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Firearms Act (S.C. 1995, c. 39)

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Act current to 2021-11-17 and last amended on 2021-07-07. Previous Versions

Firearms Act

S.C. 1995, c. 39

Assented to 1995-12-05

An Act respecting firearms and other weapons

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Firearms Act.

Interpretation

Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) In this Act,

    authorization to carry

    authorization to carry means an authorization described in section 20; (autorisation de port)

    authorization to export

    authorization to export means an authorization referred to in section 44 and includes a permit to export goods that is issued under the Export and Import Permits Act and that is deemed by regulations made under paragraph 117(a.1) to be an authorization to export; (autorisation d’exportation)

    authorization to import

    authorization to import means an authorization referred to in section 46; (autorisation d’importation)

    authorization to transport

    authorization to transport means an authorization described in section 19; (autorisation de transport)

    business

    business means a person who carries on a business that includes

    • (a) the manufacture, assembly, possession, purchase, sale, importation, exportation, display, repair, restoration, maintenance, storage, alteration, pawnbroking, transportation, shipping, distribution or delivery of firearms, prohibited weapons, restricted weapons, prohibited devices or prohibited ammunition,

    • (b) the possession, purchase or sale of ammunition, or

    • (c) the purchase of cross-bows

    and includes a museum; (entreprise)

    carrier

    carrier means a person who carries on a transportation business that includes the transportation of firearms, prohibited weapons, restricted weapons, prohibited devices or prohibited ammunition; (transporteur)

    chief firearms officer

    chief firearms officer means

    • (a) in respect of a province, the individual who is designated in writing as the chief firearms officer for the province by the provincial minister of that province,

    • (b) in respect of a territory, the individual who is designated in writing as the chief firearms officer for the territory by the federal Minister, or

    • (c) in respect of any matter for which there is no chief firearms officer under paragraph (a) or (b), the individual who is designated in writing as the chief firearms officer for the matter by the federal Minister; (contrôleur des armes à feu)

    commencement day

    commencement day, in respect of a provision of this Act or the expression “former Act” in a provision of this Act, means the day on which the provision comes into force; (date de référence)

    Commissioner

    Commissioner means the Commissioner of Firearms appointed under section 81.1; (commissaire)

    common-law partner

    common-law partner, in relation to an individual, means a person who is cohabiting with the individual in a conjugal relationship, having so cohabited for a period of at least one year; (conjoint de fait)

    customs office

    customs office has the meaning assigned by subsection 2(1) of the Customs Act; (bureau de douane)

    customs officer

    customs officer has the meaning assigned to the word “officer” by subsection 2(1) of the Customs Act; (agent des douanes)

    federal Minister

    federal Minister means the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; (ministre fédéral)

    firearms officer

    firearms officer means

    • (a) in respect of a province, an individual who is designated in writing as a firearms officer for the province by the provincial minister of that province,

    • (b) in respect of a territory, an individual who is designated in writing as a firearms officer for the territory by the federal Minister, or

    • (c) in respect of any matter for which there is no firearms officer under paragraph (a) or (b), an individual who is designated in writing as a firearms officer for the matter by the federal Minister; (préposé aux armes à feu)

    former Act

    former Act means Part III of the Criminal Code, as it read from time to time before the commencement day; (loi antérieure)

    museum

    museum means a person who operates a museum

    • (a) in which firearms, prohibited weapons, restricted weapons, prohibited devices or prohibited ammunition are possessed, bought, displayed, repaired, restored, maintained, stored or altered, or

    • (b) in which ammunition is possessed or bought; (musée)

    non-resident

    non-resident means an individual who ordinarily resides outside Canada;  (non-résident)

    prescribed

    prescribed means

    • (a) in the case of a form or the information to be included on a form, prescribed by the federal Minister, and

    • (b) in any other case, prescribed by the regulations; (réglementaire)

    provincial minister

    provincial minister means

    • (a) in respect of a province, the member of the executive council of the province who is designated by the lieutenant governor in council of the province as the provincial minister,

    • (b) in respect of a territory, the federal Minister, or

    • (c) in respect of any matter for which there is no provincial minister under paragraph (a) or (b), the federal Minister; (ministre provincial)

    regulations

    regulations means regulations made by the Governor in Council under section 117. (règlements)

  • Marginal note:To be interpreted with Criminal Code

    (2) Unless otherwise provided, words and expressions used in this Act have the meanings assigned to them by section 2 or 84 of the Criminal Code. Subsections 117.15(3) and (4) of that Act apply to those words and expressions.

  • Marginal note:Deemed references to Registrar

    (2.1) Sections 5, 9, 54 to 58, 67, 68 and 70 to 72 apply in respect of a carrier as if each reference in those sections to a chief firearms officer were a reference to the Registrar and for the purposes of applying section 6 in respect of a carrier, paragraph 113(3)(b) of the Criminal Code applies as if the reference in that section to a chief firearms officer were a reference to the Registrar.

  • Marginal note:Aboriginal and treaty rights

    (3) For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any existing aboriginal or treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

  • 1995, c. 39, s. 2
  • 2000, c. 12, s. 116
  • 2001, c. 4, s. 85
  • 2003, c. 8, s. 9
  • 2005, c. 10, s. 29
  • 2015, c. 27, s. 2

Her Majesty

Marginal note:Binding on Her Majesty

  •  (1) This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.

  • Marginal note:Canadian Forces

    (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), this Act does not apply in respect of the Canadian Forces.

Purpose

Marginal note:Purpose

 The purpose of this Act is

  • (a) to provide, notably by sections 5 to 16 and 54 to 73, for the issuance of

    • (i) licences for firearms and authorizations and registration certificates for prohibited firearms or restricted firearms, under which persons may possess firearms in circumstances that would otherwise constitute an offence under subsection 91(1), 92(1), 93(1) or 95(1) of the Criminal Code,

    • (ii) licences and authorizations under which persons may possess prohibited weapons, restricted weapons, prohibited devices and prohibited ammunition in circumstances that would otherwise constitute an offence under subsection 91(2), 92(2) or 93(1) of the Criminal Code, and

    • (iii) licences under which persons may sell, barter or give cross-bows in circumstances that would otherwise constitute an offence under subsection 97(1) of the Criminal Code;

  • (b) to authorize,

    • (i) notably by sections 5 to 12 and 54 to 73, the manufacture of or offer to manufacture, and

    • (ii) notably by sections 21 to 34 and 54 to 73, the transfer of or offer to transfer,

    firearms, prohibited weapons, restricted weapons, prohibited devices, ammunition and prohibited ammunition in circumstances that would otherwise constitute an offence under subsection 99(1), 100(1) or 101(1) of the Criminal Code; and

  • (c) to authorize, notably by sections 35 to 73, the importation or exportation of firearms, prohibited weapons, restricted weapons, prohibited devices, ammunition, prohibited ammunition and components and parts designed exclusively for use in the manufacture of or assembly into automatic firearms in circumstances that would otherwise constitute an offence under subsection 103(1) or 104(1) of the Criminal Code.

  • 1995, c. 39, s. 4
  • 2012, c. 6, s. 9

Authorized Possession

Eligibility to Hold Licences

General Rules

Marginal note:Public safety

  •  (1) A person is not eligible to hold a licence if it is desirable, in the interests of the safety of that or any other person, that the person not possess a firearm, a cross-bow, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, ammunition or prohibited ammunition.

  • Marginal note:Criteria

    (2) In determining whether a person is eligible to hold a licence under subsection (1), a chief firearms officer or, on a reference under section 74, a provincial court judge shall have regard to whether the person

    • (a) has been convicted or discharged under section 730 of the Criminal Code of

      • (i) an offence in the commission of which violence against another person was used, threatened or attempted,

      • (ii) an offence under this Act or Part III of the Criminal Code,

      • (iii) an offence under section 264 of the Criminal Code (criminal harassment),

      • (iv) an offence relating to the contravention of subsection 5(1) or (2), 6(1) or (2) or 7(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or

      • (v) an offence relating to the contravention of subsection 9(1) or (2), 10(1) or (2), 11(1) or (2), 12(1), (4), (5), (6) or (7), 13(1) or 14(1) of the Cannabis Act;

    • (b) has been treated for a mental illness, whether in a hospital, mental institute, psychiatric clinic or otherwise and whether or not the person was confined to such a hospital, institute or clinic, that was associated with violence or threatened or attempted violence on the part of the person against any person;

    • (c) has a history of behaviour that includes violence or threatened or attempted violence or threatening conduct on the part of the person against any person;

    • (d) is or was previously prohibited by an order — made in the interests of the safety and security of any person — from communicating with an identified person or from being at a specified place or within a specified distance of that place, and presently poses a threat or risk to the safety and security of any person;

    • (e) in respect of an offence in the commission of which violence was used, threatened or attempted against the person’s intimate partner or former intimate partner, was previously prohibited by a prohibition order from possessing any firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device or prohibited ammunition; or

    • (f) for any other reason, poses a risk of harm to any person.

  • Marginal note:For greater certainty

    (2.1) For greater certainty, for the purposes of paragraph (2)(c), threatened violence and threatening conduct include threats or conduct communicated by the person to a person by means of the Internet or other digital network.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (3) Despite subsection (2), in determining whether a non-resident who is 18 years old or older and by or on behalf of whom an application is made for a 60-day licence authorizing the non-resident to possess non-restricted firearms is eligible to hold a licence under subsection (1), a chief firearms officer or, on a reference under section 74, a provincial court judge may but need not have regard to the criteria described in subsection (2).

  • 1995, c. 39, ss. 5, 137
  • 1996, c. 19, s. 76.1
  • 2003, c. 8, s. 10
  • 2015, c. 27, s. 3
  • 2018, c. 16, s. 182
  • 2019, c. 9, s. 2

Marginal note:Court orders

  •  (1) A person is eligible to hold a licence only if the person is not prohibited by a prohibition order from possessing any firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device or prohibited ammunition.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (2) Subsection (1) is subject to any order made under section 113 of the Criminal Code (lifting of prohibition order for sustenance or employment).

Marginal note:Successful completion of safety course

  •  (1) An individual is eligible to hold a licence only if the individual

    • (a) successfully completes the Canadian Firearms Safety Course, as given by an instructor who is designated by a chief firearms officer, and passes the tests, as administered by an instructor who is designated by a chief firearms officer, that form part of that Course;

    • (b) passed, before the commencement day, the tests, as administered by an instructor who is designated by a chief firearms officer, that form part of that Course;

    • (c) successfully completed, before January 1, 1995, a course that the attorney general of the province in which the course was given had, during the period beginning on January 1, 1993 and ending on December 31, 1994, approved for the purposes of section 106 of the former Act;

    • (d) passed, before January 1, 1995, a test that the attorney general of the province in which the test was administered had, during the period beginning on January 1, 1993 and ending on December 31, 1994, approved for the purposes of section 106 of the former Act; or

    • (e) on the commencement day, was an individual referred to in paragraph 7(4)(c) as it read immediately before that day and held a licence.

  • Marginal note:Restricted firearms safety course

    (2) An individual is eligible to hold a licence authorizing the individual to possess prohibited firearms or restricted firearms only if the individual

    • (a) successfully completes a restricted firearms safety course that is approved by the federal Minister, as given by an instructor who is designated by a chief firearms officer, and passes any tests, as administered by an instructor who is designated by a chief firearms officer, that form part of that course;

    • (b) passed, before the commencement day, a restricted firearms safety test, as administered by an instructor who is designated by a chief firearms officer, that is approved by the federal Minister; or

    • (c) on the commencement day, was an individual referred to in paragraph 7(4)(c) as it read immediately before that day and held a licence authorizing the individual to possess prohibited firearms or restricted firearms.

  • Marginal note:After expiration of prohibition order

    (3) An individual against whom a prohibition order was made

    • (a) is eligible to hold a licence only if the individual has, after the expiration of the prohibition order,

      • (i) successfully completed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course, as given by an instructor who is designated by a chief firearms officer, and

      • (ii) passed the tests, as administered by an instructor who is designated by a chief firearms officer, that form part of that Course; and

    • (b) is eligible to hold a licence authorizing the individual to possess restricted firearms only if the individual has, after the expiration of the prohibition order,

      • (i) successfully completed a restricted firearms safety course that is approved by the federal Minister, as given by an instructor who is designated by a chief firearms officer, and

      • (ii) passed any tests, as administered by an instructor who is designated by a chief firearms officer, that form part of that course.

  • Marginal note:Exceptions

    (4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to an individual who

    • (a) in the prescribed circumstances, has been certified by a chief firearms officer as meeting the prescribed criteria relating to the safe handling and use of firearms and the laws relating to firearms;

    • (b) is less than eighteen years old and requires a firearm to hunt or trap in order to sustain himself or herself or his or her family;

    • (c) [Repealed, 2015, c. 27, s. 4]

    • (d) requires a licence merely to acquire cross-bows; or

    • (e) is a non-resident who is 18 years old or older and by or on behalf of whom an application is made for a 60-day licence authorizing the non-resident to possess non-restricted firearms.

  • Marginal note:Further exception

    (5) Subsection (3) does not apply to an individual in respect of whom an order is made under section 113 of the Criminal Code (lifting of prohibition order for sustenance or employment) and who is exempted by a chief firearms officer from the application of that subsection.

  • 1995, c. 39, s. 7
  • 2003, c. 8, s. 11
  • 2015, c. 27, s. 4
 
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