When it comes to the things people can bring into Canada, they don’t just have to worry about food and alcohol. Bringing a gun into Canada can spell big trouble for someone trying to enter the country.
Canadian laws are strict when it comes to gun possession and even stricter when it comes to non-residents bringing guns into the country.
Canada has a three-tier system when it comes to gun possession. The first tier is comprised of prohibited firearms which may not be brought or imported into Canada. The second and third tiers are restricted and non-restricted firearms which may be brought into Canada under strict guidelines.
Handguns that can shoot to fire a 25 or 32-calibre round with a barrel shorter than 105 mm are included among firearms that are prohibited and may not be brought or imported into Canada. You cannot bring it into Canada, and if you try you may face serious consequences upon discovery.
Some non-restricted firearms include most common rifles and shotguns which are not classified as prohibited or restricted. Most handguns that are not prohibited are usually restricted.
I want to bring a gun into Canada, what do I have to do?
You must declare that you are bringing a gun into Canada and how many guns you have in your possession.
Non-residents of Canada who want to bring a firearm into Canada have two options: either declare their firearm using the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration form, or they can apply for a five-year Possession and Acquisition License, also known as a PAL.
Non-Resident Firearm Declaration
The non-resident firearm declaration needs to be filled out and presented to a customs officer in triplicate. Though the form should be filled in before you get to the border, the signing has to occur in front of a customs officer, because the customs officer must witness your signature.
Currently a confirmed declaration costs $25 but the declaration is only valid for the person who signs the declaration and only for the firearms listed in the declaration.
The declaration is valid for 60 days and acts as a license and it can be renewed for free but renewal must occur before expiry.
If a non-resident is bringing more than three firearms into Canada, they have to also fill out the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration Continuation Sheet.
Possession and Acquisition License (PAL)
Non-residents also have the option of applying for a PAL. A PAL is valid for five years.
This license is the main license to have a firearm, and be allowed to get ammunition in Canada. However, there is a requirement before one can apply for the PAL and that requirement is to pass the written and practical tests for the Canadian Firearms Safety Course.
If a person acquires a Canadian firearms license then usually they don’t need to complete the Non-Resident Firearms Declaration but they still have to make an oral declaration to the customs officer.
You have to be 18 years or older to bring a firearm into Canada. However, a minor may use a firearm in very limited circumstances as long as an adult is there and is the responsible party for the firearm.
Regardless of whether the firearm is restricted or non-restricted it must be declared at the border. If a person fails to declare the firearm(s) at the border they could not only have their weapon seized and destroyed but it’s likely they’ll pay a fine and may even face jail time.
If you are having trouble getting a PAL or having the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration confirmed you should consult a lawyer.
Firearm Users Visiting Canada
Bringing firearms into Canada