Possession and Acquisition Licence
Slow down there, sparky.
This page may talk about the law, but don't forget: GOROLE is NOT a lawyer!
|Canadian Gun Law|
| Authorization to Carry|
Authorization to Transport
Canadian Firearms Program
Long gun registry
| Possession and Acquisition|
A Possession and Acquisition Licence or "PAL" is a licence that allows individuals in Canada to possess and acquire firearms as well as ammunition. Without a PAL, you can't so much as legally buy a brick of .22 anywhere in Canada.
Licences are typically valid for five years and must be renewed prior to expiry to maintain all classes. Once licensed, an individual can apply for a firearm transfer; and an Authorization To Transport (ATT) for restricted and prohibited firearms. If an individual possessing a PAL is convicted of just about any offence, a PAL will be revoked. If an individual does not renew their PAL prior to its expiration date or if they have their PAL revoked, they must legally dispose of any and all firearms in their possession. A licence for prohibited firearms can be issued to qualifying businesses, and
very rarely damn near never to individuals — as the gun laws changed over time, the RCMP will attempt to simply confiscate any reclassified firearms they own, threatening the owners with imprisonment and confiscation of ALL their guns if they don't cooperate!
The only other people who possess a PAL with a prohibited endorsement are grandfathered to the type of prohibited firearm they own, as the gun laws changed over time.
Previous convictions for serious violent, drug or weapons offences almost invariably result in the denial of the application but criminals just get their guns anyway, through the black market.
PALs were introduced in Canada in 1995 as part of Bill C-68 as a replacement for the FAC (Firearms Acquisition Certificate) system. Whereas the FAC was only required to acquire a firearm, a PAL is required to both acquire and possess firearms and to acquire ammunition. A PAL for non-restricted firearms allows its holders to acquire and possess any non-restricted firearm, while a PAL for restricted firearms (which also covers prohibited firearms to those eligible) allows the holder to acquire and possess restricted firearms.
 Getting a PAL
All licensing of firearms in Canada is managed by the RCMP's Canadian Firearms Program (CFP). In the Canadian system, there are three classes of firearms and firearm licences: non-restricted, restricted and prohibited. See Classification of Firearms below for complete details on prohibited, restricted and non-restricted firearms.
Individuals who wish to possess or acquire firearms (legally), and acquire ammunition (legally) in Canada, must have a valid PAL. This licence is distributed exclusively by the RCMP and is generally obtained by jumping through the following three hoops:
- Safety Training: all applicants must successfully complete the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) (CFSC) for a Non-restricted licence, and the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) (CRFSC) for a restricted licence. In most cases, the Non-restricted class is a prerequisite to obtain the Restricted licence. Information on the locations and availability of these courses can be found here.
- Applying for a licence: Currently there is only one type of licence available to new applicants, the Possession/Acquisition Licence (PAL). Canadian citizens, as well as non-residents, can request a PAL by filling out form CAFC921
- Security Screening: Background checks and investigations are performed on every aspect of the applicant, up to and including their sex lives. The CFC will perform some initial processing of the application and then forward the application to the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) of the province in which the applicant resides. All applicants are screened and a mandatory 28-day waiting period is imposed on first-time applicants.
Licences are typically valid for five years, expiring on the individual's birthday, and must be renewed prior to expiry to maintain all classes. Once licensed, an individual can apply for a firearm transfer; and an Authorization To Transport (ATT) for restricted firearms.
For minors there is a license called the Minors' License. This licence allows a minor to possess non-restricted rifles or shotguns without needing to be under direct supervision of a licensed adult. A licensed minor cannot discharge a long gun without supervision of a licensed adult. A licensed minor may be allowed to buy ammunition for long guns. To be eligible, the minor must have passed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. An interview with the CFO may be held with the minor and a guardian or parent before the license is issued to the minor. However, the minor cannot register firearms under the license or inherit or receive one as a gift.
 Canadian firearm classifications
In Canada firearms fall into three general classifications: Non-restricted - Most long guns, rifles and shotguns are classified non-restricted.
Restricted - ALL handguns, other than those that are prohibited, are classified as restricted. Many
military- scary-looking, semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR15 are also classified as restricted. Other examples of restricted firearms include:
- Handguns that aren't prohibited
- Firearms with a barrel shorter than 470 mm (19 in)
- Many semi-automatic firearms designed to discharge center-fire ammunition
- Rifles and shotguns that can be fired when their 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 (SOR/98-462), and any variant or modified version of them, such as:
- High Standard Model 10 Series A & Series B
- M-16 rifle variants, including Colt AR-15, 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 and CAR-AR, SWD AR-15, as well as any .22 calibre rimfire variant of it including Mitchell M16A-1/22, M-16/22, CAR-15/22, AP74 Auto Rifle
Prohibited - This classification is used on all handguns with barrel lengths equal to or less than 105 mm. It also is used for fully automatic guns, converted automatics, some types of assault rifles declared to be prohibited by an Order in Council (e.g.: AK 47, FN FAL), and any firearm chambered in .25 caliber or .32 caliber (with the exception of handguns used in International Shooting Union competitions). There are six sub-categories of prohibited firearms. Some examples include:
- Handguns with a barrel that is (4.1 in) or less or less
- Handguns that are designed to discharge .25 or .32 calibre ammunition (unless 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 their barrel length be less than 457 millimetres (18.0 in) or their overall length less than 660 millimetres (26 in)
- Any automatic firearms, whether or not they have been altered to discharge only one projectile with one pressure of the trigger
- 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 (SOR/98-462):
- Firearm capable of discharging dart or other object carrying electrical 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
- Carbines, rifles and shotguns of designs commonly known as, including any variants or modified versions of them:
- A.A. Arms AR9 semi-auto rifle and AR-9 carbine
- AK-47 rifle and all variants, including AK Hunter, AKM, AKM-63, AKS-56S, AKS-56S-1/2, AKS-74, AKS84S-1, AMD-65, AR Model .223, Dragunov, Galil, KKMPi69, M60, M62, M70B1, M70AB2, M76, M77B1, M78, M80, M80A, MAK90, MPiK, MPiKM, MPiKMS-72, MPiKS, PKM, PKM-DGN-60, PMKM, RPK, RPK-74, RPK-87S, Type 56, 56-1, 56-2, 56-3, 56-4, Type 68, Type 79, American Arms AKY39, AKF39, AKC47 and AKF47, MAM70WS762, Mitchell AK-22, AK-47 and Heavy Barrel AK-47, Norinco 84S, 84S AK, 56, 56-1/2/3/4, Poly Technologies Inc. AK-47/S, AKS-47/S and AKS-762, Valmet M76, M76 carbine, M78/A2, M78 LMG, M82 and M82 Bullpup, except: Valmet Hunter, Hunter Auto and M78
- American 180 auto-carbine, including AM-180 and Illinois Arms Co. Model 180 auto-carbines
- Armalite AR-180 Sporter carbine
- Barrett "Light 50" Model 82A1 & Model 90 rifles
- Benelli M1 Super 90 and M3 Super 90 shotguns, except: M1 Super 90 (Field/Sporting Special), Montefeltro Super 90 (Standard Hunter/Left Hand/Turkey/Uplander/Slug/20 Gauge), Black Eagle (Limited Ed./Competition/Slug Gun), Super Black Eagle (Custom Slug)
- Beretta AR70 assault rifle
- Bernardelli B4 and B4/B shotguns
- BM 59 rifle, including: Beretta BM 59, BM 59R, BM 59GL, BM 59D, BM 59 MkE, BM 59 MkI/MkII/MkIII, BM 59 Mk Ital/Ital TA/TP/Para and BM 60CB, as well as Springfield Armory BM 59 Alpine, BM 59 Alpine Paratrooper and BM 59 Nigerian MkIV
- Bushmaster auto-rifle
- Calico M-900 rifle, including M-951, M-100 and M-105 carbines
- Cetme Sport auto-rifle
- Claridge HI-TEC C, LEC, ZLEC-9 carbines
- Daewoo K1, K1A1, K2, Max1, Max2, AR-100, AR-110C, MAXI-II and KC-20 rifles
- Demro TAC-1M and XF-7 Wasp carbines
- Eagle Apache carbine
- Encom MK-IV, MP-9 and MP-45 carbines
- FAMAS rifle, including MAS223, FAMAS Export, FAMAS Civil and Mitchell MAS/22
- Feather AT-9 semi-auto carbine and AT-22 auto-carbine
- Federal XC-900, XC-220 rifles and XC-450 auto-rifle
- Fabrique Nationale FN FNC, FNC-11, FNC-22, FNC-33, FNC Auto and FNC Auto Paratrooper rifles, as well as FN FAL, FN 308 Model44, FAL Competition Auto, FAL Heavy Barrel 308 Match, FAL Paratrooper 308 Match 50-64 and FN 308 Model 50-63
- Franchi SPAS 12, LAW 12 shotguns
- Franchi SPAS 15 shotgun
- Galil assault rifle, including AP-84, ARM, AR, SAR, 332 and Mitchell Galil/22 auto-rifle
- Gepard anti-materiel rifle
- Goncz High-Tech carbine
- Grendel R-31 auto-carbine
- Heckler&Koch G3, G3A3, G3A3ZF, G3A4, G3SG/1, G11, HK33, 33A2, 33A3, 33KA1, HK91, 91A2, 91A3, 93, 93A2, 93A3, 94, 94A2, 94A3 and PSG-1 rifles, as well as: MP5, MP5A2, MP5A3, MP5K, MP5SD, MP5SD1, MP5SD2, MP5SD3 submachine guns
- Iver Johnson AMAC long-range rifle and Plainfield Super Enforcer carbine
- J&R Eng M-68, PJK M-68 and Wilkinson Terry carbines
- Kimel Industries AR-9 rifle/carbine
- Leader Mark Series auto-rifle
- Maadi Griffin rifle/carbine
- McMillan M87, M87R rifles and M88 carbine
- Pauza Specialties P50 rifle and P50 carbine
- PE57 rifle
- Research Armament Industries Model 500 rifle
- SIG AMT, SG-550 rifles and SG-551 carbine
- Spectre auto-carbine
- Springfield Armory SAR-48, SAR-48 Bush/Heavy Barrel/Para/22
- Steyr AUG rifle
- Striker, Striker 12 and Streetsweeper shotguns
- Thompson submachine gun including: Model 1921, 1927, 1928, M1, Auto-Ordnance M27A-1, M27A-1 Deluxe, M1927A-3/A-5, Commando Arms MkI, MkII, MkIII, Mk9, Mk45
- Universal Enforcer Model 3000 auto-carbine and Model 3010N, 3015G, 3020TRB and 3025TCO carbines
- US Arms PMAI assault rifle
- USAS-12 auto-shotgun
- UZI, Mini-UZI and Model A carbines
- Weaver Arms Nighthawk carbine
- Pistols, revolvers and other handguns of designs commonly known as, including any variants or modified versions of them:
- AA Arms AP-9 auto-pistol and AP-9, Target AP-9 and Mini AP-9 pistols
- Bushmaster auto-pistol
- Calico M-950 auto-pistol and M-110 pistol
- Claridge Hi-Tec Models S, L, T, ZL-9 and ZT-9 pistols
- Cobray M10, M11, and RPB M10/M11/SM10/SM11 and SWD M10/M11/SM10/SM11 pistols
- CZ Skorpion auto-pistol
- Encom MK-IV, MP-9 and MP-45 assault pistols, including MP-9, MP-45 mini pistols
- Federal XP-450, XP-900 auto-pistols
- Goncz High-Tech long pistol
- Grendel P-30, P-30M, P-30L and P-31 pistols
- Heckler&Koch SP89 auto-pistol
- Ingram M10, M11 pistols
- Interdynamics KG-99 assault pistol
- Intratec Tec-9, Tec-9S, Tec-9M and Tec-9MS auto-pistols (as well as any semi-automatic variant including Tec-DC9, Tec-DC9M, Tec-9A, Tec-Scorpion, Tec-22T and Tec-22TN)
- Iver Johnson Enforcer Model 3000 auto-pistol
- Kimel Industries AP-9 pistol
- Leader Mark5 auto-pistol
- Maadi Griffin pistol
- OA-93 assault pistol
- Patriot pistol
- Partisan Avenger auto-pistol
- Spectre auto-pistol
- Sterling MK6 carbine
- Steyr SPP auto-pistol
- Sterling Mk7, Mk7 C4 and Mk7 C8 pistols
- US Arms PMAIP assault pistol
- UZI, Micro-UZI pistols
- XM231S pistol and A1, A2, A3 Flattop pistols
 Transportation of firearms
The transportation regulations are broken down into two divisions, those for non-restricted firearms and those for restricted or prohibited firearms. These rules are laid out in the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations. A non restricted firearm may be transported so long as it is unloaded.Such a firearm does not need to be encased or trigger locked.
A restricted firearm must be disabled by use of a trigger, cable, or other locking device and locked in an opaque case. An unattended non-restricted firearm left a vehicle must be locked in the trunk or other compartment, if one if available. In order to transport restricted or prohibited firearms an individual must obtain an Authorization to Transport. An ATT is mainly only approved for individuals to transport a restricted or prohibited firearm to a shooting range for target practice, gun show for sale, or to a gunsmith or gun shop.
An Authorization to Carry (ATC) allows a person to carry a restricted firearm or prohibited handgun concealed (or unconcealed) and loaded. An ATC is rarely issued and it is usually given out to security professionals such as close protection officers, judges, and those who transport money. However, there are individuals in Canada who possess such a permit. An ATC or an ATT is also not required for the carry of non-restricted, restricted, or prohibited firearms on the private property owned by the license holder.
 See also
- So much for the "registration won't lead to confiscation" lie.
- Briefing Paper On Reclassification of Firearms and Related Issues, National Firearms Association. April 2, 2010.
- Lucas Timmons, "RCMP gun confiscations prompt legal fight". CBC News, May 17, 2010.
- Canadian Firearms Safety Course - RCMP website.
- Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course - RCMP again.
- "Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted" Laws.justice.gc.ca
- "Regulations Prescribing Exclusions from Certain Definitions of the Criminal Code (International Sporting Competition Handguns)" Laws.justice.gc.ca
- Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations