Sharing My Passion For Lacrosse

Is Your Child Ready For His First Big Hunt? Here's What You Need To Know

by Terra Fuller

The Canadian Firearms Program is a government program supported by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) that regulates the licensing and ownership of firearms in Canada. If your minor child is anxious to experience his first big hunt, there are some things you both need to know in advance. Before your child gets out there in his orange duds to tag his first deer, it's important to understand the RCMP's laws and regulations regarding gun safety for minors.

Firearms Safety Course Requirement

According to the Firearms Act set forth by the RCMP, minors between the ages of 12 and 17 are required to complete a Canadian firearms safety course and pass the test before they can acquire a minor's license to legally use a firearm. Keep in mind that your minor child may not attempt to take the test without first completing the course.

Requirements of Firearms Safety Course Instructors

You can rest assured that your child will learn gun safety from a qualified instructor through the Canadian Firearms Program. In order to teach a non-restricted firearms safety course, instructors are held up to high standards, including:

  • Instructors must not have a criminal record that affects their ability to obtain a firearms license.
  • Instructors must possess a firearms license.
  • Instructors must receive a positive recommendation from their provincial Chief Firearms Office.
  • Instructors must demonstrate good communication and teaching skills.
  • Instructors must complete required safety education programs.

Rules Regarding Gun & Ammo Possession for Minors

Minors (anyone under 18) are forbidden from owning a firearm, no matter if the gun was purchased or gifted. If your minor child is at least 12 and wishes to use a gun for hunting or target practice, he may borrow one to use after completing the Firearms Safety Course.

Once he's completed the safety course and passed the test, your minor child is permitted to acquire ammunition to be used with a borrowed gun in most provinces. Before the minor acquires ammo, make sure there are no age restrictions in your particular province or territory.

Minor's License Restrictions

Once your child earns his Minor's License, there are certain guidelines that must be followed for safe and legal use of a firearm. A minor is allowed to use a borrowed gun for any of these activities:

  • Hunting
  • Target Practice
  • Shooting Competition
  • Instructional Lesson for Gun Use

Keep in mind that you, the parent, must give consent before your child receives a Minor's License. When applying for the license, a firearms officer may want to interview either you or your child before issuing the license, too. Depending on your minor's situation, there might be a condition placed on the license, such as the need for adult supervision while using the firearm.

Categories of Firearms in Canada

The U.S. Embassy states that there are three classes of firearms in Canada:

  1. Non-Restricted Firearms
  2. Restricted Firearms
  3. Prohibited Firearms

Upon earning his Minor's License, your child may only use a firearm from the non-restricted category. Non-restricted firearms include typical hunting rifles and shotguns. It is strictly forbidden for minors to use any firearm from the restricted category, such as a handgun.

It goes without saying that it's illegal for anyone, regardless of age, to legally possess or use any firearm from the prohibited category.

The requirements necessary for minors to use firearms may seem strict, but these rigorous standards were developed to maintain public safety. Placing guns in the hands of inexperienced users, including minors, can be a recipe for disaster unless they are educated in the proper use and handling of firearms. Completing and passing a firearms safety course is a small price to pay to keep your child and others safe around guns.