Guns in Canada? It’s more common than you think

Reading this, I’d expect you to already be pretty familiar with firearms and the laws about them. Let’s assume all that knowledge is for American laws and you don’t know a whole lot about Canada’s.

How common could guns possibly be in Canada? Isn’t there some kind of awful licensing system and you can’t own any fun guns? What about handguns? Are the laws a little better than Britain and that’s about it?

Honestly Canada has better laws than a few states in the good old land of the free. I’m referencing California, New York, and Connecticut among other places. I’ll give you the basic idea of Canada’s firearm ownership and then what the process is. The best number I could find claims there are around 30 firearms to 100 people in Canada.

TL;DR in a couple videos I’ve done at the bottom.

  • 18.5″ and over for barrel length is non-restricted
  • Everything under that, all AR15 variants, handguns are Restricted
  • Everything on the scary gun list and handguns with a barrel under 4″ is prohibited
  • Semi-automatic centerfire rifle magazines are limited to 5 round capacity, semi-automatic centerfire handguns are limited to 10 round capacity, rimfire magazines are exempt except the RCMP claim 10/22 magazines are not even though written law says they are.

Here’s a fun little link of the prohibited firearms. Think of your favorite gun and it’s probably there.

So how does that licensing thing work? Our licenses are called Possession and Acquisition (PAL) or Restricted Possession and Acquisition (RPAL). Prohibited is a class of license where if you don’t already have it you can’t get it.

So how do we get these? Courses are held all over the place (I took my RPAL course at a Canadian Tire store) and take a day or two to complete. The class emphasizes safety above all else and after writing an exam and performing a practical exam you get test scores to mail to the RCMP and get issued a license in a month. After you get that license you can just walk into a gun store, buy an SKS and a crate of surplus ammo, and walk out in ten minutes.

That doesn’t sound that bad. That’s just for non-restricted firearms. Say you want to get a handgun? You need a range membership and a couple weeks of back and forth emailing to the Chief Firearms Officer in your province.

Now that you have a firearm, where can you take it? Non restricted firearms may be discharged anywhere on public land outside of city limits when it is safe to do so. This pretty much means you can go shoot in the bush and have fun. Handguns, short barreled rifles and AR15s can only be fired at the range. Just because.

Getting your non-restricted license, an SKS, 1400 rounds of 7.62×39 ends up to being around $700. It’s quite cheap to get started in and I guarantee there are people who have licenses that just never told you about it.



Rybec is a Canadian citizen who loves firearms and video games.

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  1. Irakuy Amayika says:


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