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Target Shooters

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This fact sheet explains how the Firearms Act applies to individuals who wish to use a firearm for target shooting.

As set out in the Shooting Club and Shooting Ranges Regulations, a "shooting range" means a place that is designed or intended for the safe discharge, on a regular and structured basis, of firearms for the purpose of target practice or target shooting competitions. All shooting ranges operate under the approval of the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) of the province or territory in which they are located, unless:

  • They are on the premises of a licensed firearms business and are used only by licensed owners and employees of that business; or
  • They are only used by public officers, such as police officers, in relation to their lawful employment duties.

Individuals may call 1-800-731-4000 to confirm whether a club or range they are interested in joining has been approved by the provincial or territorial CFO.

Authorizations to Transport Restricted Firearms and Prohibited Handguns

Firearms owners need an Authorization to Transport (ATT) issued by a CFO in order to transport a restricted or prohibited firearm to or from anywhere in Canada. It is only valid for the specific locations indicated on it. A separate ATT will be required for additional locations.

For Target Practice

An ATT can be issued for a term of:

  • up to five years; or
  • up to the expiry date of the firearms licence; or
  • up to the expiry of the shooting club membership.

An ATT may be issued for a relatively longer period to cover multiple trips for the same purpose. Example: transport to or from a shooting club or range for target practice. In this case, form RCMP 5490 is to be completed and submitted to the office of the applicable CFO (one can also apply by phone by calling 1-800-731-4000. A copy of the valid shooting club membership must be provided as well.

Probationary Club Memberships

Some shooting clubs or ranges have introduced "probationary" club memberships. These temporary memberships are designed for potential club or range members who are new to the club or previous members who have not actively used the range for a specified period of time (i.e., 2-3 years). The terms and conditions of these memberships (such as duration and attendance at range safety seminars) are established and monitored by the shooting club or range.

For the purposes of the issuance of a long-term ATT for target practice, CFO's generally require that the ATT applicant has a "full" club membership (i.e., has met the terms and conditions of the probationary membership and has been issued a subsequent "full" club or range membership).

Licence Renewal

On renewal of a firearms licence (every five years as required by law) and in accordance with subsection 67(2) of the Firearms Act, a CFO is required to review and confirm the purpose for which an individual possesses restricted or prohibited firearms, except for firearms which are relics as set out in subsection 67(4).

Allowable purposes for possession, under paragraph 28(b) of the Firearms Act, include: a) target practice or target shooting competition (under certain ATT conditions or at an approved shooting club or range); or b) to form part of a gun collection, if the individual meets certain criteria. As part of the confirmation of purpose, the CFO "…shall decide whether any of those firearms or handguns that the individual possesses are being used for…" target practice or competition or collection.

Further, the CFO has the authority under subsection 15(1) of the Shooting Clubs and Shooting Ranges Regulations to request written confirmation from a shooting club or range of "…the participation, if any, of a current or past member…of the shooting club…in target practice or target shooting competitions within the previous five years…." The CFO is able to confirm the purpose for which an individual indicated he or she was acquiring the firearm by looking at an individual's history of ATT issuance over the term of their licence (for target practice) and, if necessary, by reviewing the records kept by a club or range.

For Other Purposes

Restricted or prohibited firearm owners are also required to obtain an ATT for purposes other than target shooting. Examples of this would be transportation of a restricted or prohibited firearm due to change of address, or for consignment sale, repair and appraisal.

The information required to issue the ATT in this case may be provided to the CFO of the province or territory in which the firearm owner resides by calling 1-800-731-4000. Once the ATT has been approved, confirmation will be sent to the owner .

Please note that when the owner of a firearm is moving and plans to relocate a restricted or prohibited firearm, an ATT must be obtained prior to the move. This will also serve to update their address and ensure they receive relevant and timely information related to the Firearms Act. Moving a restricted or prohibited firearm without an ATT could result in charges being laid under the Criminal Code.

Non-Resident Target Shooters

For an individual without a valid Canadian firearms licence, a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration (form RCMP 5589) that has been confirmed by a customs officer at his or her point of entry has the same effect as a firearms licence for up to 60 days. Individuals who are bringing a restricted firearm into Canada will generally need to have a customs officer confirm their declaration before applying for an ATT by phone. All of the CFO offices can be reached from Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., at 1-800-731-4000.

Important Notice

Until further notice, due to ongoing litigation, Quebec residents are required to register non-restricted firearms with the Canadian Firearms Program.

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.