All firearms in Canada fall into one of three classes - non-restricted, restricted or prohibited.
Non-restricted firearm: any rifle or shotgun that is neither restricted nor prohibited. Most common long guns are non-restricted, but there are exceptions.
Restricted firearm* means:
Prohibited firearm* means:
*Criminal Code definitions
The class of a firearm is determined based on criteria set out in subsection 84(1) of the Criminal Codeand corresponding regulations made by Orders in Council. Accordingly, changes to the classification criteria can only be made by Parliament and the Governor in Council.
It may occasionally appear that a firearm has been “re-classified”. However, this term is not accurate.
The Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) applies criteria set out in the Criminal Code and corresponding regulations. A firearm’s class depends on the attributes of the firearm and the definitions in the Criminal Code. The Criminal Code defines “restricted firearm” and “prohibited firearm”. In some cases, information may arise that influences the outcome of this determination, and subsequently, the firearm’s class. For example, authorities may evaluate an imported firearm based on information provided by a firearm manufacturer or importer, prior to importation. Upon inspection, however, it may be determined that the information initially provided was inaccurate or incomplete.
Similarly, if it is determined that a firearm can easily be modified (e.g., reduced in length or converted from semi-automatic to full automatic), this new information will determine the firearm’s class. Also, the design of an imported firearm may change over time from that of the initial shipment. The newer variant may fit into a different class than the original model.
Verification is the process of identifying a firearm and confirming its class.
The CFP coordinates a nation-wide network of trained and certified verifiers who can assist businesses and individuals. For verification information and assistance please call 1-800-731-4000 (ext. 1052) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Canadian Firearms Program has developed a comprehensive firearms identification tool called the Firearms Reference Table (FRT). Authorized users of the FRT, including domestic and international law enforcement, can access this firearms identification information through various interfaces.
For more information, contact the CFP.
This fact sheet is intended to provide general information only. For legal references, please refer to the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act and their corresponding regulations. Provincial, territorial and municipal laws, regulations and policies may also apply.
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