Canada Gun FAQ: General


This page lists the most general frequently asked questions about Canada and guns, especially in regard to the labyrinthine system of Canadian gun laws which can seem so befuddling to foreign visitors and native Canucks alike.

Last updated: July 25, 2015

Bear in mind that this page is just for quick reference and is NOT intended to act as legal advice.  While we do our best to provide good information, the fluid nature of Canadian gun law (particularly where Orders In Council are concerned) makes this an extremely difficult task.  Whenever possible, double check facts with the Canada Firearms Centre (CFC) or local Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment.  Yes, it’s a pain in the butt.  But it’s better than losing your guns and going to jail.







What is a POL?

A POL is — or rather, was — a “Possession Only License,” which would allow Canadians to posses firearms that they already owned but did not allow them to buy any new guns (you could buy ammo with it, though).

The government no longer issues POLs in Canada, at all, and the last existing ones will be expiring soon (update: you can renew them now, at least until May 16 2014).  After that happens, any Canadian who wants to own a firearm of any kind will need to have a PAL — or risk prosecution.  Just for having a gun, not for doing anything with it.

Can I buy ammo with a POL?

Yes, as a holder of a POL you can buy all the ammo your little heart desires.  Don’t expect the guy at the store to know that, though.  We’ve followed up on literally dozens of complaints from POL holders who were refused purchase (usually at large chain stores like Canadian Tire or Walmart).  While it is occasionally the result of an anti-gun employee who’s just looking for an excuse, more often than not simply a case of the poor schmuck not understanding the law.  Not surprising, really, from the convoluted way it’s constructed.

Do we still have to register our guns?

Nope, not if they’re non-restricteds.  Since the passage of Bill C-19, the long gun registry is dead.  Nobody will miss it.  Nobody who matters, anyway.

Restricted firearms and 12.x goodies still have to be registered and yes, you still need a PAL/POL to own a gun; licencing hasn’t gone bye-bye.  Yet.

I’m just visiting/just passing through; do I need to worry about all this junk?

This question seems to be most often asked by people driving from Washington to Alaska, or the other way around.  The answer is that yes, you do need to worry about this junk.

You can be the nicest, most law-abiding person on the planet and still, if Canadian cops catch you with a gun and “your papers are not in order,” (best said with a German accent) they will haul you off to the clink.   If you’re not willing to go through the hassle (and intrusion into your private life) that getting a PAL involves, the easiest thing to do is to declare the guns in writing to a customs officer at the border with the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration (form RCMP 5589).  If you have more than three guns, you should tack on a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration Continuation Sheet (form RCMP 5590) as well.  These should be filled out before you hit the border, to save time. However, it should not be signed before arriving at the entry point, because a Canadadian border guard has to witness the signature or else it’s no good.

A confirmed declaration costs  $25, no matter how many guns are listed on it. It is valid only for the person who signs it and only for those firearms listed on the declaration.  Once the declaration has been confirmed by the customs officer, it acts as a licence for the owner and it is valid for 60 days. You can renew it for free, before it expires, by contacting the Chief Firearms Officer (1-800-731-4000) of the relevant province or territory.


I’ve got my PAL/RPAL, what else do I need to buy a gun?

Well, if you’re buying a non-restricted firearm, that’s all you need.  Just go to the store, show your PAL/RPAL, pay your money and away you go.  Just remember to mind the transport regs, no matter how dumb they might be.

If you’re buying a restricted firearm, though (like a handgun or a Scary Black Death Machine© with a Shoulder Thing That Goes Up®), you will need to either call 1-800-731-4000 or submit a BR549 5490 form to your CFO in order to get your Mother May I Slip® to take your gun home.

Or you could just save yourself a whole lot of hassles and, you know, buy it through the mail.

How to buy ammo

In order to buy any ammunition anywhere in Canada, you must have a valid Canadian PAL (or POL, if you still have one of those). If you buy any ammo in the province of Ontario, Provincial legislation requires that your PAL number — and address! — are recorded and entered into a log book kept at the store where you bought the ammunition, even if it’s just some powder.

The fact that these books could be a scumbag’s Christmas shopping list if they fell into the wrong hands (the thief would know where you live, what kind of guns you have, etc.) seems to have never occurred to the socialist Premier (Bob Rae) whose government passed the legislation in the early 1990s.


Can I possess ammo without a PAL/POL?

Yes, you can, unless you have been specifically prohibited from doing so.  Many owners of antique firearms (which do not require a PAL or POL to possess) handload their own ammo for personal use, for example.


How many rounds can a mag hold?

Unlike other countries, Canada has very strict limitations on the number of rounds that a firearm’s magazine is allowed to hold at one time.  Some large-capacity mags are prohibited no matter what type of firearm they’re attached to (i.e., a 30-rd mag can still be prohibited even it it’s attached to a non-restricted firearm).  As a rule of thumb, the magazine capacity limits are:

  • Semi-auto centerfire long guns: 5 rds (yes, seriously: five lousy rounds)
  • Semi-auto rimfire long guns: no limit
  • Any NON-semiautomatic long guns: no limit
  • Center- OR rimfire handguns: 10 rds

Bear in mind that a large-capacity magazine is not prohibited if it has been permanently altered (for example, by pinning) so that it cannot hold more than the legal limit. Acceptable ways to alter a magazine are set out in the regulations.

Strangely enough, the wording of the law is such that the limits are on what the mag was designed for, instead of what it is used in at the moment. So… if a long gun (like the Beretta CX Storm) and a handgun use the SAME mag, and you switch them around, the mag that came out of the rifle would still be limited to 5, even if used in a handgun, while the 10 round handgun mag would — in this case — be OK in a rifle.

Hey, don’t look at us.  We didn’t make these cockamaimie rules…

Are there any exceptions to the magazine capacity limits?

As a matter of fact, there are.  Some examples are:

  • The M1 Garand.  It uses 8-rd clips.
  • Any belt/link designed for belt fed machine guns — designed before 1945 — is exempted from the 5-round rule. (Before you get too excited: a .223 belt would NOT be exempt; the .223 wasn’t designed until the ’60s…)

The “Shotgun Myth.”

There is a persistent — and pernicious — myth in Canada: “Your shotgun is not allowed to hold any more than a total of three rounds in it (1 in the chamber + 2 in the mag/tube).”  This is just plain not true.  Period.  (Where are the Mythbusters when you need them?)  So where did this misconception come from in the first place?

Back when the federal government was scrambling to find people to teach the new CFSC (the Canadian Firearms Safety Course – the final exam for which now must be passed before anyone can get a gun license in Canada) as they were implementing C-68, most of the people they managed to get were hunting safety course instructors.  Sort of makes sense, right?  So here’s the deal: while there is NO firearm law limiting the capacity of a non-semiauto shotty’s mag, there IS a federal law that says a shotgun’s total capacity — while hunting migratory birds! — is to be no more than three rounds (including the one in the chamber).

Like most other people, the instructors were scrambling to catch up to the new regs.  Many simply fell back on what they knew, and the myth has been slithering about ever since.

What guns are banned in Canada?

A lot of ’em.  Seriously.  Canadian politicians (especially the Liberals) love banning things so much, that they’ve banned a buttload of things (seriously, it’s ridonkulous).  It’s so out of hand, there’s a whole other page dedicated to just that question.  You can view it right here.

  186 Responses to “Canada Gun FAQ: General”

  1. Well I am not a lawyer but I do have access to free legal advice from people who are in the know ( have a few range buddies in the force) and managed to place this question in general conversation while discussing some new toys we had, don’t ask how but I injected it into the conversation and the look on some veteran force members face was priceless, kind of like I started talking about how the sun spots can cause catastrophic power outages on Earth. Like everything else it depends on the circumstances but a simple speeding ticket will not provoke such action just like a speeding ticket should not provoke a sobriety test…. depending on circumstances. On the other hand someone (argument with a neighbour about their dog pooping on your lawn) just telling police they felt threatened by something you said could escalate to that point. Then the fun could begin and yes I was told this buy officers that have been in this position, no names exchanged. But that being said the way things are unfolding just imagine instead of a parking ticket your vehicle is confiscated and you have to pay all incurred fees to have it back… imagine? The thing is nowadays anything to do with firearms means a lawyer (big$) and usually court no matter how trivial.

  2. As a rpal holder I’ve heard if you get a simple speeding ticket they can confiscate your firearms , does this fact hold any truth ?

  3. Hi there I am a 35 year old male from Alberta. An outdoors lover, especially in regards to sport fishing and the shooting of all different types of firearm as how I was raised on our farm. Not into hunting game cause I wouldnt eat it.. To get to the point dont judge me but I made a few poor discisions in my life and I got a ten year weapons ban about 8 years ago. Now I hear from a sort of reliable source (lawyer) that I will never be allowed a permit for a pistol in Canada ever in my life. Does anyone know if this is my case ?
    Sincerely Yours,
    Justin T

  4. Do you have regulars news letters or anything like that?

  5. Let’s say the pin in the magazine for my semi-auto centre fire broke, what sort of legal issues would I have to deal with if the RCMP found out before I had it fixed?

    • According to an RCMP friend of mine at the range… Felon! if the mag will hold more than 5 rounds in center fire unless, see Special Bulletin for Businesses No. 72. Of course even he admits the officer would either be having a bad day or a complete A..hole to arrest you for a prohibited device. Some avenues that may be taken could be confiscation or a grace period to prove the mag has been repaired, destroyed, refunded, surrendered etc. Things are so grey and I have read so many horror stories that I would just make it disappear. Before leaving the range. Take that as you may, sad but true.

      • Thanks for that. That’s pretty much exactly what I had assumed. On the bright side, keeping it pinned to 5 rounds helps to conserve ammo.

  6. If you are native with a weapons ban are you still aloud to hunt moose, deer and bear?
    The reason I’m asking is I have a weapons ban for 15 years and I’ve been told by other natives and people who work for the federal parole office but nobody could tell me how to go about it.
    Any and all advice would be great and I thank you.

  7. Recently bought a mossberg 535 from Cabela’s Canada and it came with a plug/dowel pre-installed to limit magazine capacity to 2 shells to be legally used for hunting.

  8. My POL has an expiry date of December 21, 2018. At that time or shortly before that ,I was informed by RCMP staff, that my POL will be renewed as a PAL. There are no new POL’s. I am 68 years old and concerned about your statement of no POL renewals after May 16, 2014. Would you please clarify ? I am expecting my 2018 renewal to a PAL automatically when I submit my renewal form and fee.

  9. You’d have to temporarily limit the capacity of your magazines, if using them for hunting the appropriate game.

  10. To put to rest, If you hunt, as an example “water fowl” you are permitted 3 total rounds (2 loaded,1 one in the chamber) with a shotgun (in this case) If you have a pump action there is no limit as long as you are not in a hunting scenario (please use common sense). A semi auto even a shot gun is limited by law to 5 rounds in the mag/tube plus one in the chamber. Hunting heavy game with “example” slugs will differ from jurisdictions and you need to check with provincial regulations. Regardless the laws do not vary greatly in regards to type of gun and ammo allowances. Please always side on the air of caution when it comes to the slippery side of firearms regs.

  11. I cant stop laughing at your shot gun ‘myth’
    Funny you seem to be the only person that says that?
    Why is there a plug in every Shot gun then? And why is it a criminal offence to remove it?
    I have been hunting for over 30 yrs. This is the first I have EVER heard of this. Please show me, and everyone else where you got your info? Book, page number, a reference. Something. This is BS.
    Folks keep your plugs in, and no more than 3 shells brother. It is illegal to alter your firearm,

    • Nice logic. How, exactly does someone give a reference for something that doesn’t exist? How about YOU give chapter and verse for the imaginary law you’re going on about, genius?

    • Cannot give a chapter/ verse ref., but in every new or used shotgun* I’ve owned that had a magazine over two (2) shell capacity, only one (1) had a magazine plug for “two in the tube”.

      That plug was just a loose hardwood dowel.

      *Admittedly, only a dozen, or one-third (1/3) of my shotguns, had that magazine capacity over the last 40 years.

      I also don’t hunt.

      • My pump shotgun has 2 , 7 round tube magazines and can legally have one in the chamber which gives me a 15 round 12 gauge that is also non restricted, if however I wanted to use it for hunting I would only be allowed 2 in the mag and 1 in the chamber

    • It is in fact a myth, the burden the proof rests on you. The only legislation that pertains to a shotgun plug is that related to hunting migratory birds. If you still insist: how long is the plug in a tactical rem 870 that has a 7 round capacity? How about a 20 inch barelled Mossberg 590 that has a 9 round cap.? You must realise that this kind of presumption is part of the reasonning that makes gun ownership in Canada a bit of a hassle. Question: do you commit a criminal act everytime you dismantle and clean your shotgun (assuming that you do)?

    • I just went over this with someone a day ago. And in Ontario it is illegal to have more than 3 shots in your shot gun. That 2 in the mag and 1 in the chamber, regardless if it’s pump or semi. If you don’t believe me check it out in the Ontario hunting regulations book.

      • In the 2016 Ontario Hunting handbook it explicitly says you may also NOT have semi-auto shotguns with a magazine capacity of over Five shots, as per Federal Regulations.

        This leads me to believe its’ reference to the 2 + 1 shotgun magazines in the HUNTING Regulations refers to HUNTING.


    • Every pump and semi shotgun I’ve owned over the last 12 years has NEVER come with a plug to limit magazine capacity. To “Play by the rules” when hunting I’ve used a wooden dowel to limit my magazine to 2 rounds.

      So going by Jamie’s logic, To make my shotgun legal for hunting I’ve made an alteration to my firearm and therefore have committed a criminal offence.

    • Every gun comes with a plug just for the purpose mentioned above, hunting. To remove this plug is not illegal. I work closely with RCMP, OPP & local officers on the range and have never seen anyone arrested for removing the little wooden dowel. The officers even do it them selves. Lets put this to rest please.

    • Please read Special Bulletin for Businesses No. 72 on the RCMP web sight. It will clear up confusion on this matter. Thank you.

  12. Okay brother here is where things become grey. If you have ever gone to court over a speeding ticket you thought was unjust and the judge was in a shitty mood and sighted against you…well this is in the same ball park. The facts are as you stated therefor stand as conclusion. So yes being in your situation you are in the circumstance of residence of someone convicted on grounds (as stated in your comment) in regards to your daughter and living in the same residence (confirmed) as you, the CFO may in turn have right to deny your privilege to hold a POL. Of course the discretion of the office as long as that person resides at you residence. Even after the fact may be problematic but once again at the discretion of the CFO.

  13. I am a legal gun owner with my PAL. I live in Ontario. I have 2 shotguns. About 8 months ago, my 15 year old daughter was charged, and ultimately convicted of domestic assault for a fight with her boyfriend. During the court process, I had to remove my firearms, my pellet guns, and my sons bows from my house. I stored them at my hunting buddy’s house. The judge gave my daughter 18 months probation, and she has a weapons ban herself, however the judge allowed me to bring home my own guns and such, as long as they were locked away.
    I just applied to renew my PAL, and one question was if anyone in my house has a firearms prohibiition. I answered yes, and explained the details. My question is, will this cause them to deny my renewal application? Thanks for the advice

    • In my experience, CFOs will use ANY excuse they can get their hands on to deny. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but, you might want to start thinking about finding someone to take your guns.

  14. Anyone have any logistical info on these 15 round mags in Canada. Of course pistol mags at 15? How did this come about for semi autos? Also what’s up with proposed bill S223 in Canada.”This is copied here courtesy of Tony Bernardo CILA”, perhaps we should be very concerned with this one my friends.


  15. In respect to inserts for different cals in your shotgun. I contacted a friend in the US (retailer) and he informed me that as this is classified as a “part” and not an actual fire arm it can be shipped to Canada. Sort of like a conversion kit for a colt BP to 357. Now the problem with that is the CBSA may see these components as parts to construct a firearm deemed as R/P. Hence my friend said they stopped shipping to Canada altogether. Check with “I run guns” Canada. They deal with this stuff a lot and may have answers. Worst case scenario your shipment is sent back/confiscated and you may be out the $ depending on the retailer you purchased it from. The actual legal aspects are vague and contact with the RCMP and CFO are not helpful. A lot of grey on this one. Sorry man.


    Being military I see people posted in & out all the time. People coming from BC, Manitoba, Quebec etc. & all they did was inform the CFO of a change of address & G to G. As far as I know there was no extra fee’s. The ATT for R class has been changed and in Ontario is now included in your RPAL but I would side on the air of caution there as you can see that even the RCMP web site is not entirely up to date.


  17. I am having difficulty finding out if my PAL that I obtained in BC is valid in ON?

    • Your pal is good right across Canada

    • I got my pal when I lived in Alberta and I live in Ontario now and only had to do a change of address which was not a problem and have renewed it since living here as well with no problem

  18. The RCMP response to stock piling ammo. The wording is ?!?Thanks.

    Thank you for your inquiry.

    Questions regarding the legality and classification of ammunition fall under the Explosives Act, which is the responsibility of the Department of Natural Resources. Information related to the amount of ammunition a person may acquire and store is available on the Department of National Resources website at

    For general information, you may wish to consult the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) fact sheet titled Storing, Transporting and Displaying Firearms, which is available on the RCMP website at

  19. Can somebody make a gun in Canada? Also how do I get my hands on a belt fed gun or conversion kit?

  20. Now is 250kg powder or actual bullets by weight? I have e-mailed the RCMP on the matter and will post their response (if any).


    • AFAIK, neither.
      Bullets are the projectile, not the whole cartridge.

      it is the whole cartridge weight that counts, I believe.

      Also NOT 250kg !
      225kg is the correct weight.

      But their answers would be interesting…

      Link provided w/o warranty; Not Legal Advice.

  21. Is there such a law in Canada’s CC as “stock piling” ammunition? and if so were? I am aware of the explosives act and Ontario’s CFO’s take on a “reasonable amount”. So is this at the discretion of “law enforcement” and ultimately the Crown Pross? Hum….Okay.


  22. Can a person transport and carry a non restricted firearm for wilderness protection when hunting season is not open, if that person as a PAL ?

  23. Is it legal to make a bump-fire stock?

    • NOT LEGAL.



    • “For the purpose of modifying a fire arm other then it’s intended purpose”, this of course goes on, very gray. Will send the actual link when I remember were it is. If you find yourself in court…. hope you have good legal advice, lots of cash and a CPross who doesn’t really give a c##p. Worst of all really lots of $$$$ for the defense. Not worth it dude.

  24. Friend has a handgun purchased under the “old” system using a FAC. He does not have a PAL (or a previous POL) under the new system. Understand he is now illegally in possession of this handgun.
    I have a R-PAL, and want to buy this handgun from him.
    Can this legally be done or will he risk losing he handgun and face charges if we try and pursue the purchase?

    • I assume your Friend has the handgun registered with the RCMP under the old “green sheet” system. Your friend should contact the local firearms office/detachment of the local police and advise of the situation, including the desire to transfer it to you. His circumstance is not uncommon. They will instruct further from there. They will likely want him to surrender the handgun to them and they will hold it pending his getting a current RPAL and ATT or pending transfer of ownership to another RPAL holder (you).

      In my experience, making a voluntary declaration of the technically illegal situation and asking the police for assistance in rectifying it saves your ass. The police were quite helpful, understanding and patient in my circumstances. Just follow their instructions.

      • You may wish to approach the local police first with a “hypothetical” query.

        “Officer, what if …?”

        Or, you might not…

  25. So I have my pal and r pal on the way and have just found out that a roommate has a weapons ban for another 4 years stating they can’t own weapons but does that mean I can’t store them in the house in a safe

  26. Is making my own ammunition legal? If making my own ammunition is legal, can I make explosive ammunition? If explosive firearms cartridges are illegal, is it legal to make explosive air gun pellets?

    • 1/ Generally, yes.

      2/ If you really, really like prison food.

      3/ This is just a guess, but airguns can be firearms,
      so see #2 above

      NOT LEGAL ADVICE, as always.

      • Re: #3 – actually, ALL pellet guns are firearms, as defined by the Criminal Code. However, if the muzzle velocity does not exceed 500 fps (or rather the metric equivalent) then none of the restricting rules apply.

        Another however, if you use a pellet gun in a stupid fashion, then you can be charged with dangerous use of a firearm, ’cause it is.

      • No, not all pellet / BB guns are firearms.

        Not If they are UNABLE to cause serious bodily injury or death.

        Defined vaguely as 214 feet / second or more.

        So if you have a ‘realistic’ one that cannot do the above, it is relatively harmless, and so COULD be classed as a REPLICA, and so PROHIBITED.

        So if below 500 f/s, and above 214 ft/s & able to do Serious Bodily Harm, or Kill, it is an ‘unregulated’ Firearm.

        No licence to buy, just be 18+ yrs old.

        So solid rubber realistic pistol, PROHIBITED.
        All metal realistic BB one (that could kill) @ 495 ft/s., ok.


      • The BB/Pellet gun cut off is 1000fps, not 500. Anything 1000fps and > you need a PAL to buy.

        I have a question. Is the what is (or is there) a Semi-auto shotgun round limit? I just bought a Benelli M4 which has a 5 round tube from the factory, and SFRC has a +2 extension for it, so that is 7. Carrier Comp makes a 7 round replacement tube (instead of having the +2), I want to get that. Just wondering if it’s kosher?

      • Looks like it’s a +1, not a +2, so that would be 6 in the tube, one in the chamber (or 6 in the tube, 1 on the carrier, and 1 in the chamber for a total of 8 if you ghost loaded the M4)… Now this makes it even more confusing cause I really want to get that replacement tube so it’s one straight piece. 🙁

      • YearZer0, you are wrong!
        500fps !

        Technically, the limit is that BOTH
        500fps AND 4.2 foot-pounds muzzle energy must be exceeded.

        Just using 500fps is a shorthand for convenience sake.

      • YearZer0,
        your M4 is semi-auto, IIRC, so a Five (5) magazine is the legal limit to own.

        If isn’t a semi-auto, no limits.

      • You are correct about the BB/Pellet gun (.177/.22, etc) needing a PAL for anything reaching a muzzle velocity of >500fps. My bad. It’s been a while since I was into them and my knowledge obviously has been overwritten. 😬

      • By the way the factor Benelli M4 tube w/ the fake extension is 4 rounds, so that would make sense SFRC has a +1. I’ve found a replacement 5 round tube which I’m thinking about getting. I’m curious if I could get the full length 7 round tube, but put a 2 round block and the 5 round spring, etc, so the tube magazine and barrel are the same length (like on the Benelli M1014), except it is only functional with 5 shells. Basically like a 5/30 Magpul Pmag with the rivet.

  27. My grandfather passed a gun down to my dad, but it is held at my cottage which is technically owned by my grandmother, my dad does not have a firearms license (I’m pretty sure my grandmother doesn’t either) and we occasionally shoot it while we are at my cottage. (It is a rimfire gun, bolt action, single shot). My cottage is in New Brunswick if that changes anything. Technically my dad does not own the firearm and my grandfather passed away with the technical ownership. Could my dad face charges for this?

    • Who is/was your grandfather’s Executor?

      When did your grandfather die?

      • Nobody “excicuted” my grandfather, thanks for the extremely sensitive response

      • Oops, I read that word wrong, sorry aboot that, anyway he died a relatively long time ago and what is an executor

      • The Executor, or Executrix, of his Estate is the man, or woman, named in the Last Will & Testament that has the responsibility to carry out all the instructions therein.

        If there is no Will, a Court approved Administrator takes on the responsibility, except without retroactive Authority.

        The above can, FOR A REASONABLE TIME, hold onto any Firearms, without being Licenced for same, for the Estate until eventual disposal of same.

        The RCMP / CFO like the Reasonable Time to be as short as humanly possible, or shorter.


      • Thank you, this was quite helpful, he is getting his license this summer

    • If he is not in possession of the legal documentation, YES. When I went on tour I wanted to store my fire arms at my dads. Keep in mind I am in Ontario. I called the CFO’s office and quote was “NO, unless he posses the documentation that allows him to have firearms”. Be careful on that one.

  28. A 1917 303 lee enfeild modified to a sports model is a 12 round clip that came with it leagal or do i need to have it pined its a bolt action

  29. I am about to inherit a 60 yr old, functional .22 long rifle……… I have never taking a course or held any permit or licence of any kind…. what’s the task at hand I am up against. Do I have to take the course and apply for a PAL? The gun only has sentimental value, the time and course fees are worth 5 times that of the gun itself.

    Does age of the firearm, caliber, manner of acquisition come into play at all to not have to go through all the red tape to have this locked up in my basement until I end up passing it down to my son? I reside in Ontario.


    • As I understand the current laws, its’ not old enough for a 12(7) transfer.

      You either have to get a PAL, or have a gunsmith permanently deactivate it.

      Both cost money, the latter basically destroys the gun ugly, the former allows you to keep the gun functional, which means your descendant has the option of shooting it someday.

      If it were me, I’d go the PAL route, as if the gun* becomes Restricted / Prohibited someday, you may be able to be ‘grandfathered’. You also get to change your mind, and learn enough to teach your offspring how to use it safely.

      * Is it a semi-automatic ? More likely to be ‘banned’.


    • If you plan to use (posses) the fire arm you WILL require legal documentation (PAL) if not you are in possession without permission, bottom line. You could take it to a gun smith and for a $ render it total inoperative and have it mounted….. up to you.

  30. Have a rifle scope that has a back light to illuminate cross hairs red or green . is it legal to hunt with in Ontario Canada thanks. Great site keep up the great work

  31. i have been dying to go to the shooting range, and i would like to go with a buddy problem is the only friend i have that wants to go has a 7 year old record for assualt. no charges since and i am pretty certain he has no restrictions, anybody know if he is allowed to go to a gun range in canada? i have had a hard time getting this answered locally.

  32. I bought a shotgun adapter kit online (chamber adapters to allow loading rimfire and smaller gauge shotshells) and the CBSA sent me a letter saying they are holding on to them to see if they are a prohibited item.
    Do you know if 12 gauge shotgun chamber adapters are prohibited? If they are, do I get charged with an offense for buying them online?

    • I called my Firearms Legal Advice service and a lawyer got back to me a few days later with this information:

      1/ Unable to find any mention of Shotgun Chamber Adapters by any name in Canada’s Criminal Code at all.

      2/ Unable to find any mention of them in lists of Restricted or Prohibited items.

      3/ Unable to rationalise any legal reason for them to me Restricted or worse from First Principals like increased concealabity, etc…

      So, while I DON’T GIVE LEGAL ADVICE, if it were me, I wouldn’t worry.

      Let us know how it turns out.

    • they are legal,but you should have gone to a dealer to order it from the US,they should have told you that.

    • I used to work at Canadian Tire and we sold a gun that came with these “choke tubes”. It was called the X Calibre and it was a 12ga shotgun but came with barrel inserts or “choke tubes” to allow the firearm to fire rounds such as .45 colt, and 9mm.

      You can buy just the inserts or chokes from there as well.

    • What was the eventual outcome with the CBSA ?

  33. I don’t have a PAL but my Uncle gave me a gun. If I purchased a deer tag, would I be able to go shoot a deer with the ammo he gave me?

    Thanks in Advance!

    • Will they let you hunt from the jail cell window?

      Seriously, if you’re not under his Direct Supervision for every minute you have his gun, you’re BOTH potentially liable to:

      1/Losing the right to possess all firearms,
      2/ Losing possession of any you currently have,
      3/ Fines,
      4/ Jail,
      5/ Any combination of the above,
      6/ All of the above.

      With the free bonus of criminal records for each of you.

      I may have left out something, anyone care to chime in?

    • no,you will need a hunter safety course,a
      PAL licence for NR or better,and appropriate licence for sex/species etc.

  34. When I go out on Crown Land to target practice, can I let a friend with out a certificate shoot my 22 rifle. I am certified?

  35. Can you tell me about 2 things:

    1 – So what is the deal with ruger 10-22 butler creek 30 round mags?? I read now that the rc;s call the BX -25 a prohib device (Now that’s just funny) does that mean that all butler creek mags and the GSG large mags now prohib devices???

    2 – While I can’t find anything on shotgun capacity max, is there any mag capacity on shotguns semi or otherwise?? (No I am not talking about hunting, just target shooting)

    Thank you

    • 1. There is no limit on rimfire mags that I have ever heard of.
      2. Max 5 rds in the mag for semiautos, no limit for others – unless hunting of course.

  36. I had a two year firearms restriction which was finished in May, what do I have to do to get my PAL renewed/replaced? Other faqs have yielded little info.

    • Was a ban not a restriction.

    • As a general rule, you need to wait anywhere from 2-5 years after a ban expires, depending on why the ban was in place. Even then, your chances are slim.

      • I guess it was a restriction. Was part of an assault charge but no firearm was involved. Is it going to be even tougher since Harper passed that new bill?

      • The new bill has nothing to do with it but with an assault conviction, your chances are even slimmer.

  37. Hey I have a trafficking charge there’s no violence involved and I’ve never had a charge related to violence and its been a year since I’ve been charged does anyone know if I can still get my pal n restricted fire arms license I passed both courses just havnt sent away for them yet

  38. This is somewhat of a last resort. I have not been able to find any information in regards for Canadian citizens with a foreign non violent criminal charge to obtain a firearms license. My nephew spent a few years in the U.S. for drug possession/distribution and has no criminal record within canada and was told by his lawyer to check “NO” for any criminal convictions on any application since it did not occur within Canadian borders. My question is will this be a factor when a background check is done? are the checks only within Canada or international? should he check “no” or “yes” for any criminal conviction? this is a last resort before asking the RCMP, just don’t want any unnecessary attention on my nephew since all is in the past.

    Thanks for any help.

    • As for what he should check, go with what the lawyer says. Will a US record show up on a Canadian background check? I have no idea what the FBI/RCMP share across the border and I doubt anyone else here has either.

  39. 1/ When does the “POL / PAL merger take place so a POL holder may ‘aquire’ firearms?

    2/ Are there any legality issues with rifled or smoothbore subcalibre adapters / inserts etc, for use in a firearm?

  40. can you buy Vepr 54R Rifle VCX-54 16 Inch in Ontario canada if you have non restricted license

    • Don’t hold your breath. Last I checked, they were prohibited as “AK variants.” (Kind of like the AP80, ya know?) Just one more reason C68 needs to go.

  41. I have a Mossberg 715t with the 25 shot clip/mag lol baught it 4 yrs ago but was wondering if it illegal now or just a rumor it is or will be so not sure why , and another question a guy wants to buy it but doesn’t have his pal and I do, but he says hes going to get his pal and still wants to buy it now before he has his pal but he says he will sign a paper to the effect if anything happens he will take responability till he gets his pal but I don’t want to sell it to him till he has it lol but keeps asking me so just wanted to ask to be safe lol thanks

    • Do not feed the trolls >_<

    • don”t sell it unless he is a PAL holder. He cannot legally buy or possess that or any gun without it. If you do,you too have broken the law,and it’s not worth it. there is no mag restriction,and they’re a cool little rifle! once he is licensed,there is no issue.

    • 30 odd years ago I had seen this done, BUT the bill of sale stated the sale was contingent upon the buyer getting his FAC & producing it to the seller BEFORE the seller handed over the Firearm.

      The seller was paid in full up front (non-refundable 100% deposit), the buyer had 30 days to aquire said FAC or lose the deal & his cash.

      No FAC shown = no firearms changed hands.

      Motivated buyers to expedite, I believe.

      Exactly how this would fly today, I can but guess.

      • James
        Nothing has officially come out on the RCMP web sight (which is always up to date, right?) or is set in the CC of C. If dealers are dumping them… well brother you do the math. Of course we will have fair warning once we become felons right??? (CZ and Swiss arms). Been watching the prices of fire arms fluctuate as of late (not in the consumers favor) so I would be concerned about this. By the way if you own an SKS…. well?

  42. I took my restricted and non-restricted courses for a pal about a year ago but lost my paperwork before I could send it in. I recently found them and was wondering if they were still valid and I could still send them in for my pal or if I would have to retake the courses?

    • As far as I know if you passed the course you passed the course. Should be no need to repeat it.

      • The same thing happend to me where I took the test and didnt have a record to prove that i passed it. 8 Years after I took the test i called the RCMP and asked them about having to do it again. They said that no i didnt have to take it because I had already passed it and was in the system. When you take the course or challenge the test the instructor sends in the paper work and you are entered into the system and it allows you to apply for the PAL when ever you want. there is no expiry for you to apply only an expiry for when you get the license which is every 5 years you need to renew it.

  43. My friend has his license but I do not. Would I be allowed to fire the rifles/shotguns with him beside me. And do they have to be registered?

  44. Is there a limit to how many guns I can have in my house.

  45. Is it legal at any time of the year in Quebec (or anywhere else in Canada), to do target shooting off in the woods on public land, or does it always have to be at a shooting range?

  46. My son arrested at 18 with marijuana charged at 20 years of age. Judge imposed 5 year ban on weapons. Served his time learned his lesson. Charges had nothing to do with weapons. Wants in the military cannot get in with weapons ban. Can we hire a lawyer to have the weapons ban lifted?

    • You can hire a lawyer to make PB&Js on pumpernickel, and he’ll do it if you pay him. That being said, I know of several individuals who were able to join the military under circumstances virtually identical to your son’s. The most likely barrier will be that the military takes a very dim view of drug use…

    • Side note:
      I was told by a former CF Sgt. assigned to his Armoury that he was given strict orders NOT to allow a certain fellow NCO to have access to any amount or type ammunition under ANY circumstances.

      “Only if he is deployed, will the issue be readdressed. At his deployed location & time. Maybe.”

      (Always wondered why…)

  47. hey guys just a quick question here ill keep it short. my ex girlfriend said i tried to hurt her with a motor vehicle the police came to me and i told them it wasn’t true which it was not and they believed me will this be an obstacle for acquiring my pal?

    • Probably. The application process requires you to disclose past relationships, and the simple fact is that the process exists for one reason and one reason only: to refuse gun ownership to as many people as possible, using any excuse available.

  48. Ive got a criminal record and a active warrent in ontario but i reside in B.C. however i am native and have my status card and want a rifle for hunting purpose to provide food for my family. I have no weapons charges or priors. Am i able to obtain a hunting license? ?

    • Of course you can. Getting a hunting license should be no problem. Getting a licence to possess a gun, on the other hand, will be impossible.

  49. I would like to know wether or not its legal for a private individual to sell his personal ammunition to another individual as long as they have the proper identification?

  50. I applied for my pol to be renewed and was refused , because they are trying to get rid of the pol . My explanation for the denial is that you retract your app. or take the core course . which i have done already other wise i would not have my expired pol to get renewed.Having so mush difficulty trying to understand the reasoning on why someone would deny a license that already exists ! C F O has been no help whatsoever . Where does one turn to now i really enjoyed my time in the woods , coming home with meat or no meat ! cheers Pete

  51. I have a valid POL and want to sell a gun to someone that has a PAL. Am I legally allowed to sell a gun with my POL?

  52. I was wondering, do you need an PAL to buy gun accessories (rail, grip, etc.) or an gun scope? I want to buy it as a gift for my brother.


  53. Do u have to have a license to fire a rifle ?

  54. I just purchased a Kel Tec KSG shotgun. it will hold 12+1 3 inch rounds. If I’m not hunting migratory birds and just using it as a wilderness protection weapon, can I have it fully loaded or does the 3 round limit still apply

  55. Hey, I have an important question. I have a criminal record and a current weapons ban. My ban ends July, 11 2015. I was wondering if I can obtain my firearms license when my ban ends, or do I have to wait a certain amount of time? If I do have to wait, how long do I have to wait? I am not interested in a restricted or prohibited license as I am just looking for non-restricted license so I can hunt legally again.

    • I believe the current RCMP forms ask if you have had a restriction in the last 5 years, and if so, you will likely be denied.
      Applying 5 years after the date your ban ended is best!

      • Most firearm prohibitions in relation to a court order have to do with time duration ie 10 years because you were convicted of assault with a weapon, etc. Once that ban is over you can apply, otherwise it would be an additional on top of the court order, just be honest with your paper work something like that they will see when they CPIC your particulars. Technically you have no legal obligation prohibiting you. I have heard they can be a nightmare about divorces though.

  56. Hey, might be a dumb question but I was wondering is it is legal or illegal to have a light/ tactical flashlight attached to your gun. Somewhere I heard it was illegal but I’m not sure. P.s I live in BC

  57. With regard to pistols, is the firearm considered loaded if it has a loaded magazine in it but no round in the chamber? Also, is it legal to store loaded magazines in the case with the pistol, provided they are not actually in it?

    • Yes, it’s loaded. Not sure about the storage question, though.

      • Ammo must not be stored in the case with the pistol. It has to be stored seperate. Only exception is if you have it stored in a Gun SAFE. not a cabinet.

  58. Hi,
    I am looking at a keltec su-2000, 9mm used.
    It comes with a 33 round 9mm glock magazine.

    Is this legal? is there a law requiring it to be pinned to 10? It was designed to hold 33, and the seller is already located in Canada.

  59. In Alberta, do you have to be 18 years of age or have your PAL to buy magazines for your gun?

    • There are no requirements for purchasing unregulated firearms parts. A five-year-old can purchase magazines or any other accessory they wish. A store may have an internal policy forbidding anyone under a certain age from buying certain items, but it is not law. A PAL (and necessarily, being over 18) IS required to purchase firearms and ammunition.

  60. Do you require a pal to purchase a used gun from an individual?

  61. Hi,
    Can I live in custody my semi rifle (non restricted) and ammunition to a friend or to my ex-wife for 6 months?
    I really need this advice!
    Thank you.

    • That shouldn’t be a problem as long as they either have a PAL or there’s a means to lock up the guns so they can’t get at them.

    • You would leave your EX-wife with your rifle + ammunition ?!?


      My ex still won’t acknowledge my existence if in line next to her at a Starbucks, and its’ almost 30 years since I divorced my then newlywed bride. (After repeatedly catching her “in flagrante delicto”)

  62. I know that you are not supposed to store firearms loaded under any circumstances, but that you are allowed to store ammunition with the firearm if they are both locked in a safe or cabinet. My question is, am I allowed to store a shotgun inside a locked cabinet with five shotgun shells inside a shell carrier which is mounted on the shotgun? Or is this considered as the gun being “loaded”?

  63. I have just purchased a Mossberg 700 .22 cal rifle. I purchased 3 25rd magazines and I just want to make sure they won’t come pinned to ten?

    • While I have no idea what any particular company’s policies are or aren’t, I can think of no reason whatsoever why anyone out there would be shipping rimfire mags with pins in them.

  64. Hey guys and gals, I’m currently waiting to attend and finish my CFSC/CRFSC course. Have my eyes on a nice old 12 ga. Mossberg 500 Pump. Been checking out some tactical accessories (ie. shell carrier, heat shield, pistol grip and forend. Just wondering if I have to wait until I have my PAL to actually purchase the parts or do I need the liscence?

    • Shop away bud! You can buy all the accessories you like, you just cant (legally) buy a receiver until you get your PAL.

  65. what is the most amount of ammunition i am allowed to stock pile at my home for my weapons if they are fully licenced?

    • Presently there is no limit to the number of safety cartridges (loaded ammunition) except that it must be reasonable as required for a rifle, revolver or shotgun where a person may lawfully so possess the firearm. See more at the CSSA’s website.

    • 250kg (~495#) of safety ammunition is the storage limit for an average domicile.

      Example: This is about 13,000 rounds of 7.63×39, if my math is right.

    • Just some friendly advice, do not use the term weapon when speaking about your firearms. I sure hope that is not their intended purpose.

  66. I have a quick (maybe stupid) question. I am going for my CFSC/CRFSC course at the end of the month, what further licencing would I require in order to actually PURCHASE a fire arm? (specifically a handgun, semi-auto and pump action shotgun). Do I need to be part of a club to transport and/or purchase and bring home? Sorry, I’m a newb.

  67. I have worked for an Armored truck company for about 3 years now and carry a pistol. I thought it would be a good idea to purchase a pistol to practice target shooting. I live in Ontario and have a PAL for restricted and non-restricted. When I purchased the pistol they sent my application for my ATT so I can take the pistol from the gun shop to my home. My ATT was denied because my PAL states that it is for employment purposes only? I have no criminal record and I am very responsible. Other employees at my work have restricted firearms and do not have this restriction that I have. Why me? and can this be lifted?

    • I am in the military and work with prohibited weapons. This does not give me any special rights to own/posses these guns. Some how some paper work was not filled out right or was miss understood. Contact the CFO and find out where things went wrong. Work and civy do not work together brother.


  68. I have a .50 beowulf mag is it illegal for me to load 14 rounds into the mag and fire it from my tavor .223 /5.56nato I live in Canada? if it is allowed can you tell me what paper work i could carry with me to show the police if they challenge what I am doing? thank you.

    • Funny thing that. It doesn’t matter how many rounds are in the magazine, it only matters how many rounds the mag was designed to hold. So yes, it’s legal. Not sure if it’s a good idea, because I don’t know the guns, but there’s no law against it.

      But that doesn’t mean that the cops won’t harass you anyway. Just because they can.

  69. What is the penalty for selling ammo to someone who doesn’t have a PAL

    • Actually, due to the spaghetti logic that the FA is made of, there’s still a back-and-forth going on over that here on our end (ask 3 different cops and 3 different lawyers and you’ll get 6 answers – I kid you not; it’s bloody surreal). Part of your answer can be found here, if that’s any help at all.

      • Dennis
        Almost sounds like the boot legging concepts of the 20’s. Canadian Tire C wants my PAL # for ammo but not guns? Then leaves it in a glass case for the public to see. According to the CCof C it is a felon to redistribute regulated items without government authorization (in this case PAL) even as a private citizen.

  70. I have a valid POL, but often stores refuse to sell ammo when all you have is a POL instead of a PAL. Where in the Firearms Act, or any other federal or provincial legislation ( I am in Alberta) does it explicitly spell out that one can purchase ammo for classes of firearm that you possess with only a POL for a license?

    If it does not explicitly say that anywhere, what should one tell the store owners? I know that the Act says a license is required to purchase ammunition, but I can find no reference anywhere that makes it clear that for the purpose of ammo purchases, a POL is as good as a PAL. A lot of stores think that Possession Only License means you cannot Acquire ammunition as with a Possession and Acquisition License. I know this is an incorrect understanding of the laws, but where does it say you can buy ammo with a POL in idiotproof language? Thanks.

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