A replica firearm is a device that is not a real firearm, but that was designed to look exactly or almost exactly like a real firearm.
Replica firearms are prohibited devices in Canada.
To be prohibited as a replica firearm, a device must closely resemble an existing make and model of firearm. If it is an antique firearm, as defined by the Criminal Code and corresponding regulations, it is not prohibited.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) receives many enquiries from people wondering whether an imitation firearm would be considered a replica if it resembles a real firearm in many ways, but is made of clear or brightly coloured plastic, or has significant dimensional differences. Many of these devices need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. As a general rule, however, devices significantly smaller or larger than the real version are not classified as replica firearms.
Airsoft guns are devices that have a low muzzle velocity and muzzle energy, and usually discharge projectiles made out of a substance such as plastic or wax rather than metal. An airsoft gun, firing a .20g 6mm plastic pellet, with a muzzle velocity below 111.6 m/s (366 fps), and resembling with near precision an existing make and model of a firearm, other than an antique firearm, is a replica firearm and therefore a prohibited device.
Possessing or Acquiring Replica Firearms
Individuals may keep any replicas that they owned on December 1, 1998. A licence is not required to possess a replica firearm, and it does not have to be registered. However, individuals cannot acquire, make or import a replica firearm. If a replica firearm is taken out of Canada, it cannot be brought back in. Businesses may possess, acquire or import replica firearms only if they have a valid Firearms Business Licence that allows them to possess prohibited devices for an approved purpose.
Lending or Borrowing Replica Firearms
A replica firearm cannot be sold or given to an individual or an unlicensed business. However, a replica firearm can be loaned to:
- a person who borrows it specifically to fulfill their duties or employment in a motion picture, television, video or theatrical or publishing activities; or
- a certified instructor who wants to use it to teach the Canadian Firearms Safety Course or theCanadian Restricted Firearm Safety Course.
The specific requirements pertaining to such things as record keeping, notification and storage requirements can be found in the Special Authority to Possess Regulations (SAP) (Firearms Act).
Use of Replica Firearms in Crimes
When used to commit a crime, replica firearms are included in the broader Criminal Code definition of “imitation firearms”. There is a mandatory minimum penalty of one year in prison if an imitation firearm is used to commit, to attempt to commit, or during flight after committing, a serious criminal offence, such as kidnapping, robbery or sexual assault. This sentence must be added on to the sentence for the main offence.
Storing and Transporting Replica Firearms
Replica firearms should be stored and transported carefully to keep them out of the hands of someone who might misuse them.
If a replica firearm is borrowed under the terms of the Special Authority to Possess Regulations (SAP), it must be stored in a sturdy, securely locked container, vault, safe or room that cannot be broken open or into easily.
There are no specific requirements for personal use of replicas, but the law requires individuals to exercise reasonable caution for the safety of other persons.
If replicas are being transported, they must be locked in the vehicle’s trunk or in a similar lockable compartment. If the vehicle does not have a trunk or compartment in which the replica can be locked, the replica must be put out of sight inside the vehicle and the vehicle must be locked.
If shipping a replica firearm, it must be sent via a carrier that is licensed to transport prohibited devices. The CFP has a list of eligible carrier companies. Replica firearms being shipped by licensed carrier must be packed in a sturdy, non-transparent container that cannot be broken into easily and that is not likely to break open accidentally.
Businesses that are licensed to possess prohibited devices for an approved purpose must store and transport these and other prohibited devices in accordance with the Storage, Display and Transportation of Firearms and Other Weapons by Businesses Regulations.
Information on importing a device that is not a prohibited replica is available from the Canada Border Services Agency at 1-800-461-9999.
For more information, contact the CFP.
This fact sheet is intended to provide general information only. For legal references, please refer to theCriminal Code and the Firearms Act and their corresponding regulations. Provincial, territorial and municipal laws, regulations and policies may also apply.
Information via the RCMP website
*** We will be following up with HRP with more information regarding replica firearms in Halifax