Dealing with Firearms

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Although Canada requires a license to possess a firearm, an executor without such a license normally gains the same permissions as the deceased for the purposes of estate administration.


A firearm can normally remain in an estate for a reasonable amount of time while the estate is being settled. When you are ready to distribute a firearm, it is your responsibility to ensure that the intended recipient has a valid a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL). You can call the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) at 1-800-731-4000 to confirm the validity of a license.

Firearm Sales

If you will need the CFP to process a firearms transaction for you (i.e., you want to sell it, or it is a potentially prohibited firearm), you will first need to submit Declaration of Authority to Act on Behalf of an Estate (Form RCMP 6016) to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In fact, many estate lawyers recommend you submit a Form RCMP 6016 regardless of your intentions.


As of 2022, handguns are subject to significant restrictions, and an heir is not allowed to inherit a handgun unless he or she qualifies for an exemption (contact the provincial Chief Firearms Officer for further information about exemptions).

Consequently, an executor usually has the following choices:

  • Transfer or sell transfer the handgun to any person, museum, or business with a licence to acquire and possess that particular type of handgun
  • Lawfully export it (for information, contact Global Affairs Canada at 343-203-4331 or
  • Call the Canadian Firearms Program to get an approved gunsmith to deactivate it so it will no longer be subject to firearms restrictions
  • Dispose of it (see below)


To dispose of an unwanted firearm, simply contact a police or firearms officer and arrange to surrender it.

See also RCMP: Executors and Firearms.

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