In order to obtain a gun, Canadians must go through a rigorous process of completing and passing the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC), mailing in an application and waiting a minimum of 28 days for approval. If the person is approved, he or she received as Possession Acquisition License (PAL). This means they’re legally allowed to own a firearm. The downside, however, are that there are stipulations as far as what type of gun can be possessed. Most handguns and some rifles are not allowed under this license.
If a Canadian wants to own a firearm that is restricted, he or she has to go through an additional safety course, the Canadian Firearms Restrict Safety Course (CFRSC), and pay another application fee. Obtaining a CFRSC, however, doesn’t give the person the legal right to concealed carry.
In addition to undergoing extensive training, applications and licensing, the Canadian government looks into a potential owner’s criminal record, mental health and even require third-party references.
“Canada’s classification system is a mess,” said A.J. Somerset, an author on gun issues. “If someone wants to do the shooting at the mosque, they can obtain a non-restricted firearm in Canada that is functionally the same as an AK-47, illegally modify it, and they have exactly the rifle we don’t want them to have.”
Because of the very stringent gun laws in place, a steady flow of guns are being smuggled into Canada from the United States. Gangs have their hand in bringing firearms across the border.
“There is an illegal market for all manner of weapons that are openly available in the U.S,” Rob Gordon, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, said.
“The link to organized crime is quite profound, so where you see organized crime in Quebec, B.C. and Ontario … they seem to have access to these types of weapons.”
Quebec has the harshest gun laws in Canada, yet their gun per capita rate is much higher.
Quebec has a higher rate of gun licenses per 100,000 residents than Ontario and British Columbia, but lower than most other provinces and territories, according to government statistics.