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

Question:

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

Answer:

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.

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