Starting a Firearms Business
Firearms Businesses (including museums)
If you are thinking of starting a firearms business, including a museum, here is some information you need to know about requirements that will affect you under Canada’s Firearms Act. This information also applies to any private-sector organization that possesses firearms. This fact sheet summarizes the main requirements applying to businesses under Canada’s Firearms Act and its supporting regulations.
Your business, museum or organization will need a valid firearms business licence to possess, manufacture or sell firearms, restricted or prohibited weapons, prohibited devices, or prohibited ammunition. Although a licence is not required under the Firearms Act to possess regular ammunition, a licence is required to manufacture or sell ammunition. A separate business licence is required for each location where the business operates.
A business licence is only valid for the activities specified on the licence. Your business may only possess prohibited items for a specified purpose set out in Section 22 of the Firearms Licences Regulations.
To apply for a firearms business licence, submit form number CAFC 672. You can obtain the form from the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) of your province by calling 1 800 731-4000.
To be eligible for a firearms business licence, your business must meet the following requirements:
- All employees who handle firearms for employment purposes must have a valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) :
- Employees only need to be licensed to acquire non-restricted firearms if that is the only class of firearms the business possesses;
- Employees must be licensed to acquire restricted firearms if the business possesses restricted or prohibited firearms.
- Employees do not need a firearms licence if the business has restricted or prohibited weapons, prohibited devices or prohibited ammunition but no firearms. However, they need to be eligible for a firearms licence. In other words, although they do not have to submit a licence application, they must be able to pass a background check and there can be no court orders prohibiting them from possessing firearms or other regulated items.
- Certain people connected to the business will also need to be eligible for a licence. These include:
- Owners and partners;
- Directors and officers of the corporation if the business is a corporation;
- Persons in a relationship to any of the above if they have a direct influence on the business or could have access to firearms held by the business.
The law sets out certain conditions that must be attached to a business licence. For example, businesses cannot depict or promote violence in advertising their goods. The CFO may attach additional conditions at their discretion.
All firearms in a business’ inventory, including frames and receivers that have not yet been assembled as complete firearms, need to be registered. Firearms you acquire from a Canadian source will be registered to your business during the transfer process (see below). To register newly imported firearms or firearms that your business manufactures, submit form CAFC 678. This form can be downloaded from our web site or obtained by calling 1 800 731-4000.
There are no registration or transfer fees.
Verification of Firearms
Firearms must be verified by an approved verifier if:
- they are being registered for the first time; or
- they are being transferred to a new owner and have not previously been verified; or
- they have been modified so that their description has changed, or
- the Registrar requests that they be verified to confirm their description or classification.
As a licensed firearms business, you will need to have an approved verifier on staff to verify inventory that needs to be verified. You can arrange to have an employee trained and approved as a verifier by calling 1 800 731- 4000.
Whenever a firearm changes ownership, the registration records need to be updated and the firearm needs to be registered to the new owner. Both parties need to be involved in the transfer process. Any of the following methods can be used to transfer a firearm to or from your business:
- by calling 1 800 731-4000;
- by submitting a paper application (form CAFC 681 for restricted and prohibited firearms; form CAFC 682 for non-restricted firearms).
The online method is generally the fastest and easiest. To be able to use the online services, you need to obtain a Business Identification Number (BIN) from your CFO.
Safe Storage, Display and Transportation
Businesses must comply with the Storage, Display and Transportation of Firearms and Other Weapons by Businesses Regulations. For more information, please contact your provincial CFO.
There may also be additional requirements under provincial and municipal laws, regulations and bylaws.
As indicated earlier, the Firearms Act does not require your business or organization to be licensed to possess regular ammunition, but a licence is required to sell or manufacture ammunition. Further, ammunition may be transferred to a business or individual with a valid firearms licence, or to a public agency (for example, a police force or a government department) with a valid Public Agency Identification Number. There may also be licence and storage requirements under the Explosives Act, which is administered by Natural Resources Canada. Licence fees for those particular activities are waived under the Firearms Act if you have already paid to be licensed for those activities under the Explosives Act.
The fee for a firearms business licence depends on the business activities. Businesses involved in more than one activity only have to pay the highest of the applicable fees.
The initial fee for a PAL is $60 for non-restricted firearms only or $80 for any combination of non-restricted, restricted or prohibited firearms. The fee to renew or modify the privileges of a PAL is waived until May 16, 2010. Employees who have already paid a fee will be sent a refund. It is important for them to notify us if their address changes in order to receive their refund and other important information.
For more information, contact the CFP.
This fact sheet is intended to provide general information only. For legal references, please refer to the Firearms Act and its Regulations. Provincial, territorial and municipal laws, regulations and policies may also apply.