Canadian gun rights in the U.S.

Summer 2014 CSANews Issue 91  |   Posted date : Aug 06, 2014.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Dear Bird Talk,

My wife and I go to Florida each year; I have a question concerning owning a weapon in the United States.

Over the years, we have made a lot of good American friends and all of them own guns for their personal protection. (Stand your Ground) They are very surprised that we Canadians do not have guns for protection.

My question is, what right ‒ if any ‒ do we as Canadians visiting the U.S. have regarding owning a gun? If my home or trailer was invaded while I was sleeping, I am helpless to protect myself and my property.

Are we Canadians allowed to purchase guns in the U.S. if we register them? God forbid if I shot someone to protect myself. I will be spending a long time in the United States before returning to Canada. If I were allowed to purchase a weapon, it would stay in Florida and would never enter Canada.

Mike Power,

Response :
Ed.: An interesting question…and complicated. You are considered to be a non-immigrant alien by the ATF (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). As such, you can purchase, receive or possess a firearm only if you are in possession of a (state) hunting licence that is valid and unexpired, and if you were admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes. Otherwise, you need to receive a waiver from this prohibition from owning a gun, from the attorney general of the United States. In addition, a non-immigrant alien legally in the United States with or without a non-immigrant visa may lawfully acquire a firearm only if he/she meets the state-of-residence requirements as determined by the federal government. Have a look at the ATF website and check Rule 2010-6 and Q&A form F4473. Then, check your state’s website.

We know that we can buy a gun easily at the local gun show, but I would go to your local police department and discuss this with them. If possible, get them to give you a letter saying that it is OK, OR apply to the attorney general for approval. This is probably a lot of paperwork, but it also appears to be a fairly simple process. Crossing the border with a gun is another issue but, if you have a Canadian FAC (Firearms Acquisition Certificate) and pre-clear it with customs, you should have little difficulty. Neither country really wants you to have a gun for protection, but gun collecting, hunting and target shooting are all fine. You would also need an ATT (Authorization to Transport) from your home province to get the gun from the border to your home or gun club.

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