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Restricted Firearms

Individuals who possess or wish to acquire a restricted firearm should consult this information regarding the legal requirements under the Firearms Act.

Definition of a restricted firearm

According to the Criminal Code, a restricted firearm is:

  1. a handgun that is not a prohibited firearm,
  2. a firearm that
    • is not a prohibited firearm,
    • has a barrel less than 470 mm in length, and
    • is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner,
  3. a firearm that is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise, or
  4. a firearm of any other kind that is prescribed to be a restricted firearm

Summary of key requirements

Individuals require:

  • a firearms licence that is valid for restricted firearms in order to possess or acquire a restricted firearm and to obtain ammunition.
  • a registration certificate issued under the Firearms Act for all restricted firearms in their possession.
  • an Authorization to Transport, issued by the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) of their provincial or territorial jurisdiction, in order to transport a restricted firearm from one location to another.

Individuals must store, display and transport their restricted firearms according to the applicable regulations.

Firearms licence

Individuals must be at least 18 to get a licence authorizing them to have restricted firearms. Individuals younger than 18 years of age can use restricted firearms only if they are under the direct and immediate supervision of a licensed adult.

Individuals who do not yet have a firearms licence, or who wish to change their licence privileges to include restricted firearms, must apply for a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL - form RCMP 5592).

Individuals must pass the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course to be eligible for a PAL with restricted privileges.

Individuals who already have a Possession-Only Licence (POL) for restricted firearms may renew it if they apply before it expires and they have at least one restricted firearm registered in their name.

Exception: Individuals who had a POL that expired after January 1, 2004, may obtain a new POL to possess restricted firearms if:

  • they apply before May 16, 2015;
  • they still possess restricted firearms that were registered to them;
  • they still require them for an approved purpose; and,
  • they pass the public-safety checks.

Initially, a PAL for restricted firearms costs $80 and is renewable every five years for as long as the individual possesses firearms. For more information on the current licence fee structure, contact the Canadian Firearm Program (CFP).

Permitted purposes for a restricted firearm

There are a few purposes for which individuals can be licensed to acquire or possess a restricted firearm, the most common being target practice or target shooting competitions, or as part of a collection.

In limited circumstances, restricted firearms are also allowed for use in connection with one's lawful profession or occupation, or to protect life.

Exception: Individuals who have a firearm that is registered to them as a relic under the former legislation may continue to possess it for that purpose. However, they cannot pass that designation on to the next owner. The next owner can acquire the firearm only for one of the purposes referred to above.

As set out in the Firearms Act, a relic firearm is one that is of value as a curiosity or rarity, or that is valued as a memento, remembrance or souvenir.

Criteria for each purpose

Depending on which purpose is claimed, there are specific criteria that must be met, as follows:

Target Shooting Practice and Competition

To be authorized to have restricted firearms for target shooting purposes, an individual must provide proof that he or she practices or competes at an approved shooting club or range. For more information about approved shooting clubs and ranges, contact the appropriate provincial or territorial CFO by calling 1-800-731-4000.

Collectors of Restricted Firearms

To be authorized to have restricted firearms as part of a collection, an individual must:

  • Know the historical, technical or scientific features of such firearms in their collection
  • Consent to occasional inspections of the place where their collection is stored
  • Comply with regulations dealing with safe storage, record-keeping and other matters related to restricted firearms

Employment Purposes and Protection of Life

In limited circumstances, an individual may be authorized to possess or acquire a restricted firearm for employment purposes or for protection of life.

Registration

An individual is required to have a registration certificate for each of their restricted firearms. There is no fee to register or transfer a firearm.

Previously Registered Firearms

All registration certificates issued under the former legislation expired on December 31, 2002. Restricted firearms registered in the former system had to be re-registered under the Firearms Act to update the information. Individuals who have not yet re-registered their restricted firearms must do so as soon as possible or dispose of them lawfully. Individuals can apply to re-register them online through the CFP Web site here, or by submitting a paper application (form RCMP 5624). There is no fee.

Newly Acquired Firearms

All restricted firearms that are acquired from a Canadian source must be registered to an individual before he or she takes possession. This will occur as part of the transfer process and must take place any time a restricted or prohibited firearm changes ownership.

In most cases, the entire process can be completed by calling the CFP and selecting the "transfer" option from the menu of services. Alternatively, form RCMP 5492 can be used. This is a two-part form that must be completed by both the person acquiring the firearm and the current owner.

Individuals who acquire a firearm in another country and wish to import it to Canada should refer to the fact sheet on importing a firearm.

Verification

A restricted firearm being registered for the first time in Canada – for example, a new import – must be verified by an approved verifier. Restricted firearms that have previously been registered in Canada are already deemed to be verified. They do not need to be verified again unless the Registrar requests another verification to confirm their description or classification. Call the CFP for help to have a firearm verified.

Authorizations to transport

Individuals require an Authorization to Transport (ATT) from a provincial or territorial CFO in order to transport a restricted firearm from one location to another. There is no fee for an ATT.

To be eligible for an ATT, individuals must hold a firearms licence authorizing them to possess restricted firearms.

Individuals can apply for an ATT by calling the CFP or by submitting form RCMP 5490.

For more information on which firearms are restricted or prohibited, and regarding prohibited devices, please also consult the Criminal Code and the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted.

Information

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.