TheGunBlog.ca — Canadian individuals own 66,262 AR-15 and related rifles classified as “Restricted,” said the federal agency in charge of licensing shooters and registering their guns.
Businesses had 12,000 and museums owned 25, for a total of 78,287 such firearms at April 30, Marie Damian, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa-based Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told TheGunBlog.ca by e-mail yesterday in response to our data request.
We asked for the total AR-15, M4 and similar rifles with a legal classification of “Restricted,” whether gas impingement or piston driven.
The number represents less than 0.5 percent of the estimated 15 million or more firearms owned by Canada’s 2.2 million police-approved shooters. Hunting and sport shooting are at the heart of the country’s heritage and culture.
The semi-automatic AR-15 is one of the world’s most-popular firearms, a favourite of recreational shooters, competitors, hunters, police and some military units. Canadian law makes it a crime to use an AR-15 for hunting.
All legally owned firearms and all lawful gun owners in Canada are tightly restricted, with police permission required to buy, sell, own or travel with any gun.
Firearms with the legal label of “Restricted” have additional restrictions, prohibitions and police authorizations to buy, sell, own and transport them. The owners must register the products with the federal police, enabling the RCMP to track the owners and the guns, and confiscate them if ordered.
Direct Route to Jail
The law says you can go to jail unless you follow a “reasonably direct” route from home to the target range and back when you travel with an AR-15, handgun or other “Restricted” firearm. It’s also a crime in Canada to have a standard-capacity AR-15 ammunition magazine. Individuals are allowed to own only mags that have been sabotaged to hold at most five rounds.
Canadian men and women own 880,000 “Restricteds” and buy more than a thousand new ones each week. The government has said it may confiscate all handguns, plus many rifles and shotguns.
TheGunBlog.ca also obtained the following registration data from the RCMP through our request:
- 69,510 “Restricted” and “Prohibited” semi-auto firearms chambered in .223 Remington or 5.56 mm x 45 mm, the calibres of most AR-15 rifles.
- 5,850 such rifles in .308 Winchester or 7.62 mm x 51 mm, the calibre of AR-10 rifles, the AR-15’s predecessor.
The Canadian Firearms Program of the RCMP included the following note:
Please note: The CFP is only able to provide information related to the make/model of AR 15, and/or those that are subject to the legal authority under Part 2, Paragraph 2 of the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and Other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited, Restricted or Non-Restricted (SOR/98-462).
Further, the CFP can only provide semi-automatic firearms in the requested calibres as the system used to produce this information cannot distinguish between centre fire or magazine-fed.
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Correction on May 10 at 19:40 Toronto time: Corrects descriptions of firearms in last-two bullet points.