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Firearms import and export laws

Region: Ontario Answer # 7812

Canada has many laws, regulations and procedures regarding the import and export of firearms. Violating these laws can have serious legal implications. If you have been charged with a firearms or weapons related crime, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible.

What are import laws?

Importing firearms into Canada is regulated by the Firearms Act and its associated regulations. Firearm imports are controlled by the Canada Border Services Agency.

Other Canadian laws are:

You must also follow the laws of the country where the firearm is coming from and any other country the firearm will pass through.

Before importing a firearm, it is crucial to obtain the necessary authorizations and licences. You must have a valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) or a Business Firearms Licence (BFL). It is also essential to determine if the firearm is classified as restricted, prohibited, or non-restricted, as different rules apply to each category.

Restricted firearms require additional permits. The importer must apply for an Authorization to Transport (ATT) from the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) to transport restricted firearms to the intended destination. Failure to obtain the necessary permits can result in severe penalties.

As of August 19, 2022, all individuals and businesses importing a restricted handgun into Canada require an import permit issued by Global Affairs Canada.

Prohibited firearms, including fully automatic firearms and certain firearms with a barrel length less than 105 mm, are generally not allowed to be imported into Canada. There are very limited exceptions for specific purposes, such as historical exhibits or movie productions.

Non-restricted firearms, such as most long guns, can be imported without additional permits. However, you must still have a valid PAL or BFL to import them. It is also important to note that certain models or variants of non-restricted firearms may be prohibited or restricted under the Firearms Act.

When importing firearms, you must also comply with the Customs Act and its regulations. This includes completing the necessary customs documentation and paying any applicable duties and taxes. Firearms must be declared to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) upon entry into Canada.

What are the export regulations?

Exporting firearms from Canada also requires compliance with the Firearms Act and its regulations. Before exporting a firearm, you must obtain the necessary authorizations and licences. This includes having a valid PAL or BFL and determining the classification of the firearm.

Restricted firearms can only be exported under specific circumstances, such as for a competition or for repair or alteration. In these cases, you must obtain an Export Authorization from the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO). It is important to note that some countries may have their own import regulations and restrictions on firearms, so it is crucial to research and comply with their requirements as well.

Prohibited firearms cannot be exported from Canada, except in limited circumstances for specific purposes, such as historical exhibits or movie productions. Special permits and authorizations are required in these cases.

Non-restricted firearms can generally be exported without additional permits. However, it is important to comply with the customs regulations of the destination country and to declare the firearms to the CBSA for export.

What documents are required when importing or exporting firearms?

Importing or exporting firearms into or from Canada requires specific paperwork and compliance with the country’s regulations. This includes:

  • Registration and Licences
  • Import or Export Permits
  • International Import/Export Documentation
    • Customs Declaration
    • Bill of Lading
    • Export/Import Declaration
  • Transshipment Authorization:
    • If firearms are being transshipped through Canada to another country, a transshipment authorization may be required. This authorization allows the firearms to pass through Canada without being imported or exported.
  • Proof of Origin:
    • In some cases, proof of origin may be required to ensure that the firearms being imported or exported were legally obtained. This can include purchase receipts, bills of sale, or import/export documents from the country of origin.
  • Certificate of Origin:
    • Some countries may require a certificate of origin for imported firearms, certifying that the firearms were manufactured or originated from a specific country.

It is important to note that the specific paperwork and requirements may vary depending on the type of firearms, the destination country, and other factors. It is recommended to consult with the RCMP’s Canadian Firearms Program or seek legal advice to ensure compliance with all necessary regulations and paperwork for importing or exporting firearms into or from Canada. Refer to the RCMP for more information.

Fees and taxes

Importing or exporting firearms into or from Canada involves certain fees and taxes, such as:

  • Import or export permit fees
  • Customs brokerage fees
  • Duties and taxes
  • Excise tax
  • Provincial fees

Restrictions on the transportation of firearms

There are regulations for the transportation of firearms into or out of Canada. These regulations are enforced by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Along with obtaining a valid PAL and having the appropriate permits, individuals must also:

  • declare their firearms to the CBSA when entering Canada
  • when transporting firearms within Canada, comply with the regulations set forth by the RCMP. For example, firearms must be stored and transported in a secure manner, such as in a locked case or with a trigger lock.
  • when leaving Canada, ensure that they comply with the regulations of their destination country regarding the importation of firearms. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalties or legal consequences.

The transportation of firearms across international borders may require additional permits or licences. These requirements may vary depending on the type of firearm and the country of destination.

Potential penalties for violating import or export regulations

Violating import or export regulations for firearms can lead to severe penalties that vary depending on the nature and severity of the offence. For example:

  • Non-compliance with import or export permits: If an individual or organization fails to obtain the required import or export permits for firearms, they may face penalties under the Customs Act, the Criminal Code, or the Export and Import Permits Act. The penalties can include fines, imprisonment, or both, and are determined on a case-by-case basis. It is essential to obtain the necessary permits to avoid legal repercussions.
  • Smuggling firearms: This is a serious offence that can result in severe penalties, including significant fines and imprisonment. The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code, and the Firearms Act are some of the laws that govern smuggling offences. The penalties may vary based on the type and quantity of the firearms involved, the intent of the smuggling, and the criminal history of the offender.
  • Possession of prohibited firearms: Without the proper authorization the possession of prohibited firearms is strictly prohibited in Canada. Violations can lead to criminal charges under the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act. The penalties for possession of prohibited firearms can include fines, imprisonment, and the seizure of the firearms. The severity of the penalties may depend on factors such as the type of prohibited firearm, the intent of possession, and the criminal history of the offender.
  • Trafficking firearms: This involves the sale, transfer, or distribution of firearms without proper authorization, and it is a serious offence in Canada. The penalties for trafficking firearms can include significant fines and imprisonment. The Criminal Code and the Firearms Act outline the laws and penalties associated with firearms trafficking. The severity of the penalties may be influenced by factors such as the quantity and type of firearms being trafficked, the intent of the trafficking, and the criminal history of the offender.

Violating import/export regulations for firearms in Canada regulations can lead to severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. Obtaining expert legal advice can be crucial for further information and guidance on import/export regulations and penalties for firearms offences in Canada.

Get help

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If you have been charged with a crime, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. Contact our preferred criminal defence expert, Calvin Barry Criminal Lawyers for a free consultation at 416-938-5858 .


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