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Restricted firearms such as the AR-15 pictured are on the rise in Canada.

Despite federal promises of tighter gun control Canadians are buying restricted firearms and getting new licenses at a consistent rate.

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) 2016 Commissioner Firearms Report (linked below) the number of registered restricted firearms owned in Canada rose 5.5% from 2015 to a new high of 839,295. On average the report says that Canadians purchase an average of 50,000 new restricted firearms per year

Possession and Acquisition Licenses (PAL), otherwise known as the Firearms License, are also on the rise. There was a 1.9% gain in new PAL issued in 2016 to a new total of 2,076,840 licensed firearm owners.

While it is possible to keep track of registered restricted firearms the amount of non-restricted firearms that were sold in the same period both new and used is unknown. This is because the long gun registry was abolished in 2012 and any old copies that were kept illegally continue to get further out of date. So long as the buyer has a valid PAL there is no requirement to register or keep a database of non-restricted firearms bought and sold.

For those that are unfamiliar with the laws surrounding Canadian firearm ownership restricted firearms are all modern handguns, semi automatic rifles with barrel lengths under 18.5" or total length under 660mm, and named firearms such as the AR-15. Restricted firearms must be used at designated ranges only unless otherwise permitted by the RCMP firearms program, and carry rules about registration and stricter transportation laws. Non-restricted firearms can be used in areas where it is safe and legally allowed to discharge firearms outside of designated ranges, and don't require registration and have less federal laws about transportation.

Getting new people into shooting sports, introducing new shooters, and continuing to grow the amount of legally owned restricted firearms in Canada is one of the ways to preserve your firearm rights into the future. Not only are you passing the sport onto the next generation, but there is strength in numbers of licensed firearm owners.

Source: RCMP 2016 commissioner firearms report