There’s a club in Canada made up of some of our most responsible citizens. To get in, you’re going to need a PAL. No, not a friend with a gun, but a Possession and Acquisition License. It’s mandatory for purchasing a firearm and ammunition in Canada. 

This is the first blog In our “How To Buy A Gun In Canada” series. We’ll walk you through all of the steps and costs for purchasing your very first firearm.

A Little Historical Background

In Canada, PALs were first introduced in 1995, as a replacement for the Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC). Firearm owners became required to have a PAL to acquire and possess firearms and ammunition. There are two types of PALs. The basic PAL allows the holder to acquire and possess any non-restricted firearm. The RPAL gives holders access to a restricted class of firearms. In this article, we’ll focus on the standard PAL — the first step in acquiring a firearm in Canada.

Safety First 

The first step to buying a gun in Canada is to take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course with a certified instructor. The course covers everything from the evolution of firearms to safe storage, display, transportation, and the handling of firearms. It consists of two parts: classroom and hands-on sessions (without any live-fire). Once you’ve completed the course, you must take a safety exam and score at least 80% to pass. There’s a multiple choice quiz and a hands-on test on safely handling three different types of firearms.

Apply Yourself

After you’ve passed your safety test, your course report is sent off to the provincial Firearms Officer for approval. Once you receive your stamp, you’re ready to fill out your official application for your PAL. The application is pretty in-depth and asks for references over the last two years, including your conjugal partner. For more information about PAL and the application form, click here. 

The Waiting Game

From start to finish, the whole process of getting your PAL takes a minimum of 90 days. But there are many factors that can make it even longer. The firearms course is often only offered every one or two months. Spots fill up fast, so you could be waiting a month or more just to do the course and take the test. Next, you have to wait for your provincial firearms officer to stamp your course report and send it back to you. This can take anywhere from one to two weeks. Once you have your stamped course report, you can finally apply for your PAL. And the actual process of the RCMP reviewing your firearms application takes a minimum 45 days. Plus if it’s your first time applying, even after your application is approved, there’s a mandatory 28 day cooling period before issuing your licence.

Dollars and Sense

Depending on where and with whom you take your course, the course and exam will cost you in the range of $130-$180. Many of the PAL courses are bundled together with the Hunter Education training and cost upwards of $300. The actual application fee for your PAL is $60. So all in, you’re looking at about $200 to get your PAL. 

We hope this answers a few of your questions and helps begin to guide your gun ownership journey in Canada. Stay tuned for our next blog, where we’ll explore the process of purchasing your very first firearm!

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