Canadian Shotgun Laws: Firearm Regulations Laws

Canadian Shotgun Laws Firearm Regulations Laws Featured Image

In Canada, there are government regulations on firearms. Automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns, and rifles are illegal under the federal Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1977, as amended. Except for the police and the military, it is forbidden for anyone to own them.

Canadians are nevertheless permitted to own firearms as long as they have a license. Handguns that are restricted or illegal must also be registered.

In this write-up, we will learn about the Canadian gunshot laws.

Gunshot Laws in Canada:

A firearm can be obtained in various ways, such as by purchase, inheritance, rental, borrowing, gifting, or working with the weapons of your employer.

You must complete the safety courses, pass the exams, and obtain a Possession & Acquisition License to undertake any of the aforementioned (PAL).

What Guns are Allowed in Canada:

The federal firearms control in Canada is governed by the Firearms Act and related Criminal Code articles. The primary areas of regulation are the licensing and registration of firearms, including air guns with muzzle velocities greater than 500 ft/s or 150 m/s and muzzle energies greater than 4.2 ftlb or 5.7 J.

Three legal firearm categories in Canada are:

Here go three firearm categories as per shotgun laws in Canada.


Regular hunting and sporting rifles, shotguns, and airguns with an overall length of 660mm or more are considered non-restricted firearms. Due to their ability to reach muzzle velocities of 500 feet per second, many airguns belong to this category. The barrel length must be at least 470mm for a centrefire semi-automatic weapon to be unrestricted.

However, you need a weapons license to possess these firearms, and federal restrictions govern how they must be carried, kept, and exhibited. Provincial and municipal laws may add additional restrictions on certain weapons.

According to hunting regulations in Ontario, weapons must be covered at night when being transported. Despite meeting the requirements above, several firearms have been labeled as “restricted” or “prohibited” by order in council.


Numerous handguns and other firearms that don’t fit the above criteria are considered restricted firearms. Federal Order in Council states that certain firearms are “restricted.” All variations of the AR-15 rifle family are prohibited weapons.

A restricted firearm must be transported from the site registered with a transport permit. Anyone with the necessary firearms license and sufficient justification may purchase this firearm. In Canada, it is prohibited to go hunting with banned guns.


All fully automatic firearms, modified automatics, and other frightening-looking firearms labeled as “forbidden” by order-in-council are included in the list of prohibited weapons.

Most illegal firearm types are “grandfathered” (i.e., owners are permitted to keep them) to their current legal owners, although they cannot be transferred to non-grandfathered individuals.

The forbidden class includes handguns with barrel lengths of less than or equal to 105mm, calibers .25 or.32mm, and firearms converted from full-automatic to semi-automatic.

Note: There is typically no legal way to obtain long guns of this type if you do not already possess any that are illegal.

What Weapons are Legal in Canada:

Hunting rifles and shotguns are two examples of firearms that are neither forbidden nor regulated. However, to possess them, a guns acquisition certificate is required.

Except in limited circumstances, the legislation restricts five rounds for hunting rifles and shotguns and ten for pistol magazines.

Restricted or forbidden firearms cannot be carried openly or covertly. In exceptional circumstances, one may obtain a permit “for use in connection with his or her lawful vocation or occupation,” such as when defending armored trucks containing cash or working in wilderness areas with hazardous wild animals.

You can also carry one to protect life when there is an active police file, a verifiable threat, and police confirmation that they cannot provide adequate protection for that person. It typically happens when danger can be verified,” but in extremely rare instances.

Since most concealed and open carrying includes pistols, all handguns are either limited or illegal.

Are Any Handguns Legal in Canada?

In Canada, handguns are legitimate to own. You will need to take additional measures if you want to own a gun or other “restricted” weaponry like AR-15 rifles in Canada.

Around 2 million Canadians are licensed to own weapons. This is roughly 1 in 15 adults. Essentially, all required to obtain a license is passing a brief, simple, but crucial safety course. You’ll receive it in the mail and be able to shop if you’re accepted.

The Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) is the name of the course you will take, and the Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) is the name of the license you will receive. Instead of “Pee Eh Ell,” it is typically pronounced “pal,” just like the word for a buddy.

How to proceed:

The Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course is an additional course you take (CRFSC). This is frequently obtained from the same individual as the CFSC, and nearly at the same time.

Then, you are allowed to purchase and possess “Restricted Firearms” using the same application form. Even if you already own a PAL, the procedure is the same.

Where is the concentration of gun ownership?

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police estimates that in 2020, more than 2.2 million people keep firearms licenses. Most of those were in the two provinces with the densest populations, Ontario and Quebec, followed by Alberta and British Columbia in the west.

In Canada, most firearms are located in rural areas and are utilized for hunting and recreational shooting, according to a 2019 Angus Reid study.


The gun law restrictions in Canada are more strict. If the laws and regulations are followed properly, weapons usage is much less complicated. Focusing on that, one must know all the directives rightly to own a gun.


What three categories do weapons fall under in Canada?

Canada’s three types of firearms are unrestricted, restricted, and prohibited. Guns like rifles and shotguns are generally not restricted, but there are a few.

Pistols, rifles, shotguns with barrels shorter than 470 mm, and rifles and shotguns that can still shoot after being reduced to less than 660 mm, are considered restricted firearms.

Full automatics converted automatics, rifles, and shotguns modified to have barrels shorter than 457 mm are a few examples of restricted firearms.

According to the Firearms Act, the primary distinction between the classifications is that non-restricted guns are not required to be registered, whereas restricted and forbidden firearms must.

Is there a distinction between registration and licensing?

An individual must fulfill rigorous standards to receive a gun license. Only those who own restricted and forbidden firearms are required to register. Registration connects a specific firearm to its owner, allowing for simple tracking in the event of a theft.

Is it too late for gun owners to apply for registration or licensing?

Anyone who owns a firearm but isn’t licensed or registered can apply for both. Law enforcement personnel are ready to cooperate to assist Canadians in following the law.

However, you can anticipate consequences if peace officers discover you possess a firearm without a license or registration. Therefore, taking the initiative is preferable to waiting for someone else to do it.

What is the penalty for failing to report a missing firearm in Ontario?

Keeping a recovered firearm hidden from the authorities in Canada is a crime. If found guilty, offenders might spend up to five years behind bars. The possession of a gun without a license or registration is prohibited.

Still, as long as the gun is reported or is legally disposed of within a reasonable time frame, the owner is not guilty of the crime.

Are people who have previously been convicted of crimes allowed to own firearms?

The obligatory 109 Order states that anyone convicted of a felony involving violence, harassment, or a weapon shall be barred from owning a firearm, a restricted weapon, a crossbow, explosives, or ammunition for a minimum of ten years.

These people will also be permanently forbidden from owning guns and restricted weapons. In other circumstances, the 110 Order enables a judge to impose a firearms and weapon possession restriction to protect the public and the accused. S. 110 has a five-year discretionary period.



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