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Q) Will something as simple as bringing your gun on vacation to Canada, ruin your vacation plans ?
A) YES...so leave your gun at home.
While there are numerous similarities between Canada and the U.S., some American travellers seem to be forgetting that this is a different country, not just another state. Your constitutional right to bear arms, ends at the border.
Canada has very strict gun control laws. The Firearms Act is a federal law and therefore applies across the country. Provinces and territories may have additional requirements. Where you enter Canada does not matter.
Visitors to Canada are required to "declare all firearms" in their possession, at the first point of entry. Americans transiting through Canada, to / from Alaska, are considered visitors as well.
ALL FIREARMS must be unloaded and secured by a locked, (trigger lock or breech cable) inside a soft side or hard shell case and stored in a location inaccessible to the driver – in the car’s trunk or for vehicles such as a pick-up, concealed from view.
Handguns (in general) are prohibited from entering Canada. They will be seized and forfeited. There are limited exemptions IE: for competition, but permits must be obtained well in advance of arrival at the border.
Certain long guns can enter legally, but application forms need to be completed, fees paid, and an inspection made of each firearm, by a Canada Border Security Agency officer.
"Assault Rifles" and fully automatic weapons, are prohibited.
Ammunition – All ammunition must be stored – NOT loose. This can be in its original packaging, in a bag, or in a case, and should be stored in a location inaccessible to the driver – in the car’s trunk or for vehicles such as a pick-up, concealed from view.
Any firearm not declared will be determined to have been smuggled into the country, may lead to seizure action, penalty, prosecution in a court of law, and may make you inadmissible to Canada. Your vehicle may also be seized.
Additional information can be found on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) website.
*This traveller article is intended to provide general information, written by a lay person. Refer to current regulations, the Canada Border Security Agency or a lawyer familiar in firearm importation to Canada, for definitive advice.