Laws related to firearms are different in Canada than in the United States which is important to anyone that’s crossing the border from the US. In Canada, there is no constitutional right to keep and bear arms. However, this does not mean that private ownership or importation of firearms is prohibited outright. Visitors to Canada may bring certain types of firearms into the country, borrow firearms after arriving as well as purchase a gun if they hold the appropriate type of permit. It is, however, very important that visitors to Canada be aware of current regulations and comply with them.
Bringing Firearms While on a Visit to Canada
The procedure to follow depends on what type of gun you are bringing with you. The majority of shotguns or rifles are classified as non-restricted firearms in Canada, which makes their temporary importation quite straightforward.
Handguns, as well as some types of rifles, such as the AR15, are classified as restricted. While bringing them into the country is not forbidden, the procedure to follow is slightly more time consuming.
Some types of firearms are prohibited in Canada and as such they cannot be legally brought in across the border. Prohibited firearms include weapons that are fully automatic, were converted to automatic, assault-type weapons, as well as handguns that have a barrel length shorter than 4 inches. Take note that certain guns which may be legally purchased by civilians in the United States, such as semi-automatic AK-47 patterned rifles, or semi-automatic versions of the Heckler & Koch MP5, are classified as prohibited weapons.
If you are bringing a non-restricted firearm with you into Canada, you must declare it at the point of entry and fill out a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration (RCMP form 5589.) This declaration will serve as a permit to possess a firearm inside the country and is valid for 60 days.
If you wish to bring a restricted firearm, you will need to contact the Chief Firearms Officer for the province you are planning to visit in order to obtain an Authorization to Transport.
Borrowing or Purchasing Firearms in Canada
Non-residents who wish to borrow firearms in Canada, usually to take part in an organized shooting competition or a hunting event, may request a Temporary Firearms Borrowing License for Non-Residents (RCMP form 5513.)
Purchasing a Firearm in Canada
If you wish to buy a firearm in Canada, you will need to obtain a Possession and Acquisition license, or PAL.
Additional Gun Regulations
All guns must be brought in unloaded and be stored securely. You may want to consider investing in a firearms safe, like one featured here.
When not in use, firearms must be stored in a way that would prevent their theft or misuse. This website has reviews of various types of gun safes that you can use while traveling.
Take note that unlike in the United States, carrying a concealed firearm is strictly prohibited while you are in Canada, unless you were issued a special permit called an Authorization to Carry (ATC,) which is almost impossible to obtain for Canadians, let alone foreign visitors.