We get quite a few questions from our older members who are licensed (or grandfathered) to own what is known as 12-6 handguns, defined as ‘s.12(6): handguns with a barrel length of 105 mm or less or that discharge .25 or .32 calibre ammunition. On licences issued on or after April 10, 2005, these firearms will be referred to as 12(6.1) firearms’. Their question is whether or not they can get these handguns transferred into their children’s name even though their children are not licensed to have them.

The act states: ‘A Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) allows an individual to acquire only prohibited firearms in the same categories as the ones currently registered to them, and only if the firearms they wish to acquire were registered in Canada on December 1, 1998’. and that ‘To stay grandfathered for a particular category of prohibited firearm, an individual must have continuously held a registration certificate for a firearm in that category from December 1, 1998, onward. To be able to hold a registration certificate for a firearm, an individual needs a licence allowing them to possess that class of firearm. It is therefore essential that firearms licences be renewed before they expire’. No person who is not currently grandfathered can obtained that status.

There are some limited exemptions to persons not grandfathered in relation to possessing prohibited handguns:

Exception to grandfathering

If a person is not grandfathered, the only prohibited firearms they may possess or acquire are handguns with a barrel length of 105 mm or less or that discharge .25 or .32 calibre ammunition, and only if all of the following criteria are met:

  • the handgun was made before 1946, and
  • the handgun was registered in Canada on December 1, 1998, and
  • the individual is the child, grandchild, brother, sister or spouse of the lawful owner, and
  • the individual is acquiring it for an approved purpose such as target shooting or as part of a collection.
  • Under these circumstances, the individual can lawfully acquire and possess the handgun in question, but they are not grandfathered or authorized to acquire more prohibited handguns.

For full details have a look at the RCMP website or a copy of the Prohibited Firearms Fact Sheet.