Canadian Firearms Safety Course Sets New Download Record at Publications Canada

Image of Canadian Firearms Safety Course student handbook — The Canadian Firearms Safety Course student handbook set a second annual record as the top download at the Government of Canada Publications website.


  • The English PDF was downloaded 62,261 times in 2020 at, the Ottawa-based agency told by e-mail yesterday in response to our questions.
  • That was its second consecutive year in the No. 1 spot since tracking began in 2013, after 46,939 downloads in 2019. It’s in first place again so far this year.
  • The No. 2 document of 2020, a report on climate change and economics, had 7,552 downloads.

Why It Matters

  • The rankings reflect the popularity of guns in Canada.
  • Interest in guns soared in 2020 for personal protection and home defence, while many prospective buyers were shut out of the market over Covid-19 related closures.
  • The firearm-safety course beat out every other document, from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the national building and fire codes to reports on climate change and organic farming.

Who Needs the CFSC

  • You must pass the two-day Canadian Firearms Safety Course to apply for a firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) if you want to buy guns and ammunition on the government-controlled gun market.

More Facts

  • More adults have a gun licence than play golf or hockey. (See Canada Gun Facts & Stats)
  • The CFSC has been the No. 1 download at Publications Canada for 14 months straight.
  • The CFSC has been No. 1, 2 or 3 in all but one month since November 2016.

About the CFSC Handbook

  • Published by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Canadian Firearms Program.
  • Current copy is the fifth edition, from 2014.
  • The 355-page document includes the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) to own certain handguns and rifles starting at page 215.