CANADA FIREARMS LEGISLATION
Firearms Act and Regulations apply to any person (including visitors to Canada) and any businesses that own, want to get, or use firearms.
All gun owners must have applied for a either a possession-only licence or a possession and acquisition licence by 2001 in order to possess or to acquire a firearm. As of January 1, 2001, only the possession and acquisition licence is available. (NOTE – Those who applied for a licence but who have not yet received one were granted a grace period until June 30, 2001.)
Before a licence is issued, safety checks on applicants will be done. The new system automates this process to accelerate decision-making. This is achieved by linking police databases with the new firearm registry system.
In the case of new applicants who wish to acquire firearms, spouses and common-law partners with whom a new applicant has lived within the last two years will be notified.
New applicants who wish to acquire firearms must take or challenge and pass the Canadian Firearms Safety test. Those who applied for the possession-only licence (no acquisition privilege) did not have to take a course or pass a test.
All firearms must be registered by January 1, 2003. In order to register a firearm, the applicant must first have a licence (or valid Firearms Acquisition Certificate). New firearms will be registered when they are made or at point of sale.
A firearm is only registered once. Registration is valid for as long as an individual owns the firearm unless they modify the firearm and change its class.
Previously registered restricted firearms, such as handguns, and prohibited firearms, such as fully automatic firearms, have to be re-registered. There is NO FEE for this re-registration. An amnesty is in effect until June 30, 2001, to allow individuals who own unregistered, restricted firearms to either register or dispose of their firearms.
Visitors bringing firearms into Canada have to declare their firearms in writing as at January 1, 2001. The declaration will be confirmed by a Customs officer. The confirmed declaration will serve as a temporary licence and registration certificate for up to 60 days.
Safe storage regulations require that all firearms be stored unloaded and be made inoperable, usually through a locking device.
Mandatory minimum sentences of four years for violent crimes committed with a firearm are in force.
All handguns with a barrel shorter than 105 millimeters are prohibited; so are all .32 and .25 caliber handguns, all fully automatic machine guns, any firearm with a sawed-off barrel and some military rifle models, such as AK 47 and their variants.
The fees for the possession and acquisition licence are $60 for non-restricted firearms and $80 for restricted and prohibited firearms. Licences have to be renewed every five years. Holders of the possession-only licence are able to renew them as possession-only licences every five years.
The registration fee is currently free until Jan 1, 2003, at which time a fee of $25 per individual gun will be in force. The registration of a firearm is valid for as long as an individual remains the owner of the firearm and need not be repeated.
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