Please check your guns at the door

With an estimated 310 million “reported” firearms in the US chances are your cross border transferee is packing more than dishes. There are some very serious rules and regulations about importing weapons into Canada. Failure to follow the regulations can lead to confiscated items, fines and even jail time. SO listen and listen good, pilgrim.

Firearms Classification

All firearms are classified as non-restricted, restricted or prohibited. If you are a visitor to Canada, you cannot import prohibited firearms under any circumstances. Canadian residents can not import newly acquired prohibited firearms under any circumstances.

Non-restricted firearms include:

  • semi-automatic rifles and shotguns with barrels that are at least 470 mm (18.5 inches) long, and do not otherwise fall into a restricted or prohibited category; and
  • single-shot or manual repeating rifles and shotguns of any length, as long as they are not designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm (26 inches) by folding, telescoping or other means.


Restricted firearms include:

  • most handguns;
  • semi-automatic rifles and shotguns that are capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition, have barrels between 105 mm (4.14 inches) and 470 mm (18.5 inches) long, and are not otherwise prohibited;
  • firearms designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm (26 inches) by folding, telescoping or other means; and
  • firearms restricted by regulations.


Prohibited firearms include:

  • handguns with barrels less than or equal to 105 mm (4.14 inches) long;
  • handguns designed or adapted to discharge a 25 or 32-calibre cartridge;
  • firearms adapted from rifles or shotguns by sawing, cutting or any other alteration, that, when adapted in this way, are less than 660 mm (about 26 inches) long or have a barrel that is less than 457 mm (about 18 inches) long;
  • automatic firearms, whether or not altered to fire in the manner of a semi-automatic firearm; and
  • firearms prohibited by regulations.


On the other hand, antique firearms are not considered firearms for licensing and registration purposes. Antique firearms include:

  • any firearms manufactured before 1898 that are not originally designed or redesigned to discharge rim-fire or centre-fire ammunition;
  • long guns manufactured in 1898 or later that are reproductions of flintlock, wheel-lock, or matchlock firearms; and
  • firearms that are classified as antique by regulations.


If you are a Canadian resident or a visitor to Canada, you can import firearms that are considered to be antiques under the Criminal Code. You do not need to register antique firearms, and you do not need a licence if you are the owner of antique firearms. Please note: safe storage and transportation requirements still apply.

For additional information regarding importation requirements for each class of firearm, see the section called “Firearms Import Procedures for Individuals.”

For additional information regarding firearms classification, please consult Memorandum D19-13-2, available through the “Publications and forms” link on our Web site at

Firearms specifications

Barrel length

Canadian law specifies that the barrel of a firearm must be measured to assist in determining the firearm’s classification.

Barrel length is measured as follows:

  • a revolver is measured from the muzzle of the barrel to the breech, immediately in front of the cylinder;
  • all other firearms are measured from the muzzle of the barrel up to and including the chamber, but not including the length of any part or accessory added to the barrel, including those designed or intended to suppress the muzzle flash or reduce the recoil, such as a flash suppressor (eliminator) or muzzle brake.


Muzzle velocity

Other barreled weapons, such as pellet guns, may be considered as non-restricted or restricted firearms if they meet the legal definition of a firearm and have a muzzle velocity of more than 152.4 metres (500 ft.) per second and a muzzle energy of more than 5.7 joules. Owners of such firearms have to meet all import, licence, registration and authorization requirements for non-restricted or restricted firearms.

If the muzzle velocity of a weapon is 152.4 metres (500 ft.) per second or less or if the muzzle energy is 5.7 joules or less, the weapon may still, technically, be a firearm. However, owners of such weapons do not need a firearms licence, the weapons do not have to be registered, and owners do not need an authorization to transport such a weapon for importation purposes.

Firearms Import Procedures for Individuals

When you arrive at the border, declare your firearm to the border services officer, provide any documents required (as listed below), and answer all questions truthfully. The border services officer must be satisfied that you have a valid reason for importing the firearm, and may check to ensure that you have stored your firearm properly for transportation. The border services officer will also review your documents and may verify that the firearm you have matches the one described on the documents.

If you have declared a firearm but cannot meet the import requirements, or you do not have the proper documents, the border services officer may allow you to export the firearm from Canada. At his or her discretion, the border services officer may detain the firearm, issue you a receipt and allow you a reasonable amount of time to present the correct documents to the CBSA.

If you have not been truthful, or if the officer believes that you should not bring the firearm into Canada, we can detain it.

If you did not declare the firearm, we will seize it, and you may face criminal charges.

If you need information about importing a specific firearm or weapon, contact the Border Information Service (BIS) at one of the telephone numbers listed in Appendix B.

Import regulations

Different regulations apply if you are importing firearms as a visitor or Canadian resident. However, anyone importing a firearm to Canada must be at least 18 years of age.

Note: Persons under 18 years of age cannot import firearms, but may be eligible for a Minor’s Possession Licence.

Visitors to Canada

If you are a visitor to Canada, and do not have a Canadian firearms licence and, in the case of a restricted firearm, a registration certificate, you are required to declare your firearms in writing.

Visitors must declare all their firearms in writing. This can be done by filling out Form CAFC 909 Non-Resident Firearm Declaration and paying a CAN$25 fee. Once confirmed by a border services officer, it has the same effect as a temporary licence and registration and is valid for up to 60 days.

If you are importing restricted firearms, you also need an authorization to transport (ATT). You can get an application for an ATT by calling the Canadian Firearms Program at1-800-731-4000. Normally, if you are a visitor declaring your restricted firearms in writing, you should plan to come to the CBSA office between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. in order to apply for an ATT, as you will need a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration confirmation number to apply. If you are unable to come to the office during these hours, please make arrangements in advance by calling the Chief Firearms Officer of the province you will be visiting, as listed in Appendix A.

For more information on declarations by visitors, please call the Canadian Firearms Program at 1-800-731-4000, or visit their Web site at

Visitors who hold a valid Canadian firearms licence must show it to a border services officer to import a non-restricted firearm.

Visitors who hold a valid Canadian firearms licence but do not have registration certificates for their restricted firearms must also complete Form CAFC 909, Non-Resident Firearm Declaration and pay a CAN $25 fee. Once confirmed by a border services officer, the declaration has the same effect as a temporary registration certificate for the firearms for up to 60 days.

Visitors cannot, under any circumstances, import prohibited firearms.

Visitors who want to leave firearms in Canada must pay duties and taxes. If the firearm is sold or otherwise transferred to a Canadian resident, the parties must meet all the legal requirements associated with transferring firearms.

See the link below for more information

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