“Grandfather” status

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.

As a general rule, a PAL will indicate what prohibited firearms the licence holder is licensed to acquire by showing the section of the Firearms Act that grandfathers them, as follows:

  • s.12(2): full automatics
  • s.12(3): converted automatics
  • s.12(4): firearms prohibited by former prohibition order No. 12
  • s.12(5): firearms prohibited by former prohibition order No. 13
  • 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.

Eligibility to acquire a particular prohibited firearm will be confirmed during the transfer process. Grandfathered status allows the possession and acquisition of prohibited firearms that are already registered in Canada, but not the new importation of prohibited firearms into Canada.