Analysis: RCMP 2016 Commissioner of Firearms Report

Following is some analysis of the 2016 Commissioner of Firearms Report, which was published today by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and provides a snapshot of Canadian gun licences, registrations and related topics as of Dec. 31, 2016.

Highlights – 31 Dec. 2016 vs. 2015

  • Total licences at Dec. 31, 2016, rose to a record high for the second consecutive year.
  • Licences increased in all provinces and territories except Quebec.
  • The number of companies licensed to sell guns rose.
  • The number of shooting ranges climbed.

New Licences Issued to Individuals

  • Total: 2,076,840. See TheGunBlog.ca’s detailed analysis here.
  • Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario continued to drive gains.
  • Alberta is up for the 11th consecutive year.
  • Ontario is up for the seventh consecutive year.
  • New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are up for the first time in five years.
  • Nova Scotia is up for the first time in four years.
  • First-time licences (Total Issued – Renewals) looks like a record high: 237,724 based on my math. (I am checking with RCMP.)
  • Top-Five Increases in Licences (2016 Total vs. 2015 Total)
    1. Alberta: +17,138
    2. British Columbia: +12,928
    3. Ontario: +12,372
    4. Saskatchewan: +3,494
    5. Manitoba: +1,794
  • One Decrease in Licences
    • Quebec: -277
    • Quebec is down for the fifth consecutive year.

More Info

  • “Restricted” and “Prohibited” firearms registered to individuals and businesses exceeded 1 million for the first time. (TheGunBlog.ca goes into more detail on “Restricted” licences to individuals here.)
  • The number of shooting ranges increased by 80, to an estimated 1,400.
  • The number of companies with licences to sell guns rose to 2,469. In total, there are 4,495 businesses licensed under the Firearms Act, of which 2,026 are licensed to sell only ammunition.
  • The number of individuals prohibited from possessing guns has jumped more than 10-fold in the past decade, to 422,887.


  • Comparisons are 31 Dec. 2016 vs. 31 Dec. 2015, unless stated otherwise.
  • Comparisons were derived by TheGunBlog.ca based on RCMP data, and generally collected from previous Commissioner of Firearms reports. (Translation: I spent lots of time entering 11 years of data into spreadsheets to identify and analyze trends and outliers.)
  • The data refer to private individuals and businesses, and exclude military and law enforcement agencies.
  • Canada requires a police-issued licence to buy or own firearms legally. Licences expire after five years and can be renewed.

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