Canadian Gun Laws are Confusing

August 29, 2009

Take the following for example, bearing in mind that none of these rifles are full-automatic; they are semi-automatic only:

This firearm in Canada is prohibited:

this firearm is restricted:

and this firearm is non-restricted:

Make any sense to you?

Me either.

(Special thanks to esquif from CGN for the idea)

Click here for more info on what non-restricted, restricted and prohibited classifications mean.


A Brief Overview of Canadian Gun Laws

August 27, 2009

Here is a brief description of the current Gun Control laws that we have here in Canada:

Firearm Classifications:

Non-restricted firearms are those that you would expect to see if you were out hunting.  They include  any firearms that are not already classified as restricted or prohibited, and have an overall length of 26 inches or more and have a barrel length of 18 inches or more.  There are a few exceptions to the barrel length rule, but I’ll get into that later.

Restricted firearms include those that have overall lengths less than 26 inches and barrels less than 18 inches.  So no handgun, for example, could ever be classified as non-restricted as it is too short.  Certain military styled firearms that meet the requirements for non-restricted are also classified as restricted by name.  Popular examples are the AR-15 and the G-36.

Prohibited firearms include all fully automatic firearms, any handgun that has a barrel length of less than 4.2 inches, any handgun that is designed to shoot .25 or .32 calibre ammunition, and certain military styled rifles that have been prohibited by name.  Popular examples include the AK-47 and the MP-5.

So what do the classifications mean?

You may hunt with, target shoot with and transport any non-restricted firearm anywhere that it is legal to do so.  Technically, you can carry a non-restricted rifle with you where ever you go, so long as you only load it where it is legal to discharge it.  So it would need to be unloaded if you were in your car, in town or anywhere else that you are generally not allowed to shoot a gun.  Obviously, it is not a good idea to carry a rifle while going for a stroll downtown as you will attract a lot of unwanted attention from the police, but it is legal to do so.

Restricted firearms, on the other hand, may not be used for hunting and may only be used at, and transported to and from, an approved range.  On top of that, you also need an ATT (Authorization To Transport) from the local Firearms Office to do so.

Prohibited firearms are all the guns that government wants to get rid of.  They decided that it would be too costly to confiscate them all, so they decided that the people who already owned them could keep them, but when they died, the guns would have to be turned in and destroyed.  You can still get an ATT for prohibited handguns to take them to the range for target shooting, but not for prohibited rifles.

Barrel length exceptions

As I mentioned earlier, there are a few exceptions to the barrel length laws:

– semi-automatic centre-fire rifles and shotguns must have a barrel length of more than 18.5 inches to remain non-restricted (does not apply to semi-automatic rimfire rifles)

– non-restricted, non-semi-automatic,  rifles and shotguns (along with semi-automatic rimfire rifles) may have barrel lengths of less than 18 inches (providing the overall length remains more than 26 inches) as long as the barrel was manufactured that way from the factory

Magazine limits

All semi-automatic centre-fire rifle magazines are limited to 5 rounds of ammunition.  All handgun magazines are limited to 10 rounds of ammunition.  Because the law is worded so that it is the magazine that is being controlled, it has allowed AR-15 owners (and owners of other firearms that use the popular AR-15 magazine) the ability to use 10 round pistol magazines in their rifles.  This is because there is a pistol variant of the AR-15 and the magazine designed for the pistol variant will also work in the rifle.  There are no limits set for any rimfire rifle magazines.


Non-Restricted firearms must be unloaded, trigger locked or locked in a sturdy container.  Ammunition must be stored separately or locked up in the same container as the firearm.

Restricted and Prohibited firearms must be unloaded, trigger locked and locked in a sturdy container.  Trigger locks are not required if the firearm is stored in an approved safe.  Ammunition must be stored separately or locked up in the same container as the firearm.


To transport non-restricted firearms, they must be unloaded.  That’s it.  You do have to be aware of Provincial hunting laws however, as they usually require that the firearm be cased when you are not permitted to hunt.  If the firearm is left unattended in the vehicle, the firearm must be locked in the trunk.  If the vehicle does not have a trunk, the vehicle must be locked and the firearm must be out of sight.

Restricted and Prohibited firearms must be unloaded, trigger locked and locked in a sturdy container.  The bolt must also be removed from automatic firearms if able.  If the firearm is left unattended in the vehicle, the firearm must be locked in the trunk.  If the vehicle does not have a trunk, the vehicle must be locked and the firearm must be out of sight.

So that, in a nutshell, is a quick look at Gun Control in Canada.  The actual laws are obviously quite a bit more wordy and complicated, but this will give you a running start on understanding what we are up against.  You’ll notice (especially if you’re American) that there is no mention of Concealed Carry.  Canada does have an Authorization To Carry permit (ATC), but unless your job requires you to carry a firearm to protect money (armoured vehicle services) or you work in a remote area where you are considered to be food by the local predators, there’s literally a one in a million chance that you can get one.  A good site to learn more about Concealed Carry in Canada and what we can do to make it easier to obtain such a permit is

Accuracy of the Media

August 16, 2009

I could ask for a show of hands for how many people think the news media is 100% accurate. Would anybody raise their hands? 90%? 80%? Should I go to 50% accurate? Let me give you an example of the news media on this issue that may give you a perspective you don’t otherwise have.

The #2 athletic pursuit in America based upon sales are the shooting sports. They just outdistanced golf. Golf used to be number two, now golf is number three. Shooting sports edged it out. You’ve heard about Tiger Woods. You’ve heard about the PGA and The Masters. You’ve heard of 19th hole drunkenness. You’ve heard all about golf. Golf is big. You’ve heard nothing about the shooting sports. Nothing. You don’t even know what they are I’ll bet half of you.

Out where I am, we just had an expo at the Ben Avery Range, which is one of the biggest ranges in the country, 1600 acres. It’s always so busy you have to wait to be able to use it. 26000 people in one weekend came out and enjoyed themselves. Had ice cream, ate food, bought hot dogs. Smith And Wesson had booths so you could try out their new firearms. For a few dollars you could rent all sorts of different guns. Cowboy action, practical pistol, high powered rifle. Soccer moms were watching their 9-year-olds use a bolt action 22 under careful supervision. There was gunfire the entire time for two days. Nobody was shot. Nobody fainted. No crimes were committed. Nobody was harmed.

This is the side of the firearm equation you don’t see. You get this distorted view that guns are only associated with crime, and that’s all guns do. I don’t blame you for being angry at it, but this side of the issue counts as well.

“Guns Save Lives”

– Alan Korwin, Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, April 9, 2008

Letter to the NB CFO

August 10, 2009

Attn: Ron Clark, NB Chief Firearms Officer

Dear sir,

I am writing to express my concern over the apparent policy of your office to refuse to issue Authorization to Carry permits to private individuals for the protection of life. Contrary to popular belief, it is legal and there is a permit for carrying a concealed firearm in Canada for the protection of life. The government has simply decided not to issue them.

Why is it that the government has seen fit to provide us with equipment to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our property against such threats as fires, vehicle crashes, sporting related injuries and many other accidents that may happen at anytime during our lives, yet withholds from us the ability to prepare ourselves from the most heinous of events – a criminal attack?

Every Canadian – strike that; every person – on this planet has the right to life. Even the UN cannot rescind this right of the people. And by-and-large, the government has seen fit to educate us and prepare us to meet the challenges of living in an imperfect world. We are offered the ability to acquire such equipment as fire extinguishers, 72-hour emergency kits, helmets, etc. Vehicles are mandatorily equipped with seat belts, airbags, and crumple zones… and while we retain the right to defend ourselves against attack by whatever means we have at our disposal, we are not allowed to prepare for such an event. Instead, we are told to rely on the police to protect us.

With that logic in mind, why are we allowed to obtain and use fire-extinguishers? We have a fire department to protect us, right? And why can a person buy kits for, and be trained in, first-aid? We have ambulances, paramedics and doctors to care for us, right?

The answer of course is because these professionals take time to respond to emergency calls. They cannot be everywhere at once and so we must rely on ourselves to protect our lives and the lives of our loved ones until the professionals arrive.

So why can’t we carry a gun to protect our lives? Is it better that my wife is raped and beaten by a man twice her size because she is not afforded the ability to carry a weapon that would take the advantage of his size and strength away from him? Is it better that my teenage nephew is beaten to death in his own home, by a gang of thugs who simply don’t like him, because his father cannot arm himself for such an event? How about a young university student walking back to her residence in a dark alley? Is it better that she dies too?

I know that these events don’t happen very often in this relatively safe country that we live in, but they do happen. Guns, in the hands of decent citizens, save innocent lives; they don’t take them. Criminals will always have guns, they will always kill, they will always rape and they will always endanger the lives of those around them, no matter what laws are passed. So why not give the opportunity to the general public to protect itself against these criminals?

I look forward to hearing what you have to say on this matter.