Canadian Gun Licences and Handgun Owners Rise to New Records

TheGunBlog.ca — The number of Canadians with a gun licence rose to a record in March after 24 straight quarterly gains, RCMP data show.

The increasing appeal of sport shooting, particularly for women, also drove Canadian handgun owners to a new high.

The country counted 2,186,161 adults with a firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) at March 31, the Ottawa-based Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which oversees permitting, told TheGunBlog.ca May 15 in response to our request for the data.

More than a thousand people are getting police-authorized licences each week on average as the popularity of sport shooting with handguns, rifles and shotguns rises, especially among women. Many of Canada’s 1,400 target ranges are at maximum capacity. The latest John Wick movie showing expert gun handling set a box-office record.


Liberals Kill Sport, Industry

The governing Liberal Party is preparing to cripple or kill the shooting sports and the firearm industry, where women are driving growth.

Bill Blair, the minister exploring mass gun confiscation, told CTV News last week the government doesn’t exclude ordering gun bans before the October election. A gun-rights group said May 10 the government will ban AR-15 target rifles.

Bans for Votes

The Liberals are also about to pass Bill C-71 as a new law to simplify prohibition and confiscation, starting with more than 10,000 men and women. Opinion polls show Liberal voters are the most hostile to gun owners and that new restrictions could help the party win votes.

John Wick 3

Proficiency with guns and shooting has spread to popular culture and entertainment.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum set an opening box-office record for North America last weekend, Variety reported May 19.

The action movie with Keanu Reeves, a naturalized Canadian, and Halle Berry, an Academy Award winner, required six months of training in marksmanship, firing on the move and thousands of reloads led by Taran Butler, a shooting champion and gunsmith.

Handgun Owners Rise

  • The number of Canadians who own at least one pistol or revolver jumped 6.1 percent to a new high of 260,677 at the end of March from 245,726 a year earlier, RCMP data showed.
  • That’s equivalent to more than 40 new owners per day, or almost 1,250 per month.
  • Buying and owning a handgun or an AR-15 target rifle requires a so-called “Restricted” PAL.
  • Most holders of a “Restricted” PAL don’t own a handgun.
  • The number of handgun owners represents less than 1 percent of eligible voters.

Women Love Shooting, Handguns

  • An analysis by TheGunBlog.ca last year found women are getting PALs at 4 times the pace of men. The number of licences obtained by women surged 36 percent from 2013 to 2018, compared with 9 percent for men.
  • Among PAL holders:
    • The percentage of women with a “Restricted” PAL (13.4 percent) is higher than the percentage of women with a standard PAL (12.8 percent), indicating handgun and AR-15 target sports are particularly appealing to women.
    • The ratio of women with a “Restricted” PAL vs. a standard PAL (29.4 percent) is higher than the equivalent ratio for men (27.9 percent), further showing the attractiveness of handgun and AR-15 target sports for women.
  • In the U.S., the world’s largest firearm market, women are increasingly buying guns for hunting, sport and safety.


More Facts & Stats

  • Personal gun licences climbed 2.5 percent to 2,186,161 at the end of March this year from 2,133,793 at the end of March 2018, the RCMP data showed.
  • The RCMP restated the figures after Jan. 2018, showing about 11,000 fewer PALs each month than data they shared with TheGunBlog.ca last August.
  • The number of PAL holders has risen each quarter for six consecutive years, since March 2013.
  • On top of the almost 2.2 million licensed adults, millions more unlicensed family and friends of all ages hunt and shoot safely and responsibly under the control of permit holders.
  • Canada requires business licences for gun stores and museum licences for museums, in addition to personal licences for individuals.
  • A PAL allows the holder to buy and own certain guns and ammunition. It doesn’t allow carrying a loaded firearm for personal safety. Police reject almost all requests for carry permits.
  • Restricted”: 608,649 people had a so-called “Restricted” PAL at April 30, Senator Pierre Dalphond said May 18 on Twitter, citing the RCMP. That compares with 579,323 at the end of June 2018. Many handguns and AR-15 rifles require a “Restricted” licence.
  • Prohibited”: 48,399 people had a “Prohibited” licence at April 30, Dalphond tweeted. That compares with 50,740 at June 30.
  • Canadian law classifies guns arbitrarily as “Non-restricted,” “Restricted” and “Prohibited.”
  • All guns and their owners are tightly restricted.
  • All guns are banned for everyone without a licence.


Update May 27: Adds data files.