Questions About Applying for a Firearms License in Canada
STOP! The content on this page is written assuming that you've read the overview (home) page of this website first!
How much does it cost to apply for a firearms license?
The application fee is (at the time of writing) is only $60. Or if you are applying to own Restricted Firearms such as most handguns it's $80. However those are not the only costs associated with becoming licensed.
You must also take the CFSC (and CRFSC if you want handguns). There's significant variance in the pricing of the courses. In some provinces the price is fixed, in others instructors set their own prices. The class generally runs about $50–225. Which is quite a wide range. So be sure to shop around before you sign up. My wife only paid $20 for hers.
This table should give you a rough idea of what it will cost:
|Expense||Low End||High End|
|One day CFSC class||$50||$225|
|Optional CRFSC class for restricted firearms||$0||$225|
|Licence application fee||$60||$80|
In addition to this, about every five years you'll have to renew your license. The cost to do so is the same as the original application fee. Like the application fee it may be waived for people who require firearms to sustain themselves or their family.
Can they waive the fee?
Yes, but it's rare. If you need a firearms to hunt or trap in order to sustain yourself or your family you may be granted a waiver by your provincial Chief Firearms Officer.
To request an exemption from the fee you must check off the box in Section J of the Application Form that states "Check this box if you hunt or trap to sustain yourself or your family". The CFO may contact you for additional information. Requesting an exemption will delay your application.
Where can I get the PAL application form?
Your instructor will usually give you one, but I recommend you print off the latest version from the RCMP CFP website in case the form changes between when you take the class and go to fill out the form.
At the time of writing it's called a "CAFC 921E / RCMP 5592" form, but you should check and be sure you're downloading the correct form on that page to apply for a new individual license.
I recommend you print off a couple of copies. You'll want to make sure you send in one that's really neatly filled out so that messy writing doesn't delay or block your license.
Do I need to be a citizen or resident of Canada?
No, however there may be additional challenges for you which may prove difficult to meet depending on your circumstances — particularity regarding having certain people sign your application.
The challenge of references
You will need 2 references to sign your application form. A reference is someone who is 18 years old or older, who has known you for at least 3 years. However they can not be your current conjugal partner.
This can be difficult if you are not near such people. You may have to mail your application form to them so that they can sign it, and then have them mail it back to you. This can be time consuming. There is space to provide international contact information on the form.
The challenge of a photo guarantor
You will need to supply a photograph of yourself with your application that has been signed by a "guarantor" who will also have to sign your application form.
A guarantor is someone who has known you for at least 1 year and can vouch for the fact that the photo is of you.
This poses the same problem as the references, but because of the reduced timeline it's less of an issue. Your guarantor can be one of your references, or a conjugal partner.
The challenge of former conjugal partners
The application form requires information about current and former conjugal partners for the last 2 years. Conjugal partners are present and past spouses, common law partners, or persons you have cohabited with in a conjugal relationship for a period of 1 year or more.
The form requests that the indicated people sign the form. However if that is not possible the CFO has a duty to notify them of your application.
The challenge of a letter of good conduct
If you are not a resident of Canada, or you have been a resident for less than 5 years you must obtain a letter of good conduct from the local or state police of your previous country of residence (or current country if you're not a resident of Canada).
The letter must be written in English or French and must be on the police department's official letterhead paper. This can be rather difficult as some jurisdictions legally prohibit government officials from producing documents in any language other than an official language. You will want to contact the relevant police department and investigate this before you begin the process.
The challenge of taking the safety course
If you are not currently present in Canada it will be difficult to take the safety course, or courses. The course must be completed in person. It may be possible to find an instructor and have them travel to you in order to complete the course outside of Canada.
The challenge of language
The courses are offered in English or French, but you should be permitted to bring an interpreter with you.
How old do I have to be to apply for a firearms license?
You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a Possession and Acquisition License.
There is a minor's possession license which can be issued to younger people, but this is quite rare. It does not permit you to purchase or own a firearm! It is for young people who wish to borrow firearms in order to use them without direct and immediate supervision. For example to hunt to support their family, to compete in target shooting.
Legally, the minor's license also allows minors to purchase ammunition. However in practical terms it is nearly impossible to find a retailer willing to sell ammunition to a minor.
The above answer is incomplete. For further information it is recommended you contact the RCMP CFP by calling +1 (800) 731-4000 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm)
What is a guarantor?
A guarantor is someone who is at least 18 years old who has known you for at least 1 year and can guarantee the photo is of you. The photo you submit with your application, and the application form must be signed by a guarantor. One of your references or a conjugal partner may be your guarantor.
Who can be my references?
A reference is someone who is at least 18 years old and who has known you for at least 3 years, but who isn't your current conjugal partner. You must have 2 references sign your application form
Can I take my own photo?
Yes you can. In fact the instructions on the application form give the specifications of the photo you must provide. Please be aware those specifications are not the same as the specifications for the photos used for Canadian passports.
Do I have to submit a photograph?
Generally speaking you must. If your religion prohibits photographing members you are not required to.
However, you must include with your application a signed declaration stating that you may not be photographed because of your religious beliefs. You must also include a declaration which is signed by someone of your faith authorized by your province to solemnize weddings which states that your shared religion's beliefs prohibit you from being photographed and that you are an adherent of those religious beliefs. The Justice Laws website has more information on this.