What Is The Difference Between Restricted and Non-Restricted Firearms?

Are you interested in obtaining a firearm, but wondering how it might be classified in Canada? You might also wonder about legal requirements for owning a specific firearm based on its categorization. In Canada, we have three categories of firearms – restricted, non-restricted, and prohibited.


Non-restricted firearms include common rifles and shotguns that don’t fall into the restricted or prohibited classifications. Most common long guns and airguns belong in this category, but there are exceptions. Some examples are ordinary hunting or sporting rifles, shotguns and airguns with minimum barrel lengths of 470 mm and minimum overall lengths of 660 mm.


Restricted firearms include handguns that are not classified as prohibited. Certain rifles and semi-automatics fall into this category. They are shorter than 660 mm overall with barrels shorter than 470 mm. This includes folding or telescoping firearms that are fireable when reduced to these dimensions. Restricted firearms discharge centre-fire ammunition semi-automatically. The Regulations designate other firearms as restricted too.

There are a few situations that may allow owning restricted firearms, such as for target practice or competitions; you will need to provide documentation as proof. You can Contact your local Chief Firearms Officer for more information. You can also own restricted firearms for a collection. Inspections and other requirements will be needed. In specific circumstances, restricted firearms are also allowed for work needs and protection of life.

If you have a firearm registered to you under previous legislation as a relic, you may keep it but can’t pass that designation on to another. Relic firearms are mementos, or souvenirs that have value based on being curiosities or rarities. Specific criteria must be met for these.


To clarify which firearms are restricted, it helps to also look at prohibited ones. Prohibited firearms include certain handguns, fully automatic rifles, and sawed-off rifles.  They include handguns with barrels that are 105 mm long or shorter.  They also include handguns that discharge a 25 or 32 calibre cartridge. Firearms that are sawed off or otherwise adapted to be shorter than 660 mm overall, or longer than 660 mm but with a barrel length under 457, are prohibited. Automatic firearms are prohibited, even if they were altered to discharge only one projectile at a time.

Handguns for international sporting competitions under the International Shooting Union and where the handgun is prescribed to be restricted are not classified as prohibited.

Other firearms may be prescribed to be prohibited in the Regulations. On May 1, 2020, the Government of Canada prohibited certain types of firearms and their variants. More details are available on the Public Safety Canada website.

How GTA Guns Can Help With the New Prohibitions

To help owners become compliant with the new prohibitions, one of the May 1, 2020 amendments to the Regulations allows owners to store newly prohibited firearms with another licensed individual or business. GTA Guns is your best safe storage choice for this.

GTA Guns offers secure storage solutions. We have a unique, high-level security storage facility that is climate-controlled and dehumidified to protect your property. We offer short-term, long-term, and automated self-storage solutions. For long-term and short-term storage, simply call to arrange your times for pick-up and drop-off. Automated safe storage is more flexible, allowing you to pick up or drop off as you need.  We have a variety of lockers and storage sizes to meet your needs. Whatever your reason, we store your guns safely and conveniently.