Yes, yes, I know . . . Lewis & Clark fed their party and amazed the locals with their lethal Girandoni air gun in the early 1800’s. But that doesn’t change the fact that an airgun is not a firearm per se. Of course, “firearm” is also a legal term. Our neighbors to the north have a thing about guns – especially unlicensed, unregistered and unrestricted guns. And so a panel of judges decided that an air rifle is a firearm – regardless of the firing system or the feet per second rate of the ejected pellet. Air rifles are now subject to the same gun control laws bedeviling firearms-owning Canadians. Or are they? Apparently, the legislature’s going to sort it all out. Of course, the Parliament and Premier won’t add any additional regulations for air guns while they’re at it, right?

59 Responses to Canadian Judges Reclassify Air Rifles as Firearms

      • We don’t write strongly worded letters. It’s not polite to use strong language. And for the record, if you don’t mind my saying so, I believe that Moosehead is much better.

        • Moosehead is good, Molson Canadian for me, and please consider the difference between strongly vs harshly worded. Export more poutine, please.

        • With so many microbrews around, why drink mass produced crap? 🙂
          (I don’t drink at all. Missed the microbrew explosion. Liked Molson better than all the American beers at the time. But back then there were only a few choices. Now one can walk into a single store and have close to 2500 different beers to choose from)

  1. I’ve wondered when they’ll start this nonsense here. During barry’s first ammo draught I bought a cheap break barrel .177 from wal mart to practice with. I was shocked and pleased at how powerful this thing is.

    Even here in CA, the state that never met a regulation or tax it didn’t like, these things are only regulated by age of purchaser and if you actually misuse it after you take it out of the store. You know, like real guns should be.

    • In Illinois, any pneumatic gun, spring gun, bb gun, or paint ball gun that expels a projectile exceeding .18 inches in diameter or in excess of 700 feet per second is defined as a “firearm” and is subject to our FOID requirements and firearms laws. Illinois’s ability to regulate anything and everything is truly amazing.

        • Yup. Was just coming here to welcome out northern neighbors to the Jersey way of thinking.

          Just think… a kid carrying a bb pistol on a walk to go plinking is committing the same crime as a gangbanger walking down the street with a 9mm tucked in his waistband. Makes sense, don’t it?

    • Federal law specifically exempts air rifles as not a firearm. They are not fired with an explosive powder, but rather a compression of air, or CO2. There are areas that prevent felons and people on parole from possessing them, and I happen to agree with it.

      I have two air rifles which one has the same energy of that of the weakest .22 short, or about 60 foot pounds. Both of these are .22 PCP rifles, with my other being a suppressed .22 PCP. I ended up with two because that first one, the powerful one is damn loud. Too loud to be used around my place. My new one is virtually silent.

      Honestly, I wouldn’t have any problem with people who are disabled from owning a firearm from being prohibited from owning air rifles. These things are NOT a Daisy Red Ryder. Some of these rifles are 9mm and even .50 caliber. They are quite deadly and very capable of taking big game at closer ranges.

    • Just be careful you don’t ake it out of the box, and wander around absent mindedly handling it while talking on your cell phone. Some Mom Demanding Swatting Action would be only to happy to dime you out. Just ask Dean.

    • In Michigan, it’s anything over .18 cal or having a rifled barrel. Therefore anything more interesting than a smoothbore BB gun is a ‘firearm’. For long guns it doesn’t mean much of anything, but in the case of hand guns, it means that you need a permit to purchase that $40 Crosman CO2 pistol and have to register it with the state police in order to legally possess it.

    • And then:

      Jerky Guns
      Caulk Guns
      Paint Guns
      Squirt Guns
      Nerf Guns
      Lego Guns (the really little, tiny ones characters hold)
      Gun Safes
      Heat Guns
      Glue Guns

      Because guns.

  2. Wow. How ignorant are they? “Firearm” is something that launches a projectile through the force of burning gunpowder. A “gun” is really anything that launches a projectile, like Nerf guns or air guns. An easy way to tell the difference: FIREarm.

  3. Quick correction – ” Parliament and Premier”- it should be Prime Minister.

    As for the airguns, the decision exempts them from all the standard nonsense around NR/R/P firearms, but they must be stored safely, along with some considerations around how they are transported. Safely is left nebulous, as with all Canadian law. If putting a trigger lock on a NR firearm is enough for it to be considered as “stored safely”, then an airgun could be similarly treated.

    If anything, there will be fewer laws around guns soon. Bill C-42, the Common Sense Firearms Act (temporarily delayed due to the terrorist attack in October) is set to reduce the onerous restrictions on firearms owners a tiny bit. It’s not the current Prime Minster that needs to be worried about- it’s every single other potential prime minister who is a threat to Canadian’s gun rights. Some bigger than others.

    • It’s Red Ryder and no you can’t. I got thrown out of Canada, at night, in the snow on Thanksgiving at the border for much less. I’ve traveled all over the world, had guards armed with automatic weapons board my tour bus and never had a problem, but I get thrown out of Canada!

  4. I had a Crossman single shot .22 pistol that would leave a nice dent in scrap aluminum siding and occasionally penetrate. Of course it went through pop cans easily. I was about 13- 14 when my great grandmother gave it to me. I was responsible with it and never shot at people or animals and I didn’t have supervision while using it. Sometimes my friends and I would be in the backyard after school without my parents home plinking away at cans or targets we made out of junk. Again, years of fun and nobody was injured or hurt. If the pistol was classified as a firearm, there is almost no way my friends and I could have had that much fun after school plinking away. This was only 20 sone years ago. I’m sure they will make it so teenage kids get screwed over through the legal system over air guns. Can’t have kids liking guns! They might get ideas!

  5. Yep the frozen north is pathetic. As is Illinois. And I think my knife I carry is a quarter inch too long 🙂

  6. So what was the court’s reasoning here? It seems that they just created new law out of whole cloth. Are they able to do that up there?

    • Yes. Because they know the following:

      A) The “progressive” Canadians outnumber the freedom-loving, rights oriented Canadians.
      B) The freedom-loving, rights oriented Canadians are too polite and non-disruptive to go against social “progress.”
      C) The RMCP (Royal Mounted Canadian Police) – keyword “royal” are ecstatically flamboyant and glowing with pride regarding:
      • Their uniform.
      • Protecting the public from “guns,” “gun people,” and “gun culturists”
      • Making the masses feel good about being in a “safe” and “peaceful” nation and assuming credit for such.
      D) Politicians (especially the french speaking kind) just whip out any opinion they like and get it passed. Who cares about reasoning. Lets enforce “opinions” with no rational debate – nationwide. Just pass the new order over to the glowing RMCP.

    • Be an interesting experiment.

      1 can of lighter fluid. 3.50

      1 bic lighter. 1.29

      1 .177 cal. pellet. .02 cents.

      Look on the cops face when they get the fire put out. Priceless.

  7. I thought the Canadian regulations were based on min. velocity ( >500fps) and a min. energy ( >4.2 flbs)

    http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/fs-fd/air_gun-arme_air-eng.htm

    What I wonder, is if there was a powder cartridge that didn’t meet these specs (& the gun couldn’t be quickly loaded with a more powerful round), if it would be classified as a firearm? The tenet of the regs would suggest not (remember the old cap guns that let you load some caps in the barrel and fire wooden balls?)

  8. canucks are way behind….in the town where i live, any object capable of accelerating a projectile is classified as a firearm. bb guns, pellet guns, slingshots, zip guns, nerf guns, water guns, spoons used to launch peas at your tablemate, kicking a rock at a neighbor or someone you dislike can result in your foot/leg being considered a firearm. and, of course, it is a major crime to discharge a firearm in the city limits (regardless of the circumstances).

    cheers, ya’ll

  9. Better than Japan, where airsoft is allowed as long as the projectile doesn’t exceed ONE joule of energy. That about an half ft-lbf. Seems like Canada might not be that far off though.

  10. I should clarify some things with regards to Canadian firearms laws.

    Under Canadian law firearm “means a barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person”

    http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/page-1.html

    This decision is not a reclassification of airguns. Under the law they were already firearms, this case simply affirms that. Any airgun firing a .177 pellet or bb at or over 214 FPS is capable of penetrating the eyeball, which is the standard for serious bodily harm, thus any airgun producing velocities over 214 FPS is a barreled weapon capable of discharging a projectile capable of causing serious bodily harm, and therefore a firearm.

    The thing is you can still walk into any Canadian Tire and pick up an air rifle without any more hassle than it would take to get a fishing rod. Why? Because under Canadian law not all firearms are created equal. Most people who know a little about Canadian firearms law are familiar with the non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited classifications, but there are also two other possible classifications, antiques and uncontrolled firearms. While the uncontrolled firearm classification is not explicitly mentioned in law it is a consequence of the wording of other firearms laws. Specifically, the requirements for licencing, storage, registration and transportation are dependent upon a muzzle velocity and energy requirement above and beyond the serious bodily harm threshold, they only apply to firearms with a muzzle velocity greater than 500FPS, or a muzzle energy greater than 5.7 Joules. What this means is that airguns over 214FPS but under 500FPS and 5.7 Joules, while legally considered firearms are not subject to the more restrictive laws.

    • Good to know. I haven’t been following Canadian gun politics lately so seeing this here made me think I wouldn’t be able to go to Canadian tire and get a red Ryder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *