Firearms Archives - LPC Criminal Lawyers

Category Archives: Firearms

Legal status of 3d printed guns in Canada

The legal wrangling in the U.S. around 3D printed firearms dates back to 2013, when non-profit organization, Defence Distributed, started publishing downloadable gun blueprints online. The company was quickly ordered by US State Department to remove the prints. A five-year long legal battle followed, where recently a federal Judge has temporary blocked the website from sharing blueprints of 3D guns. As the legal battle continues in the U.S, the RCMP and local police services continue to warn Canadians of the implications associated with printing 3D guns without a licence.
In Canada, there are three classes of firearms: non-restricted, restricted and prohibited. Different regulations apply to different classifications. To own a restricted gun or pistol, an individual first needs to obtain a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL). As all firearms are subject to the Firearm Act and associated regulations, it is illegal to manufacture or possess 3D printed firearm without the appropriate licence and applicable registration certificate.
Anyone who violates these weapons related laws could face up to 10 years in prison. Currently, there is no legislation prohibiting Canadians, licenced or not, from possessing online downloads of 3D printable files. The Federal Government has already proposed tightening Canada’s firearm law by introducing gun bill C-71.  The bill intends to enhance existing background checks along with changing how vendors document the sale of firearms. The bill does not specifically address the modern notion of these so called “ghost guns”.

Are you legally able to fire a gun on your property?


Are you legally able to fire a gun on your property?


For those of you who legally own a gun in Canada and want to know if you can engage in legal shooting on private property, and if so, how far you need to be from the property line and what are the caliber restrictions, there are a couple of provisions that you need to be aware of.

First of all, no matter where you are on the map, it should be no surprise that it is a criminal offence:

To use a firearm in any way in the commission of another criminal offence (s. 85 of the Criminal code of Canada);
To carelessly use a firearm (s.86);
To point a firearm at anyone, unless it is for a lawful purpose such as self-defence (s.87);
To discharge a firearm with the intent to harm someone, unless it is for a lawful purpose such as self-defence (ss.244 and 244.1); or
To discharge a firearm recklessly (s.244.2).

Second, any place that is used for target practice or target shooting competitions on a “regular and structured basis”, must be approved by the designated provincial Minister (s. 29 of the Firearms Act). Thus, if you are planning to use the same place regularly for target practice, whether or not it is on private property, it must be approved.

Those are the main two relevant pieces of legislation, which have no blanket restrictions on the required distance from the property line or on the calibre of the ammunition. However, there may be additional provincial laws and municipal by-laws that further restrict shooting on private property.