Overview of Canadian Gun Laws

Today, a general overview of Canadian gun laws, so we Americans (and you folks across the ocean) can have a better idea of what the legal situation is in the Great White North. Please recognize that this is a general overview only – we are not getting into the nitty gritty details, and this is not meant to be used for legal advice. Thanks to John at Marstar for joining me!



  1. As far as I can tell every society, with some minor exceptions, allows citizens some perks; guns being the case in point. It rewards obedient ones and keeps away those who do not want to play along. This itself put question on meaning of citizenship since this is supposed to be universal.

    But also, and mainly I can see purpose of these quasi-rules as a provision for concerned business to make profit – and that is the driving engine of society. Gun sales is just another franchise of same. I could go into other sectors to document rules peculiarities such as motorcycles ownership. While all of them can go over legal speed limit (some of them multiple times), they are perfectly legal to own. Kind of funny predicament to start with, it shown how shaky and artificial the rules are.

    This was great discussion. One item of interest – brand origin of rifles, as the knowledgeable fellow mentioned. Yes, all Russian made is out while Chinese is just fine (with exception of AK pattern). Some other military style rifles are also non-restricted. Examples are various versions of vz.58 and Tavor and lately FAMAE manufactured SIG rifles. I find it amusing; kind like “sub-discrimination” in society which prides itself to be sample of non-discrimination (if we do not consider the inverted kind of it).

    Yeah I know, there have to be rules of sort; I cannot imagine a “state” without them. How they support order and serve society is separate question. A let’s keep in mind – we can also be cut off completely. So, lets be thankful for what we have 🙂

    • To add an example of “grand-fathering” as far as Canadian gun law is concerned. I purchased in early 1990s vz.52/57 rifle – merely as souvenir of times I was kid and saw soldiers walking with them along DDR border (it was old caliber vz.52 actually).

      I promptly took the rifle to local OPP (police) detachment and had it checked in terms restricted-non/restricted classification. The present officer took tape measure along the barrel and pronounced – NON-restricted. The ten round magazine capacity was not of concern at the time. I took it couple of times to range and never encountered any obstacles. Couple of years after they changed the rules and suddenly my rifle is – restricted. I am still with the law since I have both non-restricted and restricted approval. But how about taking it out at shoot out of it? What am I supposed to do about magazine capacity? Put a block into magazine to wreck its historical value? I am certainly not going to do that; instead I do not take it to range any more. It’s just a keeps sake by now and that’s fine be me.

      • You got some bad info. The VZ52 is non-restricted, since it is not on the restricted by name list, and, as you said, the barrel is long enough. On the other hand, simply having the original 10 round magazine without it being blocked to 5 rounds is illegal, regardless of if you shoot it or not. Unfortunately they don’t care about the historical value, so you will need to put a rivet in it.

        • Let’s not fuzz more the already fuzzy rules 🙂

          Rifle with original magazine is not illegal (actually modifying its magazine either way might be illegal). It has changed classification from “non-restricted” to “restricted”. Since I do not intend to take it out of home it does not pose a violation of law on my part. Besides, as I mentioned, I am approved to both classes of ownership.

          • It is a semi-auto center-fire rifle, so the magazine MUST be restricted to 5 rounds. Period.

            I wish it were not so, I would dearly love to un-rivet the mags on my SKS, and my VZ-52/57 and my SVT-40 and my pair of AG-42bs, but there is no difference between restricted and non-restricted rifles when it comes to magazine capacity.

            All pistols are limited to 10 rounds and all center fire semi-auto rifles are limited to 5 rounds.

            I would love it to be otherwise, but it is not so

            His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, pursuant to the definitions “prohibited ammunition”Footnote a, “prohibited device”Footnote a, “prohibited firearm”Footnote a, “prohibited weapon”Footnote a and “restricted firearm”Footnote a in subsection 84(1) and to subsection 117.15(1)Footnote a of the Criminal Code, hereby makes the annexed Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted………..

            Former Cartridge Magazine Control Regulations

            3 (1) Any cartridge magazine

            (a) that is capable of containing more than five cartridges of the type for which the magazine was originally designed and that is designed or manufactured for use in

            (i) a semi-automatic handgun that is not commonly available in Canada,

            (ii) a semi-automatic firearm other than a semi-automatic handgun,

          • I appreciate your explanation Paul. However, I insist that I am not in need to alter magazine of my rifle due to changed requirements. It merely changes its class. I am in legal possession since I hold appropriate certification.

          • Denny, pay attention please. Our friend is correct.

            If the magazine in question was originally designed and manufactured for use in a semi-auto center-fire rifle, its capacity *MUST* be limited to FIVE rounds.

          • Denny I’m sorry to also inform you that you are incorrect. Your magazine is now illegal to own while it is still unblocked. You must put a block or rivet in to limit it to 5 rounds only. You can be charged and lose all your guns if the magazine is found in your possession in it’s 10 round capacity. Do you really want to chance all that just to keep it original? If you rivet it you can remove it later on if this irrational law is ever changed.

    • “all Russian made is out while Chinese is just fine”
      So TT-33 made by TOZ is no, but Pisztoly 48.M
      is fine?
      If so, I will just assume that is magic, like U.S. transferable attribute, which is not synchronized with technical matters (like say gas-operated or self-loading) and so out of my interest.

      • T33 pistols of both Chinese and Yugoslav production were available from same Marstar we read about. The original caliber was easier to obtain, 9mm versions were typically sold out. Reason is evident – availability of ammo. If I was interested in buying pistol, this would be my choice. I know one man who bought Chinese made pistol. You cannot beat Tokarev.

      • As a U.S. citizen, I can attest that not so very long ago the Soviet manufactured SKS carbine was a curio and relic, while the Chi-com Type 56 version was not a curio or relic, and it also had to have the nefarious bayonet removed from the front, irrespective of being a pre-1965 blade version, or a post-1965 spike type. That the bayonet actually retains the cleaning rod in place on all but the ueber-rare ex-Nationale Volksarmee/VoPo/KGderAK und so weiter that used a Mauser-style pull through didn’t matter. Neither did the relative scarcity of bayonet stabbings… At least that I was aware of.

        Unless I’m mistaken, and often am when it comes to these things, all SKS variants these days are Curios & Relics. But of course they also can’t be imported any longer. They do go to Canada, possibly through trade with the Ukraine? I just about fell over when I saw a Canadian website with multiple examples of 1949-dated SKS rifles–magazines pinned to five rounds–from Tula!

        For those of us enamored with WWII-vintage “garbage rods” and homely service rifles, at least Canadian low-end collectors don’t have them marred with import marks, reassigned serial numbers, caliber designations, and so on.

  2. A good overview, but a couple of things worth mentioning. I think John is also a bit spoiled by MARSTAR’s various licenses, so he got a couple of minor details wrong, for example, you CAN take prohibited pistols to the range, just not prohibited long guns.

    A few other details;

    1. Besides anything with a shorter than 106mm barrel, all .25ACP and .32ACP handguns are also prohibited.

    2. The short barreled shotguns must come from the factory in that configuration. You are not allowed to cut a regular barrel down or even get a gunsmith to do so. There was an issue a few years ago with some police surplussed Remington 870s that had been cut down, and once this was discovered, an attempt was made to track down the owners and get them to replace the barrels and turn in the cut down ones.

    4. As John said, some of the guns on the restricted and prohibited list are on there strictly on looks. The AK-22 rim-fire is a “Prohibited variant of the AK-47” for example. Basically the government looked at that year’s Gun Digest and prohibited everything that “looked scary”. Which was a good thing for us, since it is not based on technicallities, but rather on looks, and on what was in production and being imported at the time.

    So for example, all AK variants are prohibited by name, but Czech VZ-58 civillianized semi-autos were not. Which is why they are very popular in Canada. Those that came in with the original 16 inch barrel are restricted. Another importer commissioned a version with newly manufactured 19 inch barrels and these are non-restricted.

    Same with the M-14S/M-305 Norinco M-14s. My Grandfathered FN (L1A1) cannot be taken to the range and fired, but my M-305 from MARSTAR can be fired at the local gravel pit or out in the woods if I so desire, despite the fact that from a technical perspective, both have essentially the same barrel length, overall length, calibre, and method of operation.

    Granfathering of Prohibited firearms is broken down by class, and given a number (which I believe is based on the paragraph and sub-paragraph of the regulations). Other than full auto, the magic date was when the last set of laws came in during the mid’90s They are;

    12.2 – Full auto (Grandfathered in 1978)

    12.3 – Converted Auto (brought in so full autos could be sold after 1978 by having a gunsmith weld up auto-sears and making certain other modifications.

    12.4 – Certain semi-auto firearms listed by name, small size (Uzi carbines, Steyr AUG etc.)

    12.5 – Certain semi auto firearms listed by name, large size (FN FAL, H&K-91 etc.)

    12.6 – Handguns with short barrels and /or in .25 or .32

    12.7 – Handguns that fall under 12.6, but made before 1946 (these are the ones that can be handed down through the family). This was added later because of complaints that the PPK Great-Grandpa took off a dead Nazi and brought back from the war couldn’t be passed down.

    Contrary to what John said, only class 12-7 prohibited handguns can be passed on, when I die, my collection of FN FALs has to go to a museum, another collector, of a dealer like MARSTAR, or the RCMP will get them and have them destroyed. Also, you only get grandfathering in what you had on the cutoff date. I have FNs and some other long guns, but didn’t own anything else on the list, so my license says “Probided O.I.C 12-5”, and that is all I can have. So I can get an H&K-91 but not an AUG or UZI carbine, or a Luger pistol with the original barrel.

    One other thing not mentioned is that there are also regulations related to storing or displaying of firearms, and also for transporting them. So to take your handgun to the range, it must be unloaded, in a locked case, and with a trigger or cable lock installed, whereas a regular shotgun must just be unloaded.

    As mentioned, the antique cutoff is the same as the US, but certain calibres are not allowed (.22 and several .38 variations). I assume that is based on the idea that I can get .22 ammo easily and rob a bank with an antique .22 revolver, but I can’t go to my local Canadian Tire and buy a box of some obscure Belgian Pin-fire). Likewise repeating rifles are not antiques unless their bore is over a certain size (11mm I think), so a Lee-Metford is not an antique regardless of manufacturing date, but a Prussian Commission Rifle would be. (Similar logic based on ammo availability I assume). Also, legal though it may be, carrying your antique Webley, unless you were dressed up for re-enacting would likely get you unwelcome police attention, and likely arrested and charged, even if you did eventually get off at trial.

    As for the licensing and so on, it does have a couple of advantages. For example, I can order online from MARSTAR directly, despite being in a different province and they will ship directly to my house. A Canadian gun owner, sice they have a federally issued license is essentially their own FFL, to put it in terms an American would understand. We can even import as an individual, but it is usually too much hassle, so certain dealers have importing services.

    Our rules are arbitrary and weird, but we don’t suffer the import hassles, so we get Norinco stuff, and can import stuff without it being manufactured here. So for example, we got TAVORS long before you guys did, and we can have Chinese type 97s and so on. We also don’t have to deal with SBRs and arm braces and so on, since an SBR up here is restricted already.

    Glad to see you coming up here and enjoying the few things we have that you can’t get in the States.

    • John also talks about taking restricted class to the range, to clarify it has to be a club range. We can not take restricted class firearms to a public range unless the local club has privileges there and we need to be a club member to buy this class firearm. There is a wait time for the transfer so, unlike non restricted, you can’t just buy it and walk out of the store with it.

      • Since you mentioned it, we should mention that non-restricted firearms are not registered. You can walk into a retailer and if you have a valid license and your payment clears, you can walk out with your purchase, so long as it is non-restricted. The dealer still maintains his records, similar to the way it is done in the US. Private sales are different. As a seller, I am legally supposed to see the buyer’s license and if I feel the need, I can call the RCMP and they will verify the validity of the license, and that is it. I don’t need to give them any information about which of my guns I am selling, and if it is non-restricted, then in theory they wouldn’t know what I own anyway.

        All restricted and prohibited firearms are registered with the RCMP and you get a “registration certificate” for each one you own.

        Purchasing or selling a restricted or prohibited firearm requires permission from the RCMP, and a new certificate for the new owner. This can take a while, especially in the case of a private sale.

        The seller calls the RCMP and provides details on himself, his license number, the gun and it’s serial number and registration certificate number. He then gets a reference number which he passes on to the buyer. The buyer then calls, gives the number, verifies information about himself and the gun he is buying, and then we wait for the RCMP to go through the process. Eventually the buyer gets a notification of transfer with the new registration number and the seller can ship the gun.

        Dealers send transfer info online and it is far quicker, but you don’t get to walk out with the gun on the same day.

        • Excellent information Paul, our system is definitely complicated. I was told recently by a CFP rep that I will need an additional ATT to transport an R class firearm to the post office for shipping to a family member in another province. Apparently my current ATT doesn’t cover me for that. Once I receive the transfer paperwork I’ll have to call my provincial CFO for this. I figured it was covered by my current ATT so I’m glad she told me.

          • Yes, and technically you also need one to pick it up from the post office if you were not home when they tried to deliver it. Something I didn’t realize the first time I did so either. I didn’t find out till someone on a web forum told me.

            And it used to vary by Province. The Ontario office insisted that you only got an ATT for the club you belong to, and if you went to a competition at another club you needed another temporary ATT for that. Likewise to take your gun out of the country or to the gunsmith. Here in BC, we got a blanket ATT for all purposes except going to the post office and picking up a new gun from a retailer.

            I am not sure, but I think that this is now harmonized with the long term ATT now being automatically a condition on your license.

            (For those not Canadian, besides being able to shoot restricted firearms only on a certified range, we also needed a separate permit to do so. It is called an ATT (Authority to Transport). There are two types, short term and long term (STATT and LTATT). An LTATT is a blanket permit, that permits you to take your restricted firearm(s) to and from your club’s range. A STATT is for picking up a newly purchased gun from a retailer or the post office, taking it to a gunshow for display or sale, taking it to a gunsmith for repair, when moving to a new address and so on.

            It used to be that you had to apply for this separately, but since you self evidently had the appropriate license, it would pretty much automatically be granted.

            The previous conservative government streamlines the regulations so that the LTATT is now automatically part of your license, and getting an STATT is basically a phonecall to the CFO’s office and they pretty much instantly email you one on demand, at least here in BC.)

      • You may be describing what happens in your province but each is different.

        There is no such thing as a “public range”. A range is certified by the CFO or not.

        • There are public firearm ranges in NS, under DNR. Inspected and approved by the CFO, obviously but they are open to the public as long as you have a Wildlife Resource Card, otherwise you have to go to the office to sign a liability waiver. With the card the booking and waiver can be done online. Clubs can get permission to use them as their range but they are public ranges.

        • Paul from Canada…

          The sixth of the six Spcl Conditions now attached to our RPAL authorizes the transportation of Restricted arms and 12(6) handguns from the place of acquisition to the place of registration or other place as authorized by the CFO.

          Accordingly, you can collect your firearm from the Post Office and take it directly to your home.

          You know your work very well, Paul. Refreshing to see. 🙂

    • “12.6 – Handguns with short barrels and /or in .25 or .32”
      This seems peculiar to me – .32 Auto and .380 Auto (9x17mm Kurz) are [intentionally] so similar, so several automatic pistols have .32 Auto and .380 Auto variant. Some are even “convertible” (cf. Ortgies automatic pistol or HK4)

      • Yes, these calibers are prohibited outright by Cdn gun law (part of Cdn Criminal Code) even if barrel was half meter long. I happen to own CZ70 (originally used by CZ police) and own/ possess it based on proper certification. I have no ambition to shoot it in public range.

      • Sometimes it is difficult to see the logics in Canadian firearms regulations. Sometimes background stories make them believe able.
        For example: RCMP tried to ban .25 and .32 calibre pistols because they found too many .25 wounds in drug dealers. Wounded criminals are far more complex to process than dead criminals.
        Since John Browning originally designed .25 ACP to mimic .22 long rifle, rim fire ballistics, it is the weakest of centre-fire cartridges. .25 ACP’s only advantage is smoother feeding in early semi-automatic pistols.
        Ergo police only saw .25 and .32 as cheap, throw-away pistols only used by shady criminals that frequented opium dens.
        After the rule was enacted, Olympic competitors reminded the RCMP that .25 and .32 were still fired in international competitions, so police granted a loophole for serious competitors. Saturday night specials are still prohibited in Canada.

  3. The RCMP withhold information on the legal status of guns and users in violent crimes. It does publish a report that describes the type of firearm used in homicides but nothing about legal status. Some forces publish figures on the source (smuggled, stolen, not stolen etc.) of “crime guns” but stolen guns are lumped in with guns seized at violent crime scenes so that info is tainted.

    The primary reason for this police obfuscation that doing so would make it obvious that all of the nonsense regarding “classification” is just for show. Luckily an academic, Gary Mauser, recently went through the legal hoops to get some of this info. He found that firearms license holders rarely committed violent crimes with guns. Not surprisingly people who legally owned guns were far less likely to shoot someone dead than the general public.

    It simply does not matter how long a gun’s barrel is, what type of action it has or had, mag size or what calibre it is. All of the concerns that classification deals with are bogus. The only thing that matters is who has it but that thought endangers the over $ 100 million the RCMP gets annually to administer the system.

    It’s not even clear that the more costly and time consuming Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) does more to protect the public than the Firearms Acquisition System (FAC) did. Looking at gun homicide rates the difference between the two systems (understanding that fewer young men, cell phones and better trauma care must have some part in keeping people alive who would have died in the 80’s and earlier) isn’t clear.

    What about suicides? Classification certainly doesn’t stop suicides and there’s no sign that people who’ve had their guns confiscated don’t use other means. In any event provincial governments paid for > 2,000 people to be intentionally killed by doctors last year and all are setting up “safe injection sites” for opiod use (one city has set up a crack house) so the concerns about suicides seem a bit disingenuous. Currently about 20 people OD on drugs for every gun homicide victim most of whom are involved in gang violence.

    • “All of the concerns that classification deals with are bogus.”
      I cannot agree more. The system lives on its own vices like mushroom lives on horse manure; it feeds itself and for his reason it needs the fuzziness it introduced and promotes. Sure, all those officers love to have jobs and get paid.

      Any ‘knowledgeable’ insights such as Paul produces are of little value. They are merely technicalities omitting fallacy of its essence.

      • I totally agree about the “fallacy of its essence”, (see my comment about how my FN is technically identical to an M-14s), but I didn’t write the laws, I just chafe under them.

        You may not like my “knowledgeable insights”, (I take no pleasure in telling you that you possess a “prohibited device” under the law as it is currently written, but you do), and the RCMP DOES care about the technical minutiae and unless we can get them rescinded, we have to live with them.

        I would LOVE to take my L1A1 to the range and mag dump a 20 round mags. I would LOVE to be able to put a full 10 round stripper clip in my SKS, but legally, I can’t, and that is that.

        • That’s the theatre part of this. Not taking a prohibited rifle to the woods or a “certified range” to shoot with high capacity mags is solely enforced by your compliance. Doing so puts no one in harms way. Any offence committed is solely for ignoring the government. No one is harmed. Nothing is damaged or stolen. It is a law for the sake of a law to appear to be “doing something” and to give RCMP and ex-RCMP members (in CFO offices)comfortable employment.

          If you decided to rob a bank there is nothing in the system to prevent it. If you didn’t have a prohibited rifle then you’d be “stuck” with an AR-15. Apparently a rifle deemed obsolete by the army in the mid 80’s is a greater public danger than the current issue one.

          The part of the law banning target shooting with prohibited rifles can have only the function of punishing collectors. The Tories (supposedly closet NRA members) actually made this section stricter.

    • There is an interesting study (can’t find the link right now), about suicide in Australia and Canada after implementation or their respective gun control laws.

      What they found was that yes indeed, suicide with firearms DID go down after the new laws came into effect, but that the overall suicide rate did not. Those who were suicidal and found it too hard to get a gun under the new regulatory regime, simply jumped off high things or ran their car in the garage or hanged themselves instead.

  4. What is a meaning of this or that “class” of firearm, nota bene size of magazine, length or operating system if every one has a purpose to kill?

    Just fresh in news: during current unrest in Iran, first police officer was shot and killed by hunting rifle. Well yes, hunting rifles at powerful enough to do what they are designed for. They are typically more potent than those used by military. So, should we not ban all of hunting rifles as a result? Reclassify again?

    • Oleg Volk has a meme poster about that.

      When the next atempt at gun control/gun banning comes, it will not be a “hunting rifle”, it will be described as a “high powered sniper weapon”.

      As I mentioned, I am “grandfathered” for prohibited rifles. When the last round of legislation came around, there were a lot of firearms “grandfathered” and a number that were not.

      My FNs were. SPAS-12 shotguns were outright prohibited without grandfathering, as were H&K MP-5s. I suspect the differences were in how many there were. I doubt there were more than a dozen SPAS-12s in the whole country. Whereas there are likely several thousand FNs.

      As Ian mentioned in the video, the people who write the laws and regulations don’t know anything about firearms. The SPAS-12 is not any more lethal or dangerous than any other 12 gauge, but it sure looks cool, or sinister, depending on your perspective, and that is the entire reason that it was banned. You can still buy plenty of pump action and semi-auto shotguns in Canada, but not a SPAS-12.

      Functionally, my FN is identical to an M-305 in all the ways that matter. Both are gas operated semi-autos with 20 (pinned to 5) round magazines, with the same approximate barrel length and overall length. One is non-restricted, one is prohibited. There is no logic in most of the laws, and it is a waste of time trying to figure them out or argue about them using logic.. Gun control is not based on logic.

      • Yeah, right. Now the remaining question: what is concerned public’s function in this obvious controversy? We heard in past from staunch firearms opponents such as Wendy Cuckier. Where we, responsible and law abiding gun owners are? Do we have any opportunity to participate in a productive discussion with a meaningful, tangible results?

        Oh crap, politics… again 🙂

  5. I didn’t hear an explanation for Ian’s use of full auto prohibited firearms outside of a legal range. Did I understand there are no ranges for FA weapons, since they’re prohibited, and you can’t shoot them at home, so…..how was Ian able to shoot a FA Skorpion, for example, in what seemed to be the woods, legally?

    • Department of National Defence ranges are so approved, and I imagine that MARSTAR has managed to get the CFO(Chief Firearms Officer)to sign off on their own in house range, they having a business license that allows them to import, hold and sell full-autos and all sorts of things not available to “civillians”.

      There are all sorts of federal licenses for things that are illegal for the “guy in the street”. Movie prop companies can have full-auto and standard capacity magazines for example. There is also at least one company in Canada manufacturing suppressors, even though suppressors are absolutely forbidden to “civilians” in Canada.

  6. One general point interest coming of my long term observation: whenever I look at pages of say three major suppliers of firearms in Canada, I see that most of 9mm pistols are consistently sold out.
    Now, compare it with restrictions you are reading here about (mainly courtesy of Paul). My question is: who and why is hoarding this quantity of pistols? If you go to individual cases, you will with 99% percent certainty find that they are legally acquired. They are kept at homes of legal owners and dormant – so far; my best guess.

    And…. what then?

    • Dear Denny,
      I am not clear on your point?????
      9mm pistols are only restricted in Canada as long as barrels are a minimum of 4.5″ long and magazines hold a maximum of 10 rounds.
      For example: A Browning, 9mm, service pistol (Canadian Army) is legal as long as you pin the magazine to accept a maximum of 10 rounds. Original-issue (13 round) magazines are prohibited until pinned.

    • I’d say the reason why stores have limited stock is because they don’t buy many in the first place. Stores will see what’s in demand and stock that model, they will only have 1 or 2 of the models that aren’t as popular, if any at all. Their websites just aren’t updated so it’ll show whatever they’ve had in stock previously. I don’t think it a case of a few people hoarding. Firearms businesses are the same as any other, they stock more of what’s moving at the time.

      • You are saying “firearms businesses are like any other”, good for you if you believe that. I observe situation with gun civilian retail for several decades. Right after Berlin wall takedown there were HEAPS of cheap firearms from former commi-block. They were easy to get, providing they were fixed to semi-auto only. Best buy were Yugoslav made AKs; I kick myself to this day I did not buy one. They all quickly disappeared. Same with pistols. As the rules stiffened, many gun shops went out of business.
        What do you think happen to them? Hard to understand? Shooting ranges do not see them. My strong feel is they are in basement private vaults, just for case. The other thing: consider rules of market – as long as there is interest, supply lasts. But in this case, there is not enough supply!

  7. Prohibited pistols are legal to shoot at certified club ranges if one has the appropriate prohibited license. Prohibited rifles on the other hand are not. People with the appropriate license can possess the prohibited rifle but they cannot shoot them.

    • “Prohibited” class license disappeared in Canada; it had been replaced with “Restricted”. Such was in my case; it applied primarily for “grandfathered” weapons, as Paul explained. In other words, purchase of what was previously restricted and later became prohibited is out of table.

      • I have no idea what you’re talking about. There has been no change to classification rules. The RCMP has tried to classify some newly imported rifles as prohibited but the basic rules are as they have been since the mid 90’s.

        You should get some advice from someone more knowledgeable than whoever you’ve been talking to before you get yourself charged.

        • I think what he means is that it is impossible to get a prohibited license now. I have one only because I owned what was at the time a restricted rifle that was re-classified as prohibited. Nobody today can apply for and receive a prohibited license, you only got it because what you already owned got re-classified.

          Unfortunately, since the prohibited list was a one time thing, anything new cannot be grandfathered. The initial batch of Type 97s was declared to be prohibited by the RCMP because once they had an actual sample gun at their lab, they determined that it was too easy to convert to full auto, so prohibited, and not grandfathered. The next batch was modified to the RCMP lab’s satisfaction, but the initial batch could not be grandfathered because of the way the law was written.

          And on the subject of licenses, if I were to forget to renew my license before it expired, I would immediately lose my Prohibited status, and would have to turn in or dispose of my collection and I would not get it back. Likewise, if I sell all of my Prohibited rifles, I instantly lose my grandfathered status. To have a prohibited license I must stay continuously licensed and hold at least one prohibited firearm in my collection continuously from the day the original legislation came into force.

        • My information comes implicitly from CFO, Orillia detachment.

          My current license update is without “prohibited” class which was there before. What does it tell me is they (RCMP) completely shut off this class out of public access. No need to mention what does not exist. What was labeled as such in past (and was not confiscated) is under “restricted” now. The arm may be still owned but is ‘silenced’ for good.

          NO new purchases in the class are possible in future, sure way how to eliminate it altogether. I think the have a “point”.

      • That is simply not so, Denny. The “prohibited class” license is very much alive and well. In fact, 12(7) license holders are being added regularly.

    • Dear Daweo,
      Thanks for that news about the US military adopting 9mm, SIG Sauer 320 pistols.
      Only the full-size M17 can be purchased by Canadian civilians. It’s 4.7″ barrel puts it in the restricted pistol category.
      The short-barrelled M18 is prohibited under Canadian gun laws.

      • Basic rule to purchase semi-auto pistol or revolver in Canada is to hold license for “restricted” firearms. Once you have it, the remaining restriction is barrel length (105mm) and magazine capacity (10rds). Anything over those limits is verboten (and not even available from importers since they want to keep their license).

        As far as actual selection, it is not bad. I have seen at occasion of my visit to Cabela’s store decent selection of pistols. But prices are way up from what they used to be just couple of years ago.

    • As for anti-tampering pins …. trust me.
      The average recruit is barely bright enough to do basic field-stripping and cleaning.
      Disassembly beyond the basics is a recipe for losing small parts.

      • So situation is… not bright.
        Even RKKA (notice full form of name: Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army) do not such feature in TT-30 and TT-33 automatic pistols.

  8. Ian,
    We had hoped that you would say more about Canadian restrictions on magazines.

    Basically, Center-fire rifles and shotguns are limited to magazines with a maximum capacity of 5 rounds.
    Center-fire pistols are limited to a maximum of 10 round magazines.
    Rim-fire (really only .22 calibre) can have any magazine capacity they want, but rumour has it 30-round magazine sales will be ‘frowned upon’ in 2018.
    Tubular magazines are inherently self-limiting.

    The key distinction is what weapon the magazine as originally DESIGNED for.
    For example 5.56mm rifles are only sold with 5-round magazines, but you can load 10-round magazines designed for AR-like pistols. Similarly, 5-round, .50 cal Beowolf magazines will hold more 5.56mm rounds and load into most 5.56mm rifles that accept STANAG magazines.

    • As Robert said, the rules are that the rule states that it depends what it was originally designed for.

      A center-fire rifle that is manually operated has no restrictions, if you can find a 20 round trench mag for your G-98 then go ahead. Pistols regardless of caliber are restricted to 10 rounds, and center fire semi-auto rifles are restricted to 5 rounds, BUT it depends on what it was originally designed for.

      There is a big market for 10 round AR-15 PISTOL mags, since they can be used without restriction in AR-15 rifles. Likewise, the Australian company that was making new Lee-Enfields in .308 have a 10 round mag that just happens to fit in an M-14.

      The key is “originally designed for”. 10 round California/Canada compliant Beretta mags in .40 S&W will hold and feed 12-13 9mm rounds. If I own a Beretta 92 in 9mm, and I go out and buy .40 S&W mags, this is perfectly legal, since the mag was originally designed to hold 10 rounds of .40.

      Likewise, if I own a Beretta Storm carbine, the mag that came with it must be blocked to 5 rounds (since it says Beretta Storm on it), however, nothing stops me from going to my local gun store and buying a 10 round Beretta 92 pistol magazine and using it in my Storm carbine.

      This is all based on precedent, and you can even download a pdf. from the RCMP Firearms Centre site, to carry with you in your range bag confirming that it is perfectly legal to own and use a 10 round AR-15 “pistol” mag in a rifle.

      Now with rim-fire rifles, we have a new situation. Rim-fire semi-auto rifles did not originally have any restrictions. this was in part because it is technically difficult to block an internal tube mag to 5 rounds in say, a Nylon 66. 25 round aftermarket mags for the Ruger 10-22 were fine, until Ruger put out the Challenger pistol, at which point the RCMP asserted that any aftermarket high capacity magazine is assumed to be for a challenger pistol, and so must be limited to 10 rounds. This has not been tested in court, so who knows what the actual story will turn out to be.

      There are a couple of other odd exceptions. M1 Garand rifles are specifically exempted from the 5 round limit. Since it uses an en-bloc clip, and the magazine is integral they decided it was too much bother, so it is exempt. There is also a specific exemption for 10 round Lee-Enfield mags. Why, you may ask is this the case, when the Lee-Enfield is a bolt action? The answer is that a number of Finnish capture SVT-40s were imported many years ago and converted to .303 (back then surplus 7.62X54R was not available), using Lee-Enfield mags. They didn’t want there to be any confusion as to the legal status of a random Lee-Enfield mag (i.e. was it for a bolt action rifle or a semi-auto rifle).

  9. I have here too many blurbs today, so one more – hopefully will be the last one. This is about comparable (as if they were, which they are not) circumstances of gun ownership in Canada and in Europe; Czech republic in particular.

    As I purchased in early 90s some surplus firearms from there (thru licensed Cdn importers; delivered to local police dept.) I mentioned it to my relatives there. Their reaction was: “so now you are armed”, a notion I had to laugh at. Their situation is/ was very different. Once they obtained “firearm pass” they were entitled to carry on public. Since then they had some changes and I believe it is not as free as it was; situation in gun ownership is in flux everywhere.

    Hopefully someone from there may correct me; I am not current with theirs since I have enough to absorb ours.

    • As an American who is completely disillusioned concerning the arguments thrown around by the major parties (you know the two animals to which I refer), I must say that any attempt to curb violence and plain nasty business by restricting guns to the point where even the mention of violence triggers a “conveniently timed accident” amounts to stupidity which matches the completely ludicrous idea of making a time machine to “correct history” by means of assassinating sword smiths, bow-stringing huntsmen, gun makers, and the ancestors of today’s hated dictators (no, killing Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Stalin, and ALL their fanatic followers through a resulting time paradox will not prevent World War Two nor would such a thing stop mass genocide anyway). And besides, I’m pretty sure there are tons of “military grade” weapons (wartime surplus and hunting weapons) hidden in many cellars and attics in both Americas, Europe, Australia/New Zealand, and the Far/Near/Middle East. Most people generally just decide NOT to tell the government that they have wonderful toys under the bed.

      On the other hand, permitting unrestricted civilian ownership of just about anything from black powder cap-lock rifled muskets to artillery plus projectiles that intentionally violate the Hague Convention (and common sense, to say the least) is also naive and borders on Hollywood styled “Wild West Gentleman’s Agreements” to simply be good out of fear that misbehavior would result in the complete and utter demolition of the neighborhood and the subsequent nonexistence of the miscreant. In essence, unrestricted ownership relies upon the fear of mutually assured destruction (“who shoots whom?”). I haven’t seen any real peace borne of this fear.

      Why does nobody promote true honor and good faith in place of the usual apathy and the idea that evil is a problem someone else has to solve?

      Please don’t try to kill me with literal flak cannons.

      • There was an attempt made on you already in Nevada; it is likely it will be returned in one form or another in even more spectacular way. Then NSA will come to the act. God help us my friend, what hurts you will hurt us twice.

    • Every country has its weird and illogical rules and laws. I was quite surprised to hear on a video from Bloke on the Range that the Swiss let you have all sorts of things, but have a strange hate for any sort of laser sight.

      • Perhaps the Swiss do not take kindly to having people “cheating” on shooting matches. And relying upon laser sights is a bad idea at longer ranges, as bullets DO NOT actually travel in perfectly straight lines but in parabolic arcs.

        • Relying on laser sights is a bad idea, period. They look cool in movies and on TV, but in real life, dust or moisture in the air after dark (when a good portion of defensive incidents happen) means that the laser sight tells the assailant exactly where YOU are.

          We tested early laser sights for tactical team use in the late 1970s, and when we discovered this attribute during night range work here in Ohio, we promptly told the guys trying to sell them to us, “Thanks but no thanks”.

          For night shooting, stick to illuminated iron sights like Trijicon on a pistol or shotgun, or an image intensifier on a rifle. And of course, as with “how you get to Carnegie Hall”, practice.



        • And they actually have a good social culture if I remember correctly. No records of serial killers on shooting sprees in that country, whether with guns or crossbows. I could be wrong.

          • The Swiss had a plebiscite to halt their unique militia/reservist practice whereby the long-service reservist is expected to keep his service rifle in his home, and take it out to the range for practice. It was defeated. However, it is my understanding that in Switzerland the reservist has a single box of 24 cartridges for said service rifle, and woe betide anyone who has more. That box is never to be opened short of a national mobilization. So apparently ammunition is to be obtained at one of the cantonal shooting ranges. On the other hand, the Swiss to have a relatively liberal/permissive gun ownership system than most other European states.

            The Swedes for a time–perhaps still–allowed the Home Guard to keep a tricked out AK4/G3 in disassembled state with a rod locked down the barrel. In case of mobilization, one would unlock the rod device with the only key. If the key was lost, the barrel had to be cut and replaced, because there was the only key. Apparently it was a situation of woe betide anyone with the rod out and unlocked…

            Many of those very same tricked-out AK4/G3s were gifted by Sweden to Estonia. In Estonia, with a very small Estonian population living amid very many ethnic Russians, and with a powerful Russian bear for a neighbor that historically has viewed Estonia as an errant province of the empire, the government decided that its national defense strategy should be: a) would Nato really go to war with Russia for _us_? b) um. no. Probably not… Would you? and so, in the need to prepare for the worst–being thrown to the bear–then, c) let’s encourage young ethnic Estonians to join a competitive militia that hands out awards for all sorts of military tasks and puts information on, say, building IEDs gleaned from Estonians serving abroad with the UN out into the Estonian population… All the while distributing the tricked out AK4/G3s and encouraging the youths to squirrel them away in all sorts of innovative and even sneaky ways… That’s the “deterrence strategy”: We can be a total cake walk to a great power invasion… But there’ll be a hell of a mess after if we have anything to say about it… Contemplate this before ordering the tanks over the border…

  10. Wrong on shooting prohibited handguns.

    Until they were abolished two years ago, an authorization to transport was required to take a restricted or a prohibited handgun to the shooting range. This kind of transport permit had to be renewed every year.For the time being, you can take your registered and prohibited handguns to the shooting range.

    The other class of prohibited firearms, like the FN-FAL, cannot be taken to the range. No exception.

    • There is a way around it. Get a ATT to take the prohib rifle to a range for “repair” or “appraisal”. Another way would be to put it on consignment at a gun store with a range and go shoot it.

  11. I have a theory on how Canadian gun laws got so fouled up. Yes it was an attempt by the Conservative gov’t to curry favour in Quebec but more than that the low crime rate is to blame. It’s very rare for an innocent person to be murdered, even rarer to be shot dead. Thus there is no push for CCW or for businesses to have guns on the premise etc. Having a gun for home defence is possible but it’s supposed to be kept in a state that makes it difficult to use.

    If the violent crime rate was higher and effected more wealthy people they would have called for armed private security. That would have lead to CCW. There would, of course have been special outs for the rich and famous which would have eventually been struck down by the courts as they have in the US.

    It’s the low crime rate that allows some (alleged) gun owners to claim they’d never use a gun for self defence. It’s what’s allowed the debate to descend to arguments about what constitutes a “sporting firearm” as if target shooting was a valid reason to own a gun and protecting your life wasn’t.

    • There is plenty of “offing” someone in our area. It does not require Glock with can, there are other professional ways – and as quiet as that.
      About year before there was a case of a wealthy fellow who was involved in anti-tree cutting campaign. He was done professionally in public garage. They even took suspect’s image on camera – he was young and fit man, looking kind like student with knapsack on bicycle. No excitement visible at all.

      I recall during last two years there ware couple internal Mafia dealings in Toronto area, and some two years before there was a juicy public gangsta shootout in Yorkdale mall. Witnesses “smelled” the gun powder as they dove under tables for cover. There were only about two members of public taken down, both I believe survived.

      Does this prove the gun control in Canada is effective or not? I’m not sure. There is plenty of arguments either way. Most common, to point of boring is that “bad guys do not apply for license”. It may be true. But then you have people you are prone to get easy “pissed”- say in traffic situation. I thought about it quite a bit in past; it is definitely NOT a clear cut. One older man I spoke with about it told me: “better to hold a smack then to end up dead”. Cannot argue with that.

      • “But then you have people you are prone to get easy “pissed”- …”
        Should read:
        “But then you have people WHO are prone to get easily pissed …”

      • There is nothing, legally speaking, to stop you from carrying a non-restricted firearm in your car. Why someone who’d carry a (restricted) pistol wouldn’t carry a (non-restricted)shotgun isn’t clear nor is why having a pistol vice a shotgun would change your self control. Gun controlist visions of rad rage massacres are largely wishful thinking.

        Arguments that revolve around images of people who legally possess guns already going berserk if their rifle had a 2 1/2 inches less barrel or they had a old semi-auto military rifle instead of a newly designed one are obviously absurd.

        That leaves us with “he just went crazy” which is always shown to be untrue and “what if someone steals it”.

        If the problem is theft of “cool” guns and their use in violent crime the police should show the data to support that including how whatever additional capability the stolen gun had was used to harm people.

        The answer to the theft of any guns is simply to assign theft of guns or possession of stolen firearms draconian punishment concurrent to whatever sentence for violence is awarded.

      • Does Canadian gun control work? It depends on what you want it to do.

        If your aim is to reduce violent crime then no. The murder rate has been trending down for years even as the number of guns in private hands increased, the quality improved and smuggling guns from the US increased.

        Why the drop in murder? Some combination of fewer young men, an aging population, better trauma care, cell phones, better police tactics, body armour, more diversions for young men, a move for criminals to use pistols instead of long arms, less fetal alcohol syndrome, no lead in gas or paint….etc. It’s a complex business but letting X have a Norinco M14 instead of a Winchester one isn’t it.

        If your aim, as Senator Sharon Carstairs famously blurted, was to change Canadian culture. No. There are about 2 million PAL holders who own millions of guns. Our entertainment remains basically American- i.e. lots of shoot outs. The CFOs have tried to make shooting less fun (no steel targets etc) but overall they’ve failed. They’re more or less federal employees so that is to be expected.

        What does it achieve? The RCMP get > $100 million a year to administer it. Ex RCMP officers double dip the CFO positions and I expect very few non-clerical employees aren’t on some sort of federal pension. The pols get to say they’re “doing something”. It’s a perfect federal program. It achieves nothing of value but makes comfortable jobs for the bureaucracy.

        • I read your reflections; thank you sir!

          You prospective seem to be more practical than mine (less theories), although in your first memo you tackle issues of psychology which, in my mind are multiple times more voluminous and challenging that administration of gun control can handle.

          Where I concur with you is your scepticism; both is sense of perceived objectives and conduct. Perhaps core of the problem is in system of governance. From my prospective, Canadians are NOT participating in democratic process; the best way I’d describe the current system is Statism. People wait what authority puts on their plate.

          With that kind of ingrained routine, the state of affairs becomes increasingly stale, which is clear symptom of deterioration and finally decay. Perhaps that is what we are witnessing right now.
          I am sorry to say this; I had high hopes for this country when I was entering some 40 years ago.

  12. I liked the video. There were a few vague answers and the comments section of good/bad info based on both fact of law and self opinion with the occasional “if I’m not sure it must be illegal” perfectly summarizes Canadian gun laws.


    All ak’s/varients/look-a-likes are prohibited EXCEPT the Valmet m78 hunter (exempted by name in the firearms act). Ironically it makes this firearm very expensive to purchase, currently as of this post the record I’ve seen is $12,000 CDN + tax.

    M-1 Garand is exempted (by name in the firearms act) from the 5 round semi-auto center-fire magazine limit (we can use the full 8 round en-block clip).

    You are allowed to transport your prohibited firearms (this inludes machineguns, rifles,sub-guns, etc to a gun show for “display purposes”. You’re not just limited to keeping them locked up.

    Grenade launchers such as the Colt M203 are non-restricted. There a few more.

    You can get an “authorization to carry restricted/prohibited firearms” from the RCMP for work such as a security guard for transporting currency (there’s specific regulations for that) or as a fur trapper in remote areas. These are the exception and don’t apply to everyone.

    Realistically the RCMP has the authority to grant individuals with all sorts of stuff, they just don’t do it. There are/were a few cases but it’s very rare.

    Unfortunately for Canadians, firearms ownership is a PRIVILEGE and not a RIGHT and thus subject to scrutiny.

    It’s nice to have that privilege and we’re lucky to have at least that much, it would just be nice if the government and the public would leave the average law abiding gun owners alone and go after the criminals instead but that would be too difficult and unrealistic. Sometimes I hope they just ban everything including ice cream, the weather and opinions so we can all just go into the fetal position and not have the will to do anything.

    • I mentioned your extreme already (maximum censorship). In that case, expect one rebel to kill all the enforcer personnel (none of whom have ever had to fight nonconformists) and commence hostile takeover of the country (actually he’d leave the country for dead). Yes, by that point even the supposedly elite police would consist of complete cowards and would be terrified by the very presence of a man with true convictions (guess which anime I’m referencing!).

    • “Unfortunately for Canadians, firearms ownership is a PRIVILEGE and not a RIGHT and thus subject to scrutiny.”

      You are right with this and I managed to miss it in my previous thoughts.
      Absolutely, pretty well all we are connected with in our daily lives is legally speaking privilege including essentials like need to work and driving. We have, AFAIK only one right – “right to due process” whatever this mysterious formula means. I am guessing it means complete dependence on legal system.

  13. My understanding is that even pre 1898 firearms require a license, if they are magazine fed centre fires. A Martini or a Trapdoor, or that Webley, require nothing. But a 71/84, Commission rifle, or Kropatschek require you to have a card. At least that’s what they told me at the old gun store in Canada last year.

  14. Denny I noticed your are near Orillia do you consider ELLWOOD EPPS a good store to sell guns through
    Paul how do you legally rivit a rifle mag in canada to restrict it to 5 rounds
    Thanks in advance

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