Applying for Gun Licensing in Ontario: A Guide by GTA Guns and Gear

Are you interested in purchasing firearms in Ontario?

In Canada, firearms can be classified into three categories:

  • Non-restricted (e.g.: most modern hunting firearms, including rifles and shotguns)
  • Restricted (e.g.: primarily handguns)
  • Prohibited
  • How & Where to Apply for Gun Licensing in Ontario

    To legally obtain non-restricted firearms and ammunition in Ontario, you must hold a valid possession and acquisition license, commonly known as a "PAL."

    To apply for a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL), individuals are required to complete the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course and pass the corresponding examinations. Each province has its own method of delivering the Canadian Firearms Safety Courses. In Ontario, the courses are directly provided to the public by instructors who are responsible for setting their own prices and handling most administrative tasks.

    Below is a step-by-step guide on how to navigate the licensing process and acquire a firearm legally.

    Step 1 – Safety Course

    The initial step toward lawful firearm ownership is completing the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC). The CFSC was collaboratively developed by provincial and territorial entities, national organizations focused on firearms safety, and numerous instructors of firearms and hunter education courses across the country.

    In addition to the CFSC, individuals may also choose to take the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) to obtain authorization for owning restricted firearms such as handguns and restricted rifles.

    The safety course covers various topics, including:

    • The history and different components, types, and operations of firearms
    • Basic safety practices concerning firearms
    • Ammunition
    • Proper handling and operation of firearms
    • Safe carrying and storage procedures
    • Firearm firing techniques and protocols
    • Maintenance and care of firearms
    • Responsibilities of firearm owners and users
    • Safe transportation, display, and storage of firearms

    Completing each course usually takes approximately one day. The examination, discussed in Step 2, is typically administered by the instructor at the end of the course. However, individuals also have the option to challenge the examination without taking the safety course first. Nevertheless, regardless of previous firearm experience, we strongly recommend studying the safety videos and print materials provided for the safety course.

    To find a list of instructors and testing locations in Ontario, please click here.

    Step 2 – Safety Exam

    The Canadian Firearms Safety Course Exam assesses your understanding of the material covered in the safety course. The exam consists of two parts: a written multiple-choice section and a practical firearms-handling component. No live-fire testing is conducted.

    The written portion of the exam comprises 50 multiple-choice questions. To pass the exam, you must answer at least 80% of the questions correctly.

    In the practical segment of the examination, candidates must proficiently handle a minimum of three firearm models under various circumstances. Deductions will be made if an applicant points a firearm outside the designated safe zone, exhibits poor discipline in trigger finger placement, or attempts to load incorrect ammunition. A passing grade of at least 80% is also required for this section.

    Phase 3 – Submission

    Once Steps 1 and 2 have been successfully completed, it is time to complete the application for a firearms license.

    If this is your initial application for a firearms license, please utilize this specific form.

    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) requires a minimum of 45 days to process the firearms license application. This process entails comprehensive background checks and, in certain cases, thorough investigations.

    Phase 4 – Waiting Period

    In addition to the application processing time, there is a mandatory 28-day waiting period for all applicants who do not currently hold a valid firearms license. Once this waiting period has concluded, the license will be issued without any further delay.

    Phase 5 – Authorization for Transport (restricted firearms)

    For individuals who intend to acquire restricted firearms (e.g.: handguns, short-barreled semi-automatic rifles, etc.), additional documentation must be completed. In order to transport a restricted firearm, an Authorization for Transport (ATT) must be obtained.

    In Ontario, individuals who own handguns apply for a long-term ATT through their shooting clubs, which allows for transportation to and from the shooting range. Typically, these Authorizations expire within three years of issuance.

    Once you have obtained your valid PAL license, be sure to visit us at GTA Guns! We provide an extensive range of services for both firearms buyers and sellers. Take advantage of our streamlined and transparent processes, enabling you to legally purchase or sell firearms and related equipment quickly and easily. We also offer firearm appraisals and secure long and short-term storage for your firearms.

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