Having a Truck Gun – Preparedness for uncertain times

For some time now, many legal gun owners have taken to carrying a "truck gun" - even here in Canada. Now with Coronavirus scares, we are seeing reports of an increase on gun and ammunition sales as concerned preppers stock up "just in case".

With more news coverage these days about viral pandemics, this may be a good opportunity to visit this aspect of personal preparedness with some perspective on the practicality and legality of having a firearm in the vehicle more often than one might usually, such as if they were not perhaps on their way to hunt or target shoot.

DISCLAIMER: This article is NOT intended to be taken as legal advice, although we will explore the legality by highlighting the current CFSC training material on "transport" of firearms. The author is not a lawyer, and the article is intended for information purposes only. The reader should conduct their own research and consult expert legal advice.

Legal aspects

Can you have a "truck gun" in your vehicle? Why yes. The Storage, Transportation, Display and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations permit a licenced gun owner to transport firearms in a vehicle. How that transport occurs, and whether any documentation is required, depends on the legal classification of the firearm.

For non-restricted firearms, such as most shotguns and rifles, the firearm simply needs to be unloaded. That's it.

There is no requirement to apply a secure locking device, fix the firearm into any bracket, holder or rack, nor cover it from view. Only when the vehicle and firearm are left unattended must it be locked in a trunk, or in the case of vehicles without trunks, hidden from view and the vehicle locked.

Suffice it to say, the firearm owner must always have their Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) on their person any time they have possession of a firearm.

The regulations do not speak to where the ammunition must be kept, other than it must not be in the firearm.

Practical aspects

Having a firearm in the vehicle means first and foremost being concerned with safely conveying that firearm. A firearm should never be loaded while in a vehicle, and it should be transported in a way that keeps it secure and maintains the muzzle in a safe direction.

The ammunition should be kept far away from the firearm, and the firearm should not be easily accessible by anyone else in the vehicle, particularly those who do not have a firearm licence.

Cabela's Seat-Back Gun Sling $24.99

Having a bracket or rack is a practical solution to keeping a truck gun from becoming a missile that could cause injury to occupants in the event of a crash. Cabela's offers this reasonably priced seat-back carrier system, that ensures your firearms are readily available when needed, but also securely fastened while being transported - Cabela's Seat-Back Gun Sling | Cabela's Canada $24.99.

The downsides

A firearm is a useful tool, but it will always be deemed a weapon in law, and in an area where game are located, could always arouse suspicions of game officers who are on the watch for poachers.

A "truck gun" in a vehicle that is used for hunting, in an area where hunting takes place, but when no game is in season, could be highly suspect and earn a poaching investigation.

A firearm left unattended in a vehicle is susceptible to theft attempts - which is why they must be left out of sight. It is important to take every reasonable step to reduce the likelihood of detection, perhaps by not being observed placing it in the vehicle, leaving shooting equipment, range bags or boxes of ammunition in view, and foregoing the firearms branded bumper stickers.

Leaving a firearm in an unattended vehicle for any lengthy period of time may also imply "storage" instead of transportation. To err on the side of caution and avoid legal liability, it is best to apply a trigger lock or cable lock to any firearm that is left in an unattended vehicle for a prolonged period. This method meets the storage requirements under the regulations, and goes beyond the more relaxed transportation requirements, which do not require a secure locking device.


The safest place for firearms is always under the control of a responsible person, or unloaded and securely locked away. However, for those who want to balance security of their firearm, and their own security and preservation, transporting a firearm in their vehicle on a more frequent basis - together with their "get home bag" or other essential survival preparedness supplies, such as a first aid kit, food, water, shelter, and means of communication, may make sense.

A "truck gun" - carried safely and responsibly - may be a part of that emergency preparedness solution.

Still need a firearms safety course (CFSC) in order to apply for your PAL? Check our list of upcoming courses!


Rifle Bans, Handgun Bans, and More

The Government of Canada has made it clear that there will shortly be actions on banning certain rifles, and future legislation that may allow cities to ban handguns.

It is thought that the preferred instrument for the rifle ban would be an "order in council" -- a type of legislation that does not require a debate before Parliament because the existing Firearms Act already has regulatory language that permits classification by this method.

As you may already know, firearms to which licencing applies in Canada are all regulated into one of three classes: non-restricted, restricted and prohibited. Firearms that do not require a licence include such things as low velocity pellet guns, and some black powder muzzleloaders.

Non-restricted firearms include a wide variety of so-called "long" guns, rifles and shotguns commonly used for hunting and sport shooting, as well as collecting, protection against wildlife, and even occupational uses. Restricted firearms include mainly handguns, but certain rifles and shotguns that are generally semi-automatics within the "AR-15" family and similar types of firearms commonly used for military and law enforcement purposes.

Finally, prohibited firearms can include a wide variety of handguns, rifles and shotguns that, for one reason or another, the government has deemed not desirable for civilian ownership.

Reclassification of a firearm into a more restricted category can either be done by the RCMP, which is tasked with determining the class of a new firearm, or in some cases reviewing the existing classification, or by the government of the day passing an "order in council" to name the firearm model and variants as one of the three classifications.

Exact regulations have not yet been announced, but gun control groups have named the Ruger Mini-14 (Cabela's Canada, $1,239.99) as one of the models of firearms they would like to see classed as prohibited (most models are currently non-restricted).

Another firearm likely slated for prohibition could be all models of the SKS (Cabela's Canada, $189-$399), which is another magazine-fed semi-automatic in a larger calibre.

There is no telling when these new changes could be put into effect, but as they do not require Parliamentary debate to take effect, there is no need for the government to await Parliament to sit, and it is expected they will rise for the holidays shortly. In practical terms, however, clerks responsible for drafting the regulations will likely also get a holiday break, and so it would be realistic to expect these changes no sooner than February of next year.

For those hoping to own one of these rifles before the axe comes down, time is running short.

The government has not clearly stated so yet, but owners of these firearms may be grandfathered (allowed to keep owning them) if past experience is indicative. Otherwise, keep your sales receipts, as there has also been talk of compensation being given for turning the firearms in.

Keep in mind as well that regulations are just as easily overturned by future governments with differing policies.


“Restricted” Firearm Misinformation

There has been much discussion during the recent months, and especially during the current election period, about potential handgun bans and "restricted" firearms. We frequently get queries during our training courses about these topics and the impact that any legislative changes may have on firearm ownership in Canada.

News Releases

Firearms course fees raised for 2019

The Chief Firearms Officer of Ontario has authorized a higher amount for CFSC and CRFSC course fees in the province, effective February 14, 2019.

The price increase coincides with increases to the cost to instructors for purchasing the examinations., like other businesses and individuals offering the CFSC and CRFSC courses, has decided to increase our fees in line with the maximum allowed by the CFO.

The new price will be $300 (plus HST) for the combined CFSC and CRFSC courses and exams, beginning with our February 23-24 course.

Periodically, we offer promotions and discounts through the year, and in 2018, we discounted all our courses by 10% in recognition of 10 years of operation.

For more information about the authorized course fees in Ontario, see the Firearms Safety Education Service of Ontario (FSESO) website,


Bill C-71 is Coming, Are You Ready?

The federal government has briskly moved Bill C-71, an Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms through the various legislative stages and it has recently reached third reading, with a referral to the Senate, in late September.

Firearms owners, and prospective firearms owners, should know and understand the changes being proposed under this new law.


Cities Moving To Ban Handguns, Are You Affected?

The city of Toronto recently passed a motion that would "ban handguns" within the city limits. Other cities, such as Hamilton, are looking at following suit. But what does the motion really mean and does it affect you as an individual firearm owner or prospective owner?

The move comes in the wake of several high-profile crimes involving firearms that have attracted media attention lately, and in a year in which the federal government is already looking at making changes to existing gun laws in Canada through Bill C-71.


Carry an IFAK

Many shooters today, particularly those with military or policing experience, know the value in carrying an individual first aid kit, or "IFAK". But every shooter should consider carrying one, given that sometimes accidents happen and life-saving medical assistance can be minutes away when seconds count.

What goes in to an IFAK to make it effective are the bare-bones basic trauma management items that will give the greatest chance to save a life in the rare event of a firearms injury.


The Impact of Bill C-71

The Liberal government has proposed legislation that will impact firearms owners in Canada. While the details of the proposed Bill C-71 may yet change, it is important for those currently licenced to own firearms, and those considering obtaining a licence in the near future, to consider the possible changes that may happen should the legislation pass.

CZ858 and Swiss Arms Rifles Return to Prohibited Class

The popular CZ858 and Swiss Army Classic Green rifles were at first non-restricted rifles in the Canadian market, until an RCMP review re-classified them as prohibited. At that time, many who owned the rifles were concerned that the change would result in a need to give up ownership of their rifles.

The government of the day, under former PM Stephen Harper, passed legislation that added an "order-in-council" clause under the "non-restricted" class of firearms, similar to what already exists for restricted and prohibited firearms. This meant the government could pass a regulation designating a firearm as non-restricted, even though the regulatory agency (the RCMP) had determined a firearm fell into another class.

This authority is widely used in the other two classifications. For example, AR-15 variant rifles are classed as restricted because of an order-in-council, even though most versions do not fall under any other clause in the restricted category.

Bill C-71 proposes to remove the order-in-council clause for non-restricted firearms, and re-class the CZ858 and the Swiss Arms rifles back in the prohibited class. Existing owners of the rifles would be "grandfathered" - in other words, they may keep the rifles, but may only sell, give or loan the rifles to others who have the same grandfathered category on their licence.

The legislation gives a deadline of June 30, 2018. If a licence holder does not own one of the affected rifles on that date, they will be unable to own the rifle and cannot be grandfathered.

Lifetime Background Checks

Under the proposed legislation, the mandatory background check during the licencing process will extend to the full lifetime of the applicant, as opposed to the most recent 5 years that is currently the case.

The RCMP revokes and denies only a small number of licence applications every year, and this measure will likely not have any significant impact on that figure.

Mandatory Verification for Transfers

Currently, to transfer a firearm, the transferor (i.e. the vendor) is not required to verify the receiver (buyer) has a valid licence, although this is normally the practice with most retailers and in all online sales.

This will mainly effect private transfers, for example between two members at a shooting club. Even if the seller has no reason to believe the buyer is unlicenced, for example the club they belong to requires a PAL to join and they have seen the buyer bringing and using other firearms there, the law will now require the seller to verify the PAL status of the buyer.

The legislation has not defined what verification involves, but it is believed that the seller would be required to query the buyer's PAL through the RCMP for each transfer, to ensure it is still valid and has not been revoked or cancelled.

Ending Automatic ATTs for Certain Situations

Bill C-71 will have a major impact on the current legislation that requires provincial CFOs to issue an ATT as a "special condition" attached to each restricted PAL holder. Those "automatic ATTs" as they are called, include several routine reasons for transporting a restricted firearm the previous government sought to standardize and automate across Canada.

Transporting a restricted firearm to a gunsmith for repair, to/from a border crossing to exit or enter Canada, or to a gun show are among the automatic ATT reasons that would be removed from the special conditions that are now issued.

Target shooting would be the sole "automatic" ATT issued, allowing restricted firearms owners to transport their handguns and restricted rifles and shotguns to an approved shooting range for the period their PAL is valid.

All other reasons for transporting a restricted-class firearm would require the owner of the firearm to contact their provincial CFO for a short term ATT.


There are a handful of other changes proposed in Bill C-71 that will mainly effect government, and not directly impact the end-users, such as information retention, and forfeitures in the event of firearm seizures.

The largest and most immediate impact will be to those who are currently looking at getting a firearms licence, and who wished to own the CZ858 or Swiss Arms Classic Green family of rifles. After June 30, 2018, this may not be possible and those who are interested in owning these firearms will need to act quickly to get licenced, and purchase these soon to be prohibited rifles.



Tactical Rifle Made for Canadian Market

One of the difficulties in finding a good tactical rifle in the Canadian market is that so many of them are classified as "restricted" and thus, require authorizations to transport, and may only be fired at approved shooting ranges.

These popular rifles are common for some shooting sports, such as IPSC "3-gun" matches, but because of their restricted class, target practice outside of a shooting range is difficult. For some sports shooters, the ability to practice safely in a non-range environment is an important consideration, for example on rural property where firearms use is permitted.


CFSC/CRFSC Student Handbooks No Longer Sold

CFSC/CRFSC Student Handbooks will no longer be sold directly from our website or through our courses. Though we continue to offer high-quality Canadian Firearms Safety Courses (CFSC) and Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Courses (CRFSC) to the community, we recently have made a decision to stop making the Student Handbooks available for sale.

For those who are booking our courses and who wish to purchase one of the official handbooks published by the RCMP, you must now order them from the Firearms Safety Education Service of Ontario (FSESO) at 1-877-322-2345 ext. 102.

For more information on ordering these manuals, please visit the FSESO website.

We will continue to make the Student Handbooks available for loan during our courses, but they must be returned upon completion of the course.

Do I Need the Student Handbook?

We encourage students to purchase or obtain the student handbook as the course format closely follows the progression of the included chapters. Also, the multimedia graphics are often based on the book illustrations.

That said, the course is designed in a way that you do not require the book. Also, the older version(s) of the books contain considerably similar content, and often can be borrowed from a library or someone who has previously taken the course.

In addition, the CFSC/CRFSC Student Handbook can be found in an electronic version (PDF file) directly from the RCMP, here. You can print the PDF and bring this with you, or use a tablet or laptop during the course in order to access the PDF.

As you can see, there are many alternatives to purchasing the handbook from us. We encourage you to consider one of the alternatives that best suits you.