Do you know the laws governing the transportation of firearms in Ontario?
Canada’s unique gun culture, which is focused primarily on sport, is thriving as more and more people discover the enjoyment and exhilaration of hunting, gun sports, and shooting ranges all over Ontario. One of the most common questions we’re asked by gun owners, especially newer ones, is how to safely and legally transport your guns to a shooting range or other location, such as a firearm storage facility. All you need to do is follow a few simple rules and you’ll be able to transport your firearms to just about anywhere else in Canada (please check local provincial gun laws).
There are three classes of firearms in Canada:
Non-Restricted firearms include your garden-variety, non-automatic shotguns and rifles. Basically, these are the most common firearms used for hunting. They generally must have an overall length of 26 or more inches, with a barrel length of 18 or more inches. You can use these firearms wherever it is legal to shoot, including hunting and shooting ranges.
Restricted firearms include guns that have an overall length less than 26 inches, with barrels less than 18 inches. This class includes all handguns, rifles and shotguns with reduced lengths due to telescoping, and any firearms restricted by the Criminal Code Regulations. Restricted firearms cannot be used for hunting and can only be fired on approved firing ranges.
Finally, Prohibited firearms include all automatic weapons, handguns that have barrels shorter than 4.2 inches, any handgun that shoots .25 or .32 ammo, and military-style rifles. With proper authorization, you can use prohibited handguns at approved ranges, but not prohibited rifles.
The rules for transportation for each of these categories are different, with increasing security and safety measures necessary as you move up the legality scale.
The Rules of Transporting Non-Restricted Firearms in Canada
For Non-Restricted firearms, you can legally take them anywhere in Ontario, so long as they are unloaded. You may only load ammo into the firearm when you’re at a legal location. When you’re transporting a Non-Restricted firearm in a car or truck, you must be in the vehicle with it. If you aren’t, it must be safely locked in the trunk (or be hidden out of sight with the car doors locked if you don’t have a truck). That’s it for non-restricted firearms.
The Rules of Transporting Restricted Firearms in Canada
The rules get a little more stringent with Restricted firearms. As with Non-Restricted, your Restricted firearms must be transported unloaded. These firearms must be stored in a locked, secure, opaque storage container and must be individually secured with a locking device, such as a trigger lock. Again, if you’re not in the car, they must be securely stored in the trunk of the car or hidden from view if you don’t have a trunk. To legally transport any Restricted firearms, you must have an Authorization to Transport permit, obtained from the Chief Firearms Officer in your province of residence (in this case, Ontario). To get this permit, you can call 1-800-731-4000.
The Rules of Transporting Prohibited Firearms in Canada
The rules for transporting Prohibited firearms are the strictest of all, for obvious reasons. As with the firearms above, they must be unloaded during transport. The Prohibited firearms must be stored in a locked, secure, opaque storage container, as well as be individually secured by a locking device like a trigger lock. If the Prohibited firearms are being kept in the vehicle without your presence, the storage container must be kept inside the trunk area of the vehicle at all times, or kept out of sight if there is 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. As with Restricted firearms, you’ll also need an Authorization to Transport permit that you can obtain by calling the number above.
Something to keep in mind, although the transportation of ammo has no real regulations surrounding it, police officers have a lot of latitude when it comes to judging driving safety. If you’re transporting ammo, make sure it is stored safely and securely and is not just sitting loosely in the interior of the car.
If you follow these simple rules, you will have no problems transporting your guns to any hunting ground or firing range in Ontario and then back to your secure firearms storage solution. If you don’t feel comfortable storing your firearms at your home for any reason, we suggest the gun storage options here at GTA Guns. We keep your firearms safe in a highly-secured and insured facility where you can have peace of mind and ready access whenever you need them.