Possession and Acquisition Licence

A Possession and Acquisition Licence is a licence that allows individuals in Canada to possess and acquire firearms as well as ammunition.

Canadian firearm classifications

In Canada firearms fall into three general classifications:
*Non-restricted - Most long guns, rifles and shotguns are classified non-restricted.
*Restricted - All handguns, other than those that are prohibited, are classified as restricted. Many military looking, semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR15 are also classified as restricted.
*Prohibited - This classification is used on all handguns with barrel lengths equal to or less than 105 mm. It also is used for fully automatic guns, converted automatics, some types of assault rifles declared to be prohibited by an Order in Council (e.g.: AK 47, FN FAL), and any firearm chambered in .25 caliber or .32 caliber (with the exception of handguns used in International Shooting Union competitions). There are six sub-categories of prohibited firearms.


PALs were introduced in Canada in 1995 as part of Bill C-68 as a replacement for the FAC (Firearms Acquisition Certificate) system. Whereas the FAC was only required to acquire a firearm, a PAL is required to both acquire and possess firearms and to acquire ammunition. A PAL for non-restricted firearms allows its holders to acquire and possess any non-restricted firearm, while a PAL for restricted firearms (which also covers prohibited firearms to those eligible) allows the holder to acquire and possess restricted firearms.

Acquiring a PAL

For those over the age of 18, to apply for a PAL for non-restricted firearms, the applicant must first pass the Canadian Non-Restricted Firearms Safety Test (consisting of both a written and practical exam). To obtain a PAL for restricted firearms, the applicant must also pass the Canadian Restricted Firearms Test (again, consisting of both a written and practical exam). Once an applicant has passed the exam(s), they must submit an application to the Canadian Firearms Program. The CFP will perform some initial processing of the application and then forward the application to the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) of the province in which the applicant resides.The CFO conducts a background check and approves or denies the license application. Previous convictions for serious violent, drug or weapons offences almost invariably result in the denial of the application.

Once issued, a PAL is ordinarily valid for between five to six years expiring on the individual's birthday. If an individual possessing a PAL wishes to continue to possess and acquire firearms they must apply to renew their PAL prior to its expiration date. If an individual possessing a PAL is convicted of certain offenses, a PAL can be revoked. If an individual does not renew their PAL prior to its expiration date or if they have their PAL revoked, they must legally dispose of any firearms in their possession.

A license for prohibited firearms can be issued to qualifying businesses, and very rarely to individuals (handguns only) [http://www.canlii.org/ca/as/1995/c39/sec28.html] with extraordinary circumstances. The only other people who possess a PAL with a prohibited endorsement are grandfathered to the type of prohibited firearm they own, as the gun laws changed over time. [http://www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca/info_for-renseignement/factsheets/collectors_e.asp]


For minors there is a license called the Minors' License. This licence allows a minor to possess non-restricted rifles or shotguns without needing to be under direct supervision of a licensed adult. A licensed minor cannot discharge a long gun without supervision of a licensed adult. A licensed minor may be allowed to buy ammunition for long guns. To be eligible, the minor must have passed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. An interview with the CFO may be held with the minor and a guardian or parent before the license is issued to the minor. However, the minor cannot register firearms under the license or inherit or receive one as a gift.

Transportation of firearms

The transportation regulations are broken down into two divisions, those for non-restricted firearms and those for restricted or prohibited firearms. These rules are laid out in the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations.A non restricted firearm may be transported so long as it is unloaded. [ [http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdoc/cr/SOR-98-209/bo-ga:s_10//en#anchorbo-ga:s_10 Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations ] ] Such a firearm does not need to be encased or trigger locked.

A restricted firearm must be disabled by use of a trigger, cable, or other locking device and locked in an opaque case. [ [http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdoc/cr/SOR-98-209/bo-ga:s_10//en#anchorbo-ga:s_10 Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations ] ] An unattended non-restricted firearm left in a vehicle must be locked in the trunk or other compartment, if one is available. In order to transport restricted or prohibited firearms, an individual must obtain an Authorization to Transport. An ATT is generally approved only for individuals to transport a restricted or prohibited firearm to a shooting range for target practice, gun show for sale, or to a gunsmith or gun shop.Fact|date=May 2008

An Authorization to Carry (ATC) allows a person to carry a restricted firearm or prohibited handgun concealed (or unconcealed) and loaded. An ATC is rarely issued and it is usually given out to security professionals such as close protection officers, judges, and those who transport money. However, there are individuals in Canada who possess such a permit.An ATC or an ATT is also not required for the carry of non-restricted, restricted, or prohibited firearms on the private property owned by the license holder.Fact|date=February 2007

ee also

*Canadian gun registry
*Dominion of Canada Rifle Association
*Gun politics in Canada


External links

* [http://www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca/default_e.asp Canadian Firearms Program Website]
* [http://www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca/online-en_ligne/form-assistance/indiv_forms/921_e.asp CAFC 921 - PAL application form]

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