to 293
  • 315
  • 342 to 345


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Mike Gibson
Mike Gibson
8 years ago

A “variant” is usually used to describe something that varies from the original in some minor detail or characteristic. An example might be an AK-47, made by the same manufacturer, with a folding stock, or a select-fire switch, or perhaps a plastic stock. The RCMP brass, however, interpret a “variant” as anything that SHARES some single characteristic, no matter how inconsequential. Following my above example, they declared the Armi Jager AP-80 (a .22 plinking rifle, sharing identical workings with many other designs from the same manufacturer, varying only in outward appearance) to be a “variant” of the actual AK-47…with which… Read more »

Ron Gieck
Ron Gieck
8 years ago

…”.without such definition boundaries the term can evolve and change on a whim…. a political loophole to be certain.” The foregoing says a lot. If we look at the way the firearms act is being administered by the CFO’s (RCMP) it is obvious that a definition left up to them to interpret is exactly what they want. Furthermore, I believe that is the actual intent of those who wrote the content and those who passed it into legislation. With the liberals back you can bet it will continue to be that way in addition to whatever else they can use… Read more »

Gordon Thompson
Gordon Thompson
8 years ago

Almost no one semi familiar with this situation can deny it is ridiculous and that it is an affront to Canadians and the law that is supposed to be the basis on which we are governed. No bureaucracy should be able to invent language that of a variation of a common word, without a clear and unambiguous definition of how and why word applies. This issue makes a mockery of the law, and an unsupported attack against the citizens affected and is a gross example questioning the competence and veracity of the bureaucratic agency that has been entrusted to simply… Read more »

Dave Balun
Dave Balun
8 years ago

Sometimes a definition can be overblown ie: it is obvious through common usage that the meaning is known….that is not the case here…when a term is used 99 times in an Act there should be a definition attached, either within the specific act, the criminal code or elewhere….without such definition boundaries the term can evolve and change on a whim…. a political loophole to be certain

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