Guns and Canada
Crossing the Border
By Riley Woodford
Hunters headed from the Lower 48 to Alaska by car must declare firearms when passing through Canada. Anyone wishing to bring hunting rifles into Canada must be at least 18 years old; properly store the firearm for transport;and follow the declaration requirements.
Hundreds of hunters are failing to declare their firearms when they enter Canada. They are getting arrested and fined, and the U.S. Department of State wants to help.
Geoff Martineau works at the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of American Citizen Services. “We help U.S. citizens traveling abroad avoid problems,” he said. “In Canada, we’re looking at an estimated 200 to 300 U.S. citizens each year who run into trouble for failing to declare their firearms. Vancouver is the single largest port of entry where this occurs, and it’s a good possibility many of these travelers are headed to Alaska.”
Martineau mentioned that it’s common to see U.S. citizens, en route to Alaska for some hunting, stopped at the border as they try to transit with firearms that are presumably rifles and shotguns.
It’s difficult to get a handle on exact figures as most of the detentions aren’t reported, he said, but it seems most pay a large fine and are turned around at the border. He’s heard some go through lengthy court proceedings, have their cars impounded and their firearms confiscated.
When crossing the border into Canada, hunters must declare all firearms in their possession. Declared rifles and shotguns may be carried through Canada while in transit to Alaska. Certain types of handguns are not permitted in Canada under any circumstances. Other handguns may be carried into Canada under certain circumstances.
Declaring firearms involves filling out some paperwork, specifically Form 5589, the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration form. There is a $25 fee, payable in Canadian funds or with a credit card. The form is available at the border, or can be downloaded in advance from the Canadian Firearms Centre website (more details on that are offered at the end of the article). The form must be presented in triplicate and signed in front of a CBSA officer at the border (it is not possible to make photocopies at the border, so it will save time and effort to do some of the work in advance. Just be sure to wait until the border to sign in front of a customs officer).
According to the Canadian Firearms Centre, completing the paperwork also allows you to bring in ammunition for that firearm for personal use.
Martineau said that regarding ammunition, there have been many cases worldwide where American travelers arrive at a foreign destination with a single bullet somewhere in their luggage that they didn’t realize was there, and they get into trouble. He advised: Don’t use the same luggage for hunting as you do for other international travel.
Canadian lawrequiresthat officials confiscate any firearms, ammunition,and other weapons from persons crossing the border whodenyhaving the items in their possession. Confiscated firearms, ammunition, and weapons are not returned. Possession of an undeclaredfirearm may result in arrest and imprisonment. Travelers are strongly advised to inspect all belongings thoroughly prior to travel to Canada to avoid the accidental import of firearms or ammunition.
Canada has three classes of firearms: non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited.
Handguns are considered restricted firearms in Canada. A restricted firearm may be brought into Canada, but an Authorization to Transport permit must be obtained in advance.
Non-restricted firearmsinclude most ordinary hunting rifles and shotguns. These may be brought temporarily into Canada for sporting or hunting use during hunting season, use in competitions, in-transit movement through Canada, or personal protection against wildlife in remote areas of Canada. Anyone wishing to bring hunting rifles into Canada must be at least 18 years old; properly store the firearm for transport;and follow the declaration requirements.
Restricted firearmsare primarily handguns. While they are not firearms, pepper spray, mace, and some knives also are included in this category. A restricted firearm may be brought into Canada, but an Authorization to Transport permit must be obtained in advance from a Provincial or Territorial Chief Firearms Officer. The permit allows a handgun to be in transit, for example to Alaska, but a permit would not be issued to someone simply vacationing in Canada.
Prohibited firearmsinclude fully automatic, converted automatics and certain military style weapons, including weapons designed for civilian use. A full list of prohibited weapons is available on the Canadian Firearms Centre website. Prohibited firearms are not allowed into Canada. Handguns with a barrel length of less than 105 mm, about 4 1/8 inches, are completely prohibited, and .25 and .32 caliber handguns are prohibited.
TheNon-Resident Firearm Declaration(form RCMP 5589).
The best source for more information on carrying firearms into or through Canada the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website, or a call to the Canada Firearms Center at 1-800-731-4000; request Extension #9026 if you will be entering Canada at the Alberta border and Extension #9530 if entering from British Columbia.
U.S. citizens may find it helpful to register firearms with U.S. Customs before traveling through Canada in order to prove ownership.
Martineau said the Department of State gives detailed information for American travelers, covering safety, health, and legal issues worldwide, and specifically target certain at risk travelers. The website is here.
The State Department’s website offers some information on Canada specifically.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game website offers some information about firearms in Alaska andtraveling in Canada with guns.
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Can I take guns through Canada to Alaska? ›
When crossing the border into Canada, hunters must declare all firearms in their possession. Declared rifles and shotguns may be carried through Canada while in transit to Alaska. Certain types of handguns are not permitted in Canada under any circumstances.Can I drive through Canada with my gun? ›
Canadian law states that you have to transport all firearms, including antique firearms, unloaded. If you are transporting them in a vehicle, they must be kept out of sight in a part of a vehicle that is kept locked (the trunk, if there is one), unless the vehicle is supervised by an adult.Can you carry a loaded gun in your car in Alaska? ›
Any person 21 or older who can legally own a firearm can carry a loaded handgun openly or concealed in a vehicle in Alaska. You must inform any Law Enforcement Office who stops you for any official business that you are carrying a firearm.Can I get my gun rights back following a domestic violence conviction in Alaska? ›
Question 31: How are firearm rights restored in Alaska for misdemeanor offenses? Answer: Convictions for Alaska misdemeanor offenses, other than domestic violence assault, do not trigger firearm prohibitions. Prohibitions arising from domestic violence assault convictions are lifetime prohibitions.Can you carry a gun while hiking in Canada? ›
In general, the only firearms allowed for wilderness protection are non-restricted rifles and shotguns. However, Canadian residents may be authorized to carry a handgun or restricted long gun for wilderness protection or for lawful occupational purposes if they: are licensed to possess restricted firearms.Can I travel to Alaska with a gun? ›
You may transport firearms as checked baggage only. You must be 18 years of age or over to transport a firearm. Firearms must be unloaded and carried in a locked, hard-sided container. Container must be completely secure so that it does not allow for accidental or unauthorized access.Can I take ammunition through Canada to Alaska? ›
Don't use the same luggage for hunting as you do for other international travel. Canadian law requires that officials confiscate any firearms, ammunition, and other weapons from persons crossing the border who deny having the items in their possession.What happens if you get caught with a handgun in Canada? ›
A summary disposition for unauthorized possession can range anywhere from a suspended sentence, a fine or probation to a maximum of six months in prison. The maximum penalty for the indictable variation of unauthorized possession is five years imprisonment.Can I still take my handgun to the range in Canada? ›
Freeze 'serves no purpose,' says CCFR. Under current Canadian firearms law, handguns are already classified as a "restricted" (or, in some cases, a "prohibited") firearm, which means they can only be used at RCMP-approved shootings ranges.Can you open carry an AR 15 in Alaska? ›
Alaska's laws do not prohibit anyone 21 or older who may legally possess a firearm from carrying it concealed or open. A firearms permit is not required.
Can a non resident carry a gun in Alaska? ›
Alaska does not issue permits to non-residents. In terms of reciprocity, since Alaska has permitless carry, any person 21 years of age and older who can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on his or her person without a license or permit.What weapons can a felon own in Alaska? ›
According to Federal law, the citizens of Alaska are not allowed to purchase or possess guns if they have been pronounced guilty of any kind of felony, domestic violence or misdemeanor.Can a felon hunt with a rifle in Alaska? ›
Convicted felons cannot use modern firearms, but can use muzzleloaders, archery equipment, or utilize a Federally Qualified Designated Hunter to harvest game species on their behalf.Can felons own a firearm in Alaska? ›
Alaska prohibits a person from possessing a concealable firearm (i.e., handgun) after having been convicted of a felony or adjudicated a delinquent minor for conduct that would constitute a felony if committed by an adult by any court.Can I carry a gun in my RV into Canada? ›
Definite Don'ts: Don't take firearms or ammunition. No guns can travel into Canada with you. Don't take fireworks or explosives.Can you carry a gun for bears in Canada? ›
Bears, cougars, wolves etc. In this case, as long as it's a non-restricted firearm, and you're carrying it in a legitimate place in a safe manner then; yes, you may carry a firearm for self defence.Can I shoot my handgun on my property in Canada? ›
Yes, no legislation places blanket restrictions on the required distance from a property line or on the calibre of the ammunition discharged on private property.Can out of state residents buy guns in Alaska? ›
Must be a resident of Alaska. Be eligible to own/possess a handgun under state and federal law. Be a suitable person to be licensed.What weapons are illegal in Alaska? ›
Switchblades, gravity knives, and metal knuckles are all illegal in Alaska.Does Alaska require a background check for a firearm? ›
Alaska has no law requiring firearms dealers to initiate background checks prior to transferring a firearm. As a result, in Alaska, firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.
Can I use my gun for self defense in Canada? ›
Yes, however, the use of a weapon in defending yourself can only be used to defend yourself from a threat, or a force of threat, that you reasonably believed would be used against you.How many years is a gun charge in Canada? ›
maximum 5 years in prison for carrying a concealed weapon when tried as an indictable offence. maximum 10 years for unauthorized possession in a motor vehicle, when tried as an indictable offence. maximum life imprisonment for breaking and entering or robbery to steal a firearm.What guns are banned in Canada Update 2022 list? ›
NOTABLY, THE LIST INCLUDES ANY AND ALL AR180-PATTERN RIFLES (WHICH INCLUDES MOST SEMI-AUTOS BUILT IN CANADA OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS), THE BENELLI MR1 RIFLE AND M1 AND M3 SHOTGUNS, THE RUGER PC CARBINE, THE LJUNGMAN AG42 SERVICE RIFLE, THE M1 CARBINE AND M1 GARAND, THE SVT-40, THE KEL-TEC SU16, SUB 2000 AND RFB RIFLES, ...How many rounds can you have in a handgun in Canada? ›
Individuals may not possess prohibited devices. As a general rule, the maximum magazine capacity is: 5 cartridges for most magazines designed for a semi-automatic, centre-fire long gun. 10 cartridges for most handgun magazines.Can you store guns and ammo together? ›
The National Rifle Association (NRA) recommends that guns be stored unloaded until you need to use them. Keep your ammunition in a locked safe that is separate from your gun safe. Storing your ammunition away from your guns will lower the risk of your child or other family members putting the ammunition into the gun.Do you have to lock up ammo? ›
Both unloaded firearms and ammunition must be stored in the trunk or a locked container, but never in the glove compartment or console.Can you shoot intruders in Alaska? ›
'People are allowed to use deadly force to terminate a burglary inside an occupied dwelling. That's Alaska law. That's been Alaska law for almost 40 years now" said Senior Anchorage Assistant District Attorney James Fayette, who cautioned that any use of deadly force will be reviewed by police and prosecutors.Can you open carry in a bar in Alaska? ›
The state prohibits any person from knowingly carrying a concealed weapon in the residence of another without his or her permission. Alaska generally prohibits the knowing possession of a loaded firearm, carried openly or concealed, in any location where liquor is sold for consumption on the premises.What is the number one crime in Alaska? ›
Aggravated assault is one of the most common types of crime in Alaska, with 4,222 incidents reported. Sexual assault is a major problem in Alaska, with over 1,132 incidents reported, which is among the highest in the nation.What is the male to female ratio in Alaska? ›
Male to female ratio in the United States in 2020, sorted by state.
|Characteristic||Men per 100 women|
What is the most common job in Alaska? ›
Alaska is a shall-issue, constitutional carry state. Firearms do not need to be registered, and no permit is required to purchase. No background check is required to buy a handgun from a private individual. Stun guns, Tasers and pepper spray are also legal to purchase and possess without a permit.Can you carry a gun in national parks in Alaska? ›
Guests may carry and/or posses firearms in all of the Denali National Park and Preserve campgrounds according to Alaska State Law. For more information about firearms in Denali National Park & Preserve, visit National Park Service.
(a) A person may use nondeadly force upon another when and to the extent the person reasonably believes it is necessary to terminate what the person reasonably believes to be the commission or attempted commission by the other of an unlawful taking or damaging of property or services.Can felons be around gun owners? ›
Generally speaking, felons are still allowed to associate with or be around someone who owns a gun. However, this can be complicated if the gun itself is around, or if the person who owns the gun lives with the convicted felon.Can a felon hunt with a muzzleloader in Alaska? ›
The short answer is no, felons cannot possess or hunt with black powder or muzzle loading firearms.Can I get my record expunged in Alaska? ›
Alaska does not have a law to expunge criminal history records.Can a convicted felon own a gun after 10 years in Alaska? ›
Firearms. A person with a felony conviction (or juvenile equivalent) may not possess a concealable weapon for 10 years following discharge (privilege is lost permanently if offense is one against the person), unless conviction set aside or pardoned. Alaska Stat. §11.61.Can a felon own a bow in Alaska? ›
Because bows and arrows – even mechanized ones – aren't explosive weapons, it's not included within the Gun Control Act, and that means that under federal law, convicted felons are generally able to purchase and use them, with some provisos.How much time can a felon get for being around a gun? ›
Sentence and Penalties under Felony with a Firearm Law
If you are convicted of illegal possession of a firearm under PC 29800, you face: A maximum sentence of three years in county jail; A fine of up to $10,000; or. Both a jail sentence and fine.
Can I drive to Alaska with a firearm? ›
(Note the exceptions below in the “prohibited” category.”) Although you can bring restricted firearms into the country for the purposes of transit to or from Alaska, you'll need to get an Authorization to Transport permit in advance of your trip.Where is the best place for a felon to live? ›
The most friendly state for felons is Vermont, where no felons are disenfranchised and no voting restrictions. In the US, there are 5.17 million people disenfranchised due to a felony conviction.Can felons live in Alaska? ›
The short answer is yes. With low pay and few people wanting the jobs, it is that easy in some small Alaska communities for a convicted felon, even someone who has admitted to a sex crime or who was recently released from prison, to be hired with public money to work as a city police officer.Can I bring my gun to Canada from the US? ›
As of August 19, 2022, all individuals and businesses importing a restricted handgun into Canada require an import permit issued by Global Affairs Canada. Please provide a copy of the Import Permit with your registration application. The Canada Border Services Agency controls firearms imports.Can you take ammo through Canada to Alaska? ›
Don't use the same luggage for hunting as you do for other international travel. Canadian law requires that officials confiscate any firearms, ammunition, and other weapons from persons crossing the border who deny having the items in their possession.Can you store a gun before entering Canada? ›
It is not possible to store your guns at the U.S. or Canadian border crossing. If you want to check your firearms into storage, you must do it before you get to the border crossing. One of the more popular recommendations for doing this is to rent a local safety deposit box.Can I move to Canada and bring my guns? ›
Moving to Canada
To have a firearm in Canada, you must have a PAL . A PAL allows you to get and have a specified class, or classes, of firearms. You must meet the firearms-safety training requirements before you apply for a PAL .
A summary disposition for unauthorized possession can range anywhere from a suspended sentence, a fine or probation to a maximum of six months in prison. The maximum penalty for the indictable variation of unauthorized possession is five years imprisonment.How much ammo can I legally have Canada? ›
Individuals may not possess prohibited devices. As a general rule, the maximum magazine capacity is: 5 cartridges for most magazines designed for a semi-automatic, centre-fire long gun. 10 cartridges for most handgun magazines.