Buying a handgun in Canada
I've never shot anything more than a BB gun (and a weak one at that) but I've always wanted to own a legit firearm and learn to shoot. Since now I'm a bona fide adult then why the hell not. From what I've read I should start with a .22 but I don't want to concern myself with that just now.
I have really crappy depth perception so I thought learning to shoot could help me develop some tricks to estimate distance. Oh, what the hell, and it looks damn fun too.
Just reading what they require to own a handgun, much less actually shoot it baffles me. I just wanted to know how bureaucratically (and financially) painful buying it, registering it, registering yourself, registering your travels with your gun then registering yourself in a shooting club from a fellow Canadian who's bought a handgun before.
I have zero experience with firearms and I have no intention of joining law enforcement, the military or even hunting in the future. I'm more interested into improving my manual dexterity and learning cool things while blowing off some steam. So for a hobbyist looking to keep it as a hobby I was just wondering if it was even worth it.
I will ask my friend in Montreal who used to own a pistol and get back to you as soon as I can. I have interpreted everything I've read about Canadian gun laws from the perspective of moving to Montreal with a gun I already own, so I can't help you myself.
OK, from the moment you decide you want one, to the moment you get to actually shoot it, takes about a year. Quebec is the absolute worst province for firearm regulations BTW.
You need to contact a certified instructor and book your PAL (Possession and Acquisition License) and RPAL (Restricted PAL) courses and tests. Then you wait, assuming you pass, for your PAL/RPAL to come in the mail. Then you scout out what firearm you want and what club you wish to join; the club must be authorized for discharge of restricted firearms (handguns). You go to your vendor and have him sell you the piece, which he then registers to you BUT you still cannot take it home. You call the Chief Firearms Officer for your province and request an ATT (Authorization To Transport) from the store to your house. Then, your club applies on your behalf for another ATT so you can take it to the range.
Before joining a club or buying a gun, have someone take you out and try different clubs/firearms.
Yes, owning firearms in Canada can be complex, but it is well worth bureaucratic BS.
Last edited by vashanka; 8/11/2011 11:19am at .
Reason: explained acronyms
Quebec is the absolute worst province for everything dealing in small or large part with the government lol. I'm well used to having to deal with endless red tape.
Originally Posted by vashanka
You said I needed to "pass". Pass what? A background check? Would the fact that I am a high-functioning autistic person and meet a psychiatrist for therapy (the condition doesn't make me any more nuttier or violent, but still) impair my chances of getting a license?
How does it work if I want my firearm shipped from a store in Canada? I live in a small suburb and there aren't any gun shops around here so I would have to have it mailed to me.
There is an exam after the PAL course, and one after the RPAL course. 50 multiple choice questions, and a firearm handling drill (no ammo, no shooting). You need to pass the exam. The official result score sheet is appended to the license application, along with 2 photographs, and off it all goes to the memory hole that is the CFC. (Canadian Firearms Center).
They ask all sorts of nosy questions, but the ones you need to worry about are:
· criminal charges, convictions, drug trafficking or firearm offences.
· Restraining orders, peace bonds or protection orders.
· You or anyone in your household being barred from possessing a firearm
· Attempted suicide, depression, substance abuse, behavioral or emotional problems
· Contact with social services for violence, threatened violence, or conflict in your home
· Recent divorce, separation, loss of employment or bankruptcy
They also ask if you are married, or live in a conjugal relationship, in which case your significant other needs to sign off on the form. You will need 2 personal references. The fee is non-refundable ($60 or 80, don’t remember exactly).
Unless you are native, in which case the form is different, very different.
Thanks for reminding me to do my next step in the process. It takes so long I forgot.
I did the gun safety course, then I did the safe hunting course, now I can apply for ownership and possession. Have no idea about a handgun.
Quebec is the way it is, first and foremost because Napoleon and his Civil Code, and secondly for Ecol Poly, and Dawson happened here.
Thank God I have nothing of that nature on my record. The only time I went into a police car I was 5 years old and I got lost wandering around, and they let me try the gyro.
Originally Posted by vashanka
I hope it's as you say and my need for therapy (nothing to do with depression or any mental condition that could make me a danger to myself or society though) won't bar me from a handgun license.
My friend was at Dawson when it happened, very close to the actual shooting. In fact, it came down to “if I hadn't stopped to talk to that girl...”
Originally Posted by KO'd N DOA
Ever since, he's been the sort of “right to carry” advocate I never would've thought existed in Canada. For a while he was seriously considering moving to the US just for the ability to carry a concealed handgun. He has cooled on the subject a bit as he's coped, but I've got to say the case of the police raid in Laval didn't instill any confidence in either of us. A man successfully defends himself and his family using a firearm, so he's charged with unlawful storage of a firearm. That case alone is probably enough for me to sell my gun stateside before I move to Canada. Better to take my chances with an item the storage of which isn't prescribed by law.
Unlawful storage is a catch-all charge used by police whenever firearms are present. I know of one case where someone had his house broken into, his gun safe (a heavy duty one, at that) forced open, and he was charged with unsafe storage.
Charges dismissed, but it cost a bundle in legal fees.
I know a kid that was at Dawson, it was weird seeing him on the footage running with the Police out of the building on TV. He got on with life, but saw things that he doesn't like to talk about that often.
Regarding Laval Cops (non swat) coming to my city Longueuil/Brossard for Basil...that was utter stupidity. They had no business doing that.
City people seem to over react in Canada over guns in the house.
When my grandfather had a heart attack, the Paramedics came saw his gun rack, called the police. Even though my cousin is RCMP, he was not able to get all of them released.