What you need to know about the Government of Canada’s May 1, 2020 prohibition on certain firearms and devices
The Government of Canada has extended the Amnesty Order to October 30, 2025 in order to allow further time for individuals to come into compliance with the law, and has added the following amendments:
- allows the transportation of previously non-restricted firearms that are used for sustenance hunting or because of a right under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 to ensure they are in proper working order so they can be used safely (for example, adjusting, repairing);
- permits employees of the Bank of Canada to continue to possess and use these firearms in the course of their duties during the amnesty period;
- permits an owner to alternately store a firearm prohibited on May 1, 2020 with another licensed individual or business, and transport it for this purpose (for example, if they are selling their residence or it is undergoing significant renovations), and to provide protection to the individual or business that would be receiving the firearm and storing it;
- extends the amnesty's protection to individuals who, on or before May 1, 2020, legally purchased a formerly restricted firearm, even if they did not receive a registration certificate until after that date; and
- protects businesses that take possession of a firearm prohibited on May 1, 2020, for the purposes of deactivating, repairing, or adjusting it.
On this page
- Firearms and devices that were prohibited on May 1, 2020
- Extension and amendments to Amnesty Order for newly prohibited firearms that were prohibited on May 1, 2020
- How the prohibition affects owners of these firearms
- Registration certificates
- Update on 10 and 12 gauge shotgun classification under the prohibition
On May 1, 2020, the Government of Canada prohibited:
- 9 types of firearms, by make and model, and their variants; and
- firearms with a bore of 20 mm or greater, and those firearms capable of discharging a projectile with a muzzle energy greater than 10,000 Joules; and
- the upper receivers of M16, AR-10, AR-15 and M4 pattern firearms.
A list of newly prohibited firearms and devices is available online in the Canada Gazette, Part II.
Firearms and devices that were prohibited on May 1, 2020
The following 9 types of firearms and their variants have been prohibited:
- M16, AR-10, AR-15 rifles and M4 carbine
- Ruger Mini-14 rifle
- M14 rifle
- Vz58 rifle
- Robinson Armament XCR rifle
- CZ Scorpion EVO 3 carbine and pistol
- Beretta CX4 Storm carbine
- SIG Sauer SIG MCX and SIG Sauer SIG MPX carbine and pistol
- Swiss Arms Classic Green and Four Seasons series (as specified in former Bill C-71)
Also now prohibited are firearms with the following characteristics:
- capable of discharging a projectile with a muzzle energy greater than 10,000 Joules
- a bore of 20 millimetres or greater
Upper receivers of M16, AR-10, AR-15 and M4 pattern firearms are also prohibited devices, as of May 1, 2020.
See the Canada Gazette, Part II for a list of newly prohibited firearms and devices.
Extension and amendments to Amnesty Order for firearms or devices prohibited on May 1, 2020
As of May 1, 2020 an Amnesty Order has been in place to protect lawful owners of the now-prohibited firearms. The amnesty period is currently in effect and will expire on October 30, 2025. It provides owners with the time to come into compliance with the law.
The Government intends to bring forward a mandatory buyback program that offers fair compensation to affected owners and businesses. Further information on the design of the buyback program will be communicated to Canadians in due course. Until the buyback program is implemented, anyone who possesses a firearm that was prohibited on May 1, 2020 must ensure it is securely stored in accordance with the storage requirements for that classification of firearm before it was prohibited. These firearms cannot be legally used (except as specified in the amnesty) or imported, and may only be transported or transferred within Canada under certain conditions as provided under the amnesty.
The amnesty allows a lawful owner to transport a previously non-restricted firearm that is used for sustenance hunting or because of a right under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 to ensure they are in proper working order so they can be used safely (for example, adjusting or repairing).
The amnesty also allows a lawful owner to alternately store a firearm that was prohibited on May 1, 2020 with another licensed individual or business, and transport it for this purpose (for example, if they are selling their residence or it is undergoing significant renovations). It also provides protection for the individual or business that would be receiving the firearm and storing it. Owners of affected firearms who wish to commence or terminate an alternative storage arrangement must contact their respective province's Chief Firearms Officer.
Additionally, the amnesty provides protection for individuals who legally purchased a formerly restricted firearm on or before May 1, 2020, even if they did not receive a registration certificate for that firearm until after that date.
The amnesty amendments also protect businesses that take possession of firearms prohibited on May 1, 2020 in order to deactivate them on behalf of an owner, or to repair or adjust them on behalf of a person who is authorized to use the firearm during the amnesty period (that is, employees of the Bank of Canada, sustenance hunters, or persons exercising a treaty right under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982).
If you relinquish a firearm or device that was prohibited on May 1, 2020 before the implementation of the buyback program, you won't be eligible for compensation once the program is announced.
If you wish to surrender your firearm without compensation, please do not bring it to a local police detachment. Instead, call the non-emergency police line for your local detachment and you will be given instructions on how to safely surrender your firearm. In the meantime, you may not use your prohibited firearm, and you must and continue to keep it securely stored.
How this prohibition affects owners of these firearms
- Owners of firearms and devices that were prohibited on May 1, 2020 are to keep them securely stored in accordance with their previous classification. The Display, Storage, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations (the Regulations) are available on the Department of Justice website.
- Owners may not transfer these firearms to other individual owners.
- These prohibited firearms and devices may only be transported under limited circumstances. Footnote 1
- These prohibited firearms and devices cannot be legally used for hunting unless allowed through the amnesty. Footnote 2
- Newly prohibited firearms cannot be used for sport shooting, either at a range or elsewhere.
This announcement may impact your business as you may have these firearms/devices that were prohibited on May 1, 2020 in your inventory. While awaiting further details on the buyback program, every effort should be made to return the inventory back to the manufacturer. Please note:
- These firearms/devices may no longer be sold to individuals.
- They can be transferred to another business with the appropriate licence privileges.
- If firearms are taken on consignment, they must be returned to the owner.
- If the appropriate activity and conditions are attached to the business licence for prohibited firearms, the business can act as an agent for export or deactivation of firearms prohibited on May 1, 2020 for an individual or other business.
Businesses that are licensed to possess prohibited firearms will maintain this privilege, but should familiarize themselves with the list of firearms and devices that were prohibited on May 1, 2020.
As a result of the May 1, 2020 Order in Council amending the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components, and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted ("Regulation") under the Criminal Code, a letter was sent out to individuals/businesses to inform them that their previously registered restricted firearms are now prohibited and their registration certificates became nullified. This nullification is the result of the legislative change to the Criminal Code Regulations and not the result of any decision by the Registrar to revoke the registration certificates under the Firearms Act. Accordingly, the letter is not a Firearm Registration Certificate Revocation Notice.
Update on 10 and 12 gauge shotgun classification under the prohibition
On May 1, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that it had made amendments to the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and Other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited, Restricted or Non-Restricted (SOR/98-462) [Classification Regulations] prescribing certain firearms as prohibited. One of the categories of the newly prohibited firearms include "Any firearm with a bore diameter of 20 mm or greater" (s. 95 of the Classification Regulations).
The Canadian Firearms Program of the RCMP adheres to the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners definition for bore diameter measurements. "The interior dimensions of the barrel forward of the chamber but before the choke." (Glossary of the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners by the AFTE Standardization Committee, 1st edition 1980). This is reflected in the RCMP's Firearms Reference Table which clearly states that "...in shotguns, diameter of the barrel forward of the chamber but before the choke." The Canadian Firearms Program also recognizes the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute standards regarding firearms and ammunition. The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute chamber specifications for 10 and 12 gauge shotguns do not include chokes therefore indicating that chokes are not part of the bore. Accordingly, it is the Canadian Firearms Program view that, in accordance with acceptable firearms industry standards for shotguns, the bore diameter measurement is considered to be at a point after the chamber, but before the choke.
Further, in making classification assessments of firearms which are reflected in the Firearms Reference Table, the Canadian Firearms Program relies on recognized industry standard measurements. With respect to 10 and 12 gauge shotguns, the Canadian Firearms Program recognizes the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute standard specifications which establish that the nominal (that is, standard) bore diameter measurements for 10 and 12 gauge shotguns are below the 20 millimetres threshold (19.69 millimetres for 10 gauge, 18.42 millimetres for 12 gauge).
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