Contrary to popular belief – particularly outside of Canada – Canadian gun control laws do not make it impossible to own a firearm. In fact, they don’t even make it particularly difficult.
You can complete the process of purchasing a firearm largely through the mail. Obviously, at some point, you will have to go to a gun store to find your firearm of choice, but the process is not complicated. About 2 million Canadians already own firearms.
Canadian law defines three categories of firearms. These are:
- Prohibited: Prohibited firearms include small, easily concealed handguns in .25 or .32 caliber, sawed-off shotguns or rifles, fully automatic weapons, and certain other firearms. If you owned one of these weapons before the new gun law took effect on Dec. 1, 1998, it may be “grandfathered in,” provided you renewed your annual licence to continue to possess that firearm.
- Restricted: This includes any handgun that is not defined as prohibited, has a barrel less than 470 mm in length, and is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner; any firearm that is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise; and any firearm of any other kind that is prescribed to be a restricted firearm.
- Non-restricted: These firearms include any other rifle or shotgun not covered by the first two categories. These are typically hunting weapons.
How Can I Buy a Firearm in Canada?
The procedure to obtain a firearms licence is relatively simple in Canada. You will have to pass a short safety course, which isn’t that difficult, and then send off your application for a licence. If your application is approved, you will receive a licence in the mail, and you can take that to a firearms store and purchase whatever firearm your licence allows you to buy. If you qualify, it might be worth it to pay the extra licence fee to obtain a restricted firearm licence and broaden the range of firearms available to you, including handguns. You also will be required to take a second safety course to qualify for a restricted weapons permit.
All restricted or prohibited firearms must be registered in Alberta. Non-restricted firearms do not need to be registered outside of Quebec. Still, all firearms owners must have a firearms licence.
What Can Prevent Me From Obtaining a Firearms Licence?
The requirements to qualify for a firearms licence are set by federal law. Every application for a firearms licence results in a background check of the person applying for the licence. This includes an examination of the applicant’s record going back five years. Any criminal convictions, a mental illness that includes violent behaviour or a history of violence or threats to commit violence will result in a rejection of the application.
If You Need Assistance Obtaining a Firearms Licence, Contact the Lawyers of Bourdon Defence
Obtaining a licence to purchase a firearm in Alberta is intended to be a simple process. However, if you are having difficulties with the application procedure, you should seek assistance. The lawyers of Bourdon Defence can assist you in protecting your rights under such circumstances. You can reach us at (403) 474-4143