Firearms Act, 1995
In addition to the law's passage, the Canadian Firearms Registry System was added in 2003.
For the most part, Canadians are not allowed to carry a concealed firearm in public unless they are police officers. Members of the Canadian Forces (Military) can only carry and use their weapons in public during war time or for special ceremonies.
Canadian citizens can legally possess registered firearms of any class (non-restricted, restricted & prohibited) within their homes as long as the permit allows for it. In order to have prohibited firearms the person had to own registered "Prohibited" firearms before the Firearms act went into being. If not grandfathered, the only prohibited firearms class given to individuals is called the 12.7 class which allows a close family member (who has a 12.6 prohibited licence) in death to will their prohibited pistols made before 1946 (prohibited pistols include any pistol with barrel length of 4 inches or less, or of caliber .32 or .25) to the 12.7 applicant, it does not allow him to buy other prohibited firearms. All other prohibited firearms must be forfeited to law enforcement after the owner dies. Restricted and prohibited have specific rules attached to their ownership this includes an authorization to transport (ATT) to be issued by the province's Chief Firearms Officer (CFO). These permits are generally only given to go to a certified shooting range (or gunsmith), and are rarely ever given for prohibited firearms that are not pistols (See List of prohibited firearms in Canada).
The way the Firearms act was written allowed for firearms to be arbitrarily reclassified. As such when a firearm is reclassified to prohibited the owner loses the permission to own it, and it must be handed into law enforcement for destruction. There is no requirement in the act for compensation of property. Refusal to give up a firearm can lead to lengthy and costly criminal trials, and jail time.
The act also allows for the surprise inspection of firearm storage, without the need for a warrant. If during one of these inspections the owner is found to be in violation of the safe storage laws, he/she can have their firearms confiscated, lose their licence, be fined, or even risk jail time.
The Act Allowed the (Chief firearms officer (CFO) to implement their own "reasonable" standards, an example of such is that there is nothing stating that a person cannot shoot a restricted or prohibited firearm on their own land, but the CFO's policy is to refuse to issue an Authorization to transport the firearm to anywhere other than certified ranges and gunsmiths. This means that taking a restricted or prohibited firearm out of the "place of storage" to shoot (even on ones own property) would require an ATT that the CFO will not issue. Prohibited rifles are referred to as "Safe Queens" by their owners due to the CFO refusing to issue ATT's for them (even to certified ranges), therefore preventing owners from being allowed to legally fire them even though there is no law saying they cannot shoot prohibited firearms.
There have been questions on how the "prohibited list" of firearms was constructed as there is no clear explanation for the 12.4 and 12.5 classifications. Most people familiar with firearms assume that the original list was created using images of firearms found in firearm publications and not based on anything other than appearance, as the government has never released (and refuses to release) documentation on how the list was compiled, it is all just speculation.
- Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 United Kingdom
- Arms Act 1983 New Zealand
- Possession and Acquisition Licence Canada