Have you heard about the changes to the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act that could impact the way you apply for a gun license?
Over the last few years, the Federal government has been looking at legislation to put new firearm restrictions into place. This appears to be in response to isolated incidents of Canadian gun violence, as well as a reaction to the tragic events that seem to regularly occur in the United States. Whether or not these new gun control measures will have a concrete impact on gun violence remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: they will impact the owners of legal firearms across the country, including gun owners in Ontario.
While the overall process of applying for a firearm license remains the same, there are a few important changes. We’re going to explain these differences and detail the usual process of applying for a gun license in Canada.
Categories of Firearms
There are three categories of firearms in Canada:
- Non-restricted: Majority of modern hunting rifles and shotguns.
- Restricted: Some rifles and most handguns.
- Prohibited: Automatic and many semi-automatic firearms.
If you want to acquire a non-restricted firearm and ammunition in Ontario legally, you need to apply for a valid firearm possession and acquisition license (PAL).
The first step of applying for a firearm license in Canada is to take an official Canadian Firearm Safety Course. These courses were developed alongside firearm organizations, gun instructors, and the provinces and territories. There are two types of courses: the CFSC and the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) that allows you to possess restricted firearms.
These courses are offered in every province and take about a day to complete. At the end of the course, there’s a safety exam. This exam is divided into a practical portion that involves handling firearms and a written multiple-choice portion. You must score at least 80% on both the practice and written exams to pass.
Once you’ve completed the course, you can apply for your license. Complete this form to get started. It will take the RCMP a minimum of 45 days to process your application and perform necessary background checks. There will also be a 28-day waiting period if you do not already own a valid firearm license.
Changes to the Firearm Act and the Criminal Code
Here’s what you need to know about the changes recently made to firearm laws in Canada. Keep in mind that most of these went into effect on July 7th, and only some of them will impact you and other firearm owners:
- Background Checks
Prior to July 7th 2021, a background check of the last five years would be performed before a license was issued. Now, the background check will cover the lifetime of the person applying, checking for any signs of domestic violence or making online threats.
- Record Keeping for Businesses
This will primarily impact us here at GTA Guns. We are now required to keep all records of inventory and sales, and in the event of presentation of judicial authorization, provide these records to law enforcement. You are not required to keep any records of sales.
- Transfer of Non-Restricted Firearms
Before transferring a firearm license, it must be verified with the Registrar of Firearms. This may directly impact you, but we will be the ones who facilitate the exchange, so we’ll handle the paperwork!
- Transportation of Restricted and Prohibited Firearms
While there is no change to the laws involving the transportation of non-restricted firearms (no authorization required), restricted and prohibited firearms do have new restrictions. You’ll still have automatic authorization to transport your newly-purchased firearms to your home or shooting range. But you’ll require a separate Authorization to Transport when taking those firearms to any location other than a shooting facility.
On the whole, these new restrictions shouldn’t impact the vast majority of firearm owners out there. And the ones that could—such as the new requirements for transferring a firearm license—will be handled by us, reducing potential paperwork and headaches for our buyers and sellers.
We always want to be sure that our customers know everything they need to in regards to safely purchasing and selling their guns. If you have any questions about licensing or sales, please don’t hesitate to contact us. And if you’d like to learn more about our online firearm auctions or any of our other services, please feel free to contact us.