Understanding Magazine Capacity Restrictions for Firearms in Canada


Canada’s rich history and diverse landscapes have cultivated a unique relationship with firearms. For enthusiasts, collectors, and those simply curious about gun laws, understanding magazine capacity restrictions is crucial. This guide will unravel the complexities surrounding these regulations, ensuring you’re well-informed and compliant.

Decoding Magazine Capacity and Its Restrictions

Magazine capacity, in essence, refers to the number of rounds a firearm’s magazine can accommodate. It’s a pivotal factor in determining a firearm’s firepower. In Canada, these capacities are meticulously regulated to balance individual rights with overarching public safety concerns.

For instance:

  • Handguns: Maximum of ten rounds.
  • Semi-automatic rifles: Limited to five rounds.

Exceptions do exist, especially for magazines owned before the regulations were enacted. Law enforcement and military personnel might also have different rules under specific conditions.

Magazine Capacity Classifications: A Closer Look

Canada’s firearm laws categorize firearms, and each category has its nuances regarding magazine capacity:

  • Non-Restricted Firearms: Predominantly hunting rifles and shotguns, these generally have no set limit on magazine capacity. However, hunting certain species or in specific regions might impose restrictions.
  • Restricted Firearms: This category, which includes handguns and some semi-automatic rifles, usually limits magazine capacity to ten rounds. Exceptions might exist for models manufactured before a particular date.
  • Prohibited Firearms: These firearms, including fully automatic ones, are typically off-limits for most Canadians. The magazines designed for these firearms are also prohibited.
Legal Mandates for Gun Owners

Canadian gun owners have a set of legal obligations to fulfill:

  • Adherence to Capacity Limits: Ensuring magazines don’t exceed the legal capacity is paramount.
  • Safe Storage and Transportation: Firearms should be securely stored and transported. This often means using locked containers or safes.
  • Registration and Licensing: Beyond magazine restrictions, gun owners must register their firearms and obtain necessary licenses, which involves background checks and safety courses.
  • Awareness of Prohibited Firearms: Knowledge of the prohibited firearms list is essential to avoid inadvertent violations.
Why the Need for Magazine Capacity Limits?

The Canadian Firearms Act and its accompanying regulations dictate the magazine capacity for various firearms:

  • Handguns typically have a ten-round limit.
  • Most rifles and shotguns don’t have a specific limit, but certain conditions might impose one.
  • Devices that can convert firearms to full-automatic fire or magazines designed for automatic firearms are generally prohibited.

These restrictions aim to bolster public safety while ensuring responsible firearm ownership.

Consequences of Overstepping Magazine Limits

Violating magazine capacity restrictions can lead to:

  • Criminal Charges: This could result in fines, a criminal record, or even imprisonment.
  • Firearm Confiscation: Law enforcement might permanently confiscate firearms that breach capacity regulations.
  • License Revocation: A violation could lead to the revocation of a firearm license, barring the individual from future firearm ownership in Canada.
  • Additional Repercussions: Beyond legal penalties, violators might face reputational damage, restrictions on future firearm ownership, and challenges in obtaining specific permits.

Canada’s magazine capacity restrictions are a testament to the country’s commitment to balancing individual rights with public safety. As responsible citizens and gun owners, understanding and adhering to these regulations is our duty. 

Want to stay updated on Canada’s firearm regulations? Visit getdefended.ca for comprehensive insights and expert advice.

Get In Touch

Contact Calvin Barry Today.

Contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer in Toronto to fight for your case.

Book a Free Consultation