When you’re transporting your guns to an Ontario range, are you following the law?
Part of the fun of owning a gun is the exhilaration of hunting, gun sports, and shooting ranges. Luckily there is no shortage of these fun activities and places all over Ontario. As such, one of the most common questions we get asked by gun owners, especially new ones, is how to legally and safely transport guns to the shooting range, firearm storage facility, or other locations.
Fortunately, there are just a few simple rules you need to follow, and you’ll be able to transport your guns to almost anywhere in Canada (please check local and provincial gun laws).
First, you need to know that Canada has three classes of firearms:
Non-Restricted guns are typically the most common guns used for hunting (e.g. your non-automatic shotguns and rifles). In general, these firearms must have an overall length of 26 inches or more, with a barrel length of 18 inches or more. You can use these firearms wherever it is legal to shoot, such as when hunting or at the shooting range.
Any firearm that has an overall length of 26 inches or less, with barrels that are 18 inches or less are considered restricted guns. Restricted firearms include all handguns, rifles, and shotguns with reduced lengths for telescoping. This category also includes any guns restricted by the Criminal Code Regulations. You can’t use a restricted firearm for hunting. You can only fire them on approved firing ranges.
Lastly, all automatic weapons, handguns with barrels shorter than 4.2 inches, any handgun that shoots .25 or .32 ammo, and military-style rifles fall into the prohibited firearms category. If you obtain the proper authorization, you can use prohibited handguns on approved ranges, but you can’t use prohibited rifles.
Each category has different rules for transportation. As you move up the legality scale, there are increasing security and safety measures that you must take to follow Ontario law.
Transporting Non-Restricted Guns
If you own non-restricted guns, you’re legally allowed to take them anywhere in Ontario, as long as you make sure they are not loaded. Once you arrive at a legal location such as a hunting ground or shooting range, you can load your ammo into the firearm.
If you’re driving to the gun range or other legal location, you must be in the vehicle with your gun. If you need to get out of your vehicle for any reason, then you must ensure that your firearm is safely locked in the trunk (or, if you don’t have a trunk, hidden out of sight with the car doors locked).
Transporting Restricted Guns
Since this class of firearm is restricted, there are stricter rules surrounding the way you transport them. Similar to non-restricted, your restricted firearms must be transported unloaded. You must also store any restricted firearms in locked, secure, opaque storage containers, each of which needs to be individually secured with a locking device, such as a trigger lock. Once again, if you’re not in the car with your restricted firearm, then they must be securely stored in your trunk or hidden from view if you don’t have a trunk.
You can only transport restricted firearms if you have an Authorization to Transport permit, which you can get from the Chief Firearms Officer in your province of residence. For Ontario, you can obtain a permit by calling 1-800-731-4000 extension 7503.
Transporting Prohibited Guns
Obviously, transporting prohibited firearms comes with the strictest set of rules. Just like non-restricted and restricted firearms, prohibited guns must not be loaded while you’re transporting them. You must store your prohibited firearms in locked, secure, opaque storage containers, each of which also needs to be individually secured with a locking device such as a trigger lock. Similarly, your prohibited firearms need to be kept in your vehicle in your presence, and if you need to leave your vehicle, then you must put the storage container inside your trunk, or keep it out of sight if you have no trunk.
If you’re transporting an automatic firearm, the bolt or bolt carrier must be removed (if possible) and stored in a separate container. You’ll also need to obtain an Authorization to Transport permit by calling the number above.
Another good rule of thumb is to ensure that your ammo is always stored safely and securely and it’s not just sitting loosely in the interior of your car. There are no real regulations surrounding the transportation of ammo, but police officers have a lot of latitude when it comes to judging driving safety, and there’s no reason to risk a legal headache.
Contact GTA Gun Auctions
By following these simple rules, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re transporting your firearms legally and safely to any legal shooting ground in Ontario and then back to your secure firearms storage solution.
If you’re looking for safe storage options for your firearms, GTA Gun Auctions provides both long-term and short-term storage solutions. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to find out more, or to ask any questions you might have. Our professional team of expert gunsmiths is always happy to help!