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RCMP Firearms Program is circulating a memo with new standards of how to tell a full auto lower receiver.

There's a new RCMP memo circulating within the Firearms Centre advising staff of a new standard of how to tell the difference and classify semi automatic from full automatic lower receivers.

There is an international industry standard of manufacturing AR-15 lower receivers, if the pocket for the trigger group is milled into either a low shelf, or high shelf milled pocket. The shelf height is what would allow or deny a full automatic trigger sear to fit into the rifle, with machine work required to allow high-shelf receivers to even accept full auto parts.

Enter the wisdom of the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program, that has decided to apply a new standard to the difference between a semi automatic and full automatic lower receiver. This memo that's circulating appears to apply an additional pocket width requirement, that no international standard has taken into account and was only really manufactured by Colt with the SP1 semi automatic rifle. The Colt SP1, which is now non industry standard compliant, had extra material around the selector pin that protruded into the lower receiver pocket. AR's that aren't manufactured off of the non compliant SP1 design could be on the RCMP's radar for reclassification according to the RCMP memo in point 12;AR-15 pattern firearms which are not SP1 compliant risk falling into the prohibited firearm category as they can be easily converted to fire in a full automatic manner in a short period of time.

Low shelf AR-15 vs High Shelf
Shown above are low shelf and high shelf AR-15 lowers.

Even if the pocket width is over the "SP1 standard" 13.4mm as per the RCMP data package it's still not as easy as the memo is making it sound to convert a rifle into select fire due to the industry accepted standard of shelf height. Furthermore no matter if it's a low shelf or high shelf receiver, and no matter the width of the pocket, in order to convert the rifle into a select fire rifle you require full auto parts some of which are already prohibited for unlicensed civilians to own, extra machining to the lower receiver, and technical knowledge of how to correctly machine and assemble the rifle into select fire configuration. Otherwise the inexperienced 'tinkerer' trying this would most likely create a rifle that's more dangerous to the shooter than anyone else. Not to mention, that converting any rifle to select fire is already illegal, and the ownership of parts to do so without proper licensing is already illegal, no matter how the rifle is designed in the first place.

CSAAA President Wes Winkel has said that the memo along with Firearms Reference Table (FRT) updates to the classification status of some brands of AR-15's would appear to indicate that the RCMP Firearms Lab is moving toward the prohibition of some AR-15's that do not conform to the "SP1 standard". According to Winkel there is a limited amount of AR-15 lowers that don't meet this new standard, and that the majority are likely to retain their current classification. The memo being circulated isn't legal notice of change to the status of your AR-15 should you own one. It's quite likely that even if it did, your AR-15 wouldn't fall into the prohibited class as there are very few in the country that don't meet the memo's standards.

This new memo would appear that the RCMP Firearms Lab is finding new ways to justify their budget, and finding a way to obtain a classification that they desire while only really targeting a very few rifles that are in country or ever to be imported into the country. The memo and changes to the data package within it does nothing to enhance public safety, and enforcing it would only serve to drain tax dollars from the public coffers for no benefit to everyday Canadians what so ever.