Canadian Patriot Podcast Episode 12 – Gun Control

Marty joins Andrew to discuss the history of gun control in Canada, how to get a firearms license, how to buy a gun, and the laws governing ownership of firearms.

Episode 12 Show Notes


Hello to all of our listeners out there in podcast land, and welcome to episode 12 of the Canadian Patriot Podcast, recorded January 25th, 2016.

Marty – Sport shooter and hunter from Southern Ontario

… and I’m your host Andrew – I’m a libertarian, competitive shooter, gear reviewer at, and gun club director.

We’d love to hear your feedback about the show. Please visit or email us at

Available on Stitcher at and iTunes at


3 petitions that you need to sign

and 2 that you don’t

What are we drinking?

Andrew – Mill St Vanilla Porter

Marty – James Ready


[SHOT 2016] The C-19 Canadian Ranger Rifle Will Come To US


Be more savvy about what you share on social media Edmonton RCMP warns


Calgary police officer whose rifle was stolen from car will not be charged


A Brief history of Gun Control in Canada


Justices of the Peace had the authority to impose a six-month jail term on anyone carrying a handgun, if the person did not have reasonable cause to fear assault against life or property.



The first Criminal Code required individuals to have ‘certificate of exemption’ to carry a pistol unless the owner had cause to fear assault or injury. It became an offence to sell a pistol to anyone under 16. Vendors who sold pistols or airguns had to keep a record of the purchaser’s name, the date of the sale and information that could identify the gun.



Carrying a handgun outside the home or place of business without a permit could result in a three-month sentence. It became an offence to transfer a firearm to any person under the age of 16, or for a person under 16 to buy one.



A Criminal Code amendment required individuals to obtain a permit to possess a firearm, regardless of where the firearm was kept. These permits were available from a magistrate, a chief of police or the RCMP. British subjects did not need a permit for shotguns or rifles they already owned; they only needed one for newly acquired firearms. Permits were valid for one year within the issuing province. The Criminal Code did not provide for a central registry; records were maintained at the local level.



A Criminal Code amendment repealed the requirement for everyone in possession of a firearm to have a permit. Instead, only ‘aliens’ needed a permit to possess firearms. British subjects still needed a permit to carry pistols or handguns.



Specific requirements were added for issuing handgun permits. Before this, applicants only had to be of ‘discretion and good character.’ They now also had to give reasons for wanting a handgun. Permits could only be issued to protect life or property, or for using a firearm at an approved shooting club. The minimum age for possessing firearms was lowered from 16 to 12 years. Other changes included the creation of the first mandatory minimum consecutive sentence – 2 years for the possession of a handgun or concealable firearm while committing an offence. The punishment for carrying a handgun outside the home or place of business was increased from 3 months to a maximum of 5 years.



The first registration requirement for handguns was created. Before then, when a permit holder bought a handgun, the person who issued the permit was notified. The new provisions required records identifying the owner, the owner’s address and the firearm. These records were not centralized. Registration certificates were issued and records were kept by the Commissioner of the RCMP or by police departments that provincial Attorneys General had designated as firearms registries.



Handguns had to be re-registered every five years, starting in 1939. While guns did not require serial numbers, it became an offence to alter or deface numbers. The mandatory 2-year minimum sentence provision was extended to include the possession of any type of firearm, not just handguns and concealable firearms, while committing an offence. The minimum age was raised from 12 to 14 years. The first ‘minor’s permit’ was created to allow persons under 14 to have access to firearms.



Re-registration was postponed because of World War II. During the war years, rifles and shotguns had to be registered. This was discontinued after the war ended.



The Criminal Code provisions dealing with ‘constructive murder’ were expanded to include any case where a death resulted from the possession or use of any weapon, including any firearm, during the commission of an offence, even if the offender did not intend to kill.



The Criminal Code was amended so that firearm owners no longer had to renew registration certificates. Certificates became valid indefinitely.



The registry system for handguns was centralized under the Commissioner of the RCMP for the first time. Automatic firearms were added to the category of firearms that had to be registered. These firearms now had to have serial numbers. The 2-year mandatory minimum sentence created in 1932-33 was repealed.



The categories of ‘firearm,’ ‘restricted weapon’ and ‘prohibited weapon’ were created for the first time. This ended confusion over specific types of weapons and allowed the creation of specific legislative controls for each of the new categories. The new definitions included powers to designate weapons to be prohibited or restricted by Order- in-Council. The minimum age to get a minor’s permit to possess firearms was increased to 16. For the first time, police had preventive powers to search for firearms and seize them if they had a warrant from a judge, and if they had reasonable grounds to believe that possession endangered the safety of the owner or any other person, even though no offence had been committed. The current registration system, requiring a separate registration certificate for each restricted weapon, took effect in 1969.



Bill C-51 passed in the House of Commons. It then received Senate approval and Royal Assent on August 5. Changes included requirements for Firearms Acquisition Certificates (FACs) and requirements for Firearms and Ammunition Business Permits. Chief Firearms Officer positions were introduced in the provinces. Other changes included provisions dealing with new offences, search and seizure powers, increased penalties, and new definitions for prohibited and restricted weapons. Fully automatic weapons became classified as prohibited firearms unless they had been registered as restricted weapons before January 1, 1978. Individuals could no longer carry a restricted weapon to protect property. Mandatory minimum sentences were re-introduced. This time, they were in the form of a 1-14 year consecutive sentence for the actual use (not mere possession) of a firearm to commit an indictable offence.



Bill C-17 was introduced. It passed in the House of Commons on November 7, received Senate approval and Royal Assent on December 5, 1991, then came into force between 1992 and 1994. Changes to the FAC system included requiring applicants to provide a photograph and two references; imposing a mandatory 28-day waiting period for an FAC; a mandatory requirement for safety training; and expanding the application form to provide more background information. Bill C-17 also required a more detailed screening check of FAC applicants.

Major changes included: increased penalties for firearm-related crimes; new Criminal Code offences; new definitions for prohibited and restricted weapons; new regulations for firearms dealers; clearly defined regulations for the safe storage, handling and transportation of firearms; and a requirement that firearm regulations be drafted for review by Parliamentary committee before being made by Governor-in-Council. A major focus of the new legislation was the need for controls on military, para-military and high-firepower guns. New controls in this area included the prohibition of large-capacity cartridge magazines for automatic and semi-automatic firearms, the prohibition of automatic firearms that had been converted to avoid the 1978 prohibition (existing owners were exempted); and a series of Orders-in-Council prohibiting or restricting most para-military rifles and some types of non-sporting ammunition.

The Bill C-17 requirement for FAC applicants to show knowledge of the safe handling of firearms came into force in 1994. To demonstrate knowledge, applicants had to pass the test for a firearms safety course approved by a provincial Attorney General, or a firearms officer had to certify that the applicant was competent in handling firearms safely.

Bill C-17 added a requirement that safety courses had to cover firearms laws as well as safety issues.

After the 1993 federal election, the new Government indicated its intention to proceed with further controls, including some form of licensing and registration system that would apply to all firearms and their owners.



Bill C-68 was introduced in February 14. Senate approval and Royal Assent were granted on December 5, 1995. Major changes include:

  • Criminal Code amendments providing harsher penalties for certain serious crimes where firearms are used- for example, kidnapping, murder;
  • the creation of the Firearms Act, to take the administrative and regulatory aspects of the licensing and registration system out of the Criminal Code;
  • a new licensing system to replace the FAC system; licences required to possess and acquire firearms, and to buy ammunition;
  • registration of all firearms, including shotguns and rifles

The Chief Firearms Officer was tasked with issuing firearm licences, and the Firearms Registrar, registration certificates. The Registrar is responsible for registering firearms owned by individuals and businesses.

Provision is also made in the Firearms Act for the appointment of ten Chief Firearms Officers, that is, one for each province, with some provinces also including a territory. Chief Firearms Officers can be appointed by the provincial or the federal government. Be they appointed federally or provincially, Chief Firearms Officers are responsible for such things as issuing, renewing, and revoking Possession and Acquisition Licences.



The provisions requiring mandatory minimum sentences for serious firearms crimes came into effect in January. The Canada Firearms Centre was given the task to develop the regulations, systems and infrastructure needed to implement the Firearms Act. CFC officials consulted extensively with the provinces and territories, and with groups and individuals with an interest in firearms, to ensure that the regulations reflected their needs as much as possible.

The Minister of Justice tabled proposed regulations on November 27. These dealt with such matters as:

  • all fees payable under the Firearms Act;
  • licensing requirements for firearms owners;
  • safe storage, display and transportation requirements for individuals and businesses;
  • authorizations to transport restricted or prohibited firearms;
  • authorizations to carry restricted firearms and prohibited handguns for limited purposes;
  • authorizations for businesses to import or export firearms;
  • conditions for transferring firearms from one owner to another;
  • record-keeping requirements for businesses;
  • adaptations for Aboriginal people



In January and February, public hearings on the proposed regulations were held by the House of Commons Sub-Committee on the Draft Regulations on Firearms, of the Standing Committee of Justice and Legal Affairs, and by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Based on the presentations that were made, a number of recommendations were made for improvements to the regulations. These recommendations were to clarify various provisions and to give more recognition to legitimate needs of firearms users. The Committee also recommended that the government develop a variety of communications programs to provide information on the new law to groups and individuals with an interest in firearms.

In April, the Minister of Justice tabled the government’s response, accepting all but one of the Committee’s 39 recommendations. The government rejected a recommendation for an additional procedure in the licence approval process.

In October, the Minister of Justice tabled some amendments to the 1996 regulations. She also tabled additional regulations at that time, dealing with:

  • firearms registration certificates;
  • exportation and importation of firearms;
  • the operation of shooting clubs and shooting ranges;
  • gun shows
  • special authority to possess; and
  • public agents



As of January 1, 2001, Canadians needed a licence to possess and acquire firearms.



As of January 1, 2003, individuals needed a valid licence and registration certificate for all firearms in their possession, including non-restricted rifles and shotguns. Firearms businesses also required a valid business licence and registration certificate for all firearms in their inventory.



April 6, 2012 by the coming into force of Bill C-19. Non-restricted firearms no-longer need to be registered. Major changes;

  • Removal of the requirement to register non-restricted firearms
  • Destruction of the existing non-restricted firearms registration records
  • Allowing the transferor of a non-restricted firearm to obtain confirmation of a transferee’s firearms acquisition licence prior to the transfer being finalized
  • Mandatory safety training
  • Authorization to transport restricted firearms and prohibited handguns becomes a condition on the PAL


Getting A Gun (and a licence)


  1. Find an instructor
  2. take the course
  3. pass the written and practical tests with 80% or better, wait 5 weeks to be mailed the results
  4. mail in the application and test results, wait at least mandatory 28 days
  5. wait for the license to be mailed
  6. purchase your firearm
    1. If restricted wait for transfer


On average expect the process to take 3-6 months

Cost varies by region and instructor

$120-160 CFSC

$120-160  CRFSC

$60/80 application fee

passport photo and postage

PAL $200 RPAL $350

Time varies by instructor usually one course per day


Be prepared to answer some questions that affect your eligibility, provide the contact information for your current and past conjugal partners, and references

  • During the past five (5) years, have you threatened or attempted suicide, or have you suffered from or been diagnosed or treated by a medical practitioner for: depression; alcohol, drug or substance abuse; behavioural problems; or emotional problems?
  • During the past two (2) years, have you experienced a divorce, a separation, a breakdown of a significant relationship, job loss or bankruptcy?
  • Do you currently have a spouse, common-law or other conjugal partner?
  • Within the last two (2) years have you lived in a conjugal relationship other than with the person you may have referred to in question

Current Laws




  • with a barrel length under to 105 millimetres (4.1 in), or;
  • that are designed to discharge .25 or .32 calibre ammunition;
  • exceptions are stated in the Regulations Prescribing Exclusions from Certain Definitions of the Criminal Code International Sporting Competition Handguns[

Rifles and shotguns that have been altered by sawing, cutting or any other means, so that:

  • the barrel length is under to 457 millimetres (18.0 in) (regardless of overall length), or;
  • the overall length is under to 660 millimetres (26 in)
  • Firearms which have fully automatic fire capability, or converted automatics
  • Firearms prescribed as prohibited by the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted. This includes all versions (even semi-automatic) versions of certain military weapons such as the AK-47 and the FN-FAL.
  • Firearm capable of discharging dart or other object carrying electric current or substance, including Taser Public Defender and any variant or modified version of it
  • Firearm known as SSS-1 Stinger and any similar firearm designed or of a size to fit in the palm of the hand
  • Hundreds of other firearms listed by name, including any variants or modified versions.


  • Any handgun that is not prohibited (note: handguns are prohibited if the barrel length is under 105 millimetres (4.1 in); handguns cannot be non-restricted
  • Any firearm that is:
    • not prohibited;
    • that has a barrel length under 470 millimetres (18.5 in)
    • and is semi automatic
  • Any firearm that can be fired when the overall length has been reduced by folding, telescoping, or other means to less than 660 millimetres (26 in)
  • Firearms prescribed as restricted by the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted
  • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the High Standard Model 10, Series A shotgun and the High Standard Model 10, Series B shotgun, and any variants or modified versions of them.
  • The firearm of the design commonly known as the M-16 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the
    • Colt AR-15; Colt AR-15 SPI/Sporter/Collapsible Stock Model/A2/A2 Carbine/A2 Government Model Rifle/A2 Government Model Target Rifle/A2 Government Model Carbine/A2 Sporter II/A2 H-BAR/A2 Delta H-BAR/A2 Delta H-BAR Match/9mm Carbine; Armalite AR-15; AAI M15; AP74; EAC J-15; PWA Commando; SGW XM15A; SGW CAR-AR; SWD AR-15; and
    • any 22-calibre rimfire variant, including the
      • Mitchell M-16A-1/22, Mitchell M-16/22, Mitchell CAR-15/22, and AP74 Auto Rifle.


  • any other rifle or shotgun, other than those referred to above.


Prohibited Devices

  • Replica Firearms
  • Suppressors
  • Handgun barrels that are 105 millimetres
  • Electrical or mechanical devices designed or adapted to render the trigger mechanism of a semi-automatic firearm to discharge in a fully automatic fashion
  • Bullpup rifle or shotgun  stock kit


Prohibited Ammunition

  • Handgun ammunition designed to penetrate body armour
  • Incendiary or explosive ammunition designed for use in or in conjunction with a magazine and does not exceed 15 mm in diameter
  • Flechette rounds


Magazine Capacity

  • 5 rounds for semi-Auto centerfire long gun
  • 10 rounds for any handgun
  • no limit to the magazine capacity for semi-automatic rim-fire rifles or manually-operated rifles or shotguns
  • Many exception such as the M1



Non-restricted firearms must be unloaded and either:

  • Made inoperable with a secure locking device (such as a trigger lock); or
  • Have bolts or bolt-carriers removed; or
  • Securely locked in a sturdy container, cabinet or room that cannot be easily broken into
  • Except if: (1) in areas where it is legal to fire a gun, non-restricted firearms needed for predator control can temporarily be left unlocked and operable, but they must be kept unloaded and all ammunition must be stored separately, and (2) in wilderness areas, non-restricted firearms can be left unlocked and/or operable, but must be left unloaded (ammunition may be kept nearby).

Restricted firearms must be unloaded and either:

  • Made inoperable with a secure locking device (such as a trigger lock) and securely locked in a sturdy container, cabinet or room that cannot be easily broken into; or
  • Locked in a vault, safe or room that was built or adapted for storing these types of firearms
  • For automatic firearms, the bolt(s) or bolt-carrier(s) must be removed, if removable, and stored in a separate locked room that cannot be easily broken into



  • Must be kept in a location where it is not available for loading the firearm, unless both the firearm and its ammunition are securely locked up



  • Firearms left unattended in a car must be locked in the trunk or in a similar lockable compartment. If the vehicle does not have a trunk or compartment, the firearm must be placed out of sight inside the vehicle and the vehicle must be locked (same rules apply for transport of replica firearms)
  • Non-restricted firearms must be: transported unloaded (with the exception of muzzle-loading rifles, which can be transported loaded between hunting sites so long as the firing cap or flint is removed).
  • Restricted and prohibited firearms must be: unloaded, made inoperable with a secure locking device, and locked in a sturdy container. Prohibited firearms must also have their bolt(s) or bolt-carrier(s) removed, if removable



Non-restricted firearms must be unloaded and either:

  • Made inoperable with a secure locking device (such as a trigger lock); or
  • Locked in a sturdy container, cabinet or room that cannot be easily broken into.


Restricted and prohibited firearms must be unloaded and:

  • Made inoperable with a secure locking device (such as a trigger lock); and
  • Locked in a sturdy container, cabinet or room that cannot be easily broken into.
  • The bolts or bolt-carriers must be removed, if removable, and stored in a separate locked room that cannot be easily broken into



  • Must not be displayed with a firearm that can discharge it


Public agents firearms regulations

When not in use, agency firearms and other controlled items must be:

  • Stored in a container, receptacle, vault, safe or room that is controlled by the public agency and kept securely locked; or
  • In a dwelling place if authorized by the public agency



  • Handguns, restricted and prohibited firearms must be registered
  • Non-restricted firearms no longer need to be registered following C-19 April 2012


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