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Firearms Licence Card Seizures

Special Bulletin for Police No. 87 - AMENDMENT

February 12, 2013


When a firearm is seized from a person for public safety reasons, or if their firearms licence is revoked, it is important the person's licence card (plastic "hard copy") to possess firearms is also seized in order to prevent subsequent illegal use of the firearms licence.


In April 2012, the Government of Canada amended the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act to eliminate the requirement to obtain a registration certificate for non-restricted firearms*. This change does not affect firearms licensing – everyone who possesses or acquires a firearm MUST be licensed to do so – regardless of whether the firearm falls into the non-restricted, restricted or prohibited class.


Before April 2012, all firearm sales and transfers required processing and approval by the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program (CFP). If the buyer's licence had been revoked, the transaction would fail and not be approved. Since April 2012, long gun sales and transfers no longer require CFP approval, so a person who has had their licence revoked may be able to deceive a seller by presenting an invalid licence card. It is therefore important that the licence card be seized when it has been revoked.

A firearms licence can be revoked by a CFP Chief Firearms Officer for a variety of public safety reasons including court-ordered firearms prohibitions.

Implications for Police

Businesses typically require buyers of non-restricted firearms to show or provide the number for a firearms licence. If the subject of a licence revocation retains their licence, there is a risk that the person may succeed in illegally acquiring more non-restricted firearms using the invalid licence card.

Police should make every attempt, when a licence is revoked, to seize the licence card as well. This will help prevent the person from using the licence card illegally in order to acquire more non-restricted firearms, or showing it to police in an attempt to mislead them regarding their eligibility to possess firearms.

Police in possession of seized licence cards should forward them to their provincial Chief Firearms Officer (CFO).

For more information, please contact the RCMP CFP.

This bulletin is intended to provide general information only. For legal references, please refer to the Firearms Act and Regulations. Provincial, territorial and municipal laws, regulations and policies may also apply.

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