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Things you should know about Canadian gun, ammunition ownership

Last Updated Aug 31, 2015 at 9:16 pm EDT

Gun ownership can be a controversial issue but as of last December nearly 2 million people across Canada held valid licences.

According to the RCMP, Ontario and Quebec have the highest number of gun licences with 560,618 and 495,537.

However, per population, the Yukon comes out on top with 19,698 out of every 100,000 people holding a gun licence, with Newfoundland and Labrador (14,249) and Northwest Territories (12,638) rounding out the top three.

Licences per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2011 Census, RCMP/Handout
Licences per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2011 Census, RCMP/Handout

Here are some things you may or may not know about owning a gun and ammunition in our country:

Classes of firearms: There are three classes of firearms — non-restricted, restricted and prohibited.

Licences: The Possession Only Licence (POL) is now the Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL). A PAL or a confirmed Non-Resident Firearm Declaration or a Temporary Firearms Borrowing Licence (for non-residents) is needed to purchase firearms and ammunition in Canada. The Authorization to Transport (ATT) is needed to transport a restricted firearm (to the range, for example). Those applying for a firearm licence must, generally, have passed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and must be eligible to hold a licence.

Can children as young as 12 get a licence? Yes. A Minors’ Licence allows young people to borrow a non-restricted rifle or shotgun for such things as hunting or target shooting. Exceptions may be made for younger people who need to hunt to sustain themselves and their families.

What do you need to purchase ammunition in Ontario? According to the Ammunition Regulations Act you must be at least 18 to buy ammunition, have a valid PAL and show a secondary piece of identification. Anyone between the age of 12 and 18 may purchase ammunition if they provide valid identification and a valid licence.

How much ammunition can you have? A “reasonable” amount of sporting ammunition is allowed on your property. “Reasonable” means quantities typically needed for a rifle, handgun or shotgun or for part of a collection. The ammunition must be for your private use, not resale.

Do you need a licence to own ammunition? No, a licence is only needed to purchase ammunition. However you must follow the storage and handling requirements of the Explosives Act. Example: If you have ammunition passed down to you as part of a gun collection from a family member, you do not need to have a licence to own it.

Video: Canadian Tire employees fired for selling ammunition without checking licences