UN Gun Marking Scheme


No big deal?  Think again.

CSSA/CILAby Tony Bernardo

In the wake of our Commentary in the last CSSA E-News about the destructive effect that the U.N. gun marking scheme would have in the Canadian marketplace, we received a note from an E-News reader.

The note opined: “My Norinco pump has CA marked on it. Didn’t devastate anything.”

CSSA executive director Tony Bernardo has delivered several speeches on the subject at the United Nations in New York City over the years. He warns this reader that it would be a mistake to consider the proposed U.N. gun marking regime as non-threatening.

Tony’s reply to this reader may be of interest to others who doubt the gun marking scheme’s potentially disastrous effects on the Canadian gun industry:

It “didn’t devastate anything” because it was done in the factory before the finish was applied and it was done on a metal part.

The current regulations say it has to be “within 90 days AFTER its release from Canada Customs” (which means it cannot be done at the factory unless the factory is in Canada) and it has to have the CA and the year of import in plain sight on the receiver only and it must be a specific height, width and depth.

There is no inexpensive way to mark a firearm after it has been manufactured and finished. All marking methods are damaging to the finish and invalidate the warranty. Some materials, such as case hardening, lose structural integrity after scoring through the surface finish. Firearms receivers are made from 14 different materials ranging from titanium to plastic and obviously you cannot use the same marking techniques on each type of material.

The fixture that holds the firearm for marking costs $24,000 each and many of our importers carry over 100 different models of gun, each requiring a different fixture. Engraved guns are impossible to do without carving through the engraving and valuable collectors firearms have their value destroyed by marking them.

It takes approximately 20 minutes to mark each firearm, three per hour, 24 per shift per machine. Some of our importers import 80,000 guns per year and would require 220 engraving machines working 24 hours per day to meet that demand. And of course, if it could be done at all, all the costs must be passed to the consumer.

An exhaustive study done by the industry eight years ago placed the cost of marking these guns for the Canadian market at over $200 per firearm, and that did not include the costs of the importers having to carry the cost of all manufacturers warranties. When we involved the manufacturers of firearms around the world, they stated that Canada represents about 3 percent of the world’s consumption of firearms and that amount was simply not cost effective to spend that kind of money to retain a market that small. They would simply cease to export to Canada.

Profit margins in the industry are surprisingly small. A loss in revenue caused by a single major line pulling out would be enough to shut down most importers. And, the domino effect would take out most of the retailers of firearms. No stock, no sales. I hope this clarifies the situation a little.”

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  1. I would have thought stupid conspiracy theories but, yes it is true! I found (or should I say a professional friend)a marking on my Mossin, laser etched on the bottom side of the receiver near the trigger assembly. It said UN Number XXXXXXX. I would not even consider making this up. Please tell me what is going on here? Is this really necessary? Upon further inspection of another vintage piece I discovered more numbers not original to the unit. Who would of thunk?


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