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Old 01-20-2012, 05:44 PM   #1
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Default Safety while traveling, gun laws in Canada

Wow! this got my attention... As I read it - the incident occurred somewhere along Hwy 16 in Alb. or B.C. - correct? This is not the first alert regarding that hiway that I've read.
Realizing that we live in sunny Arizona (land of drug cartels, gang wars & illegal border crossing)
and, we have travelled all across this great land (U.S & Mexico & Central America) - we Do know how to stay out of harms way... But is Western Canada as bad/worse than S.W. US because of the isolation & distances??
We are trying to plan our Summer Expedition through B.C. to Yukon & Alaska. I want to drive Hwy 16 to 37 (Cassiar). We will camp in our RoadTrek along the way.
SO, although I'm not a gun NUT(NRA) I do own a couple & living in the land of 2nd Amendment frenzy I Wonder - What are the gun laws in Canada? I've heard that hunting rifles & shotguns can be taken in legally/declared... How about for protection from bears &/or worse - Human Predators? Any thoughts out there?? Thnx, RIC.
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Safety while traveling, gun laws in Canada

I split the above post from Missing couple's motorhome found on fire because it can be a separate topic.
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Old 01-20-2012, 08:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Safety while traveling, gun laws in Canada

O.K. thanks! I'll do a GOOGLE search as well. But I do appreciate 1st hand info. if any one has personal experience. Thnx, Ric.
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Old 01-20-2012, 10:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Safety while traveling, gun laws in Canada

I don't know anything about the gun laws and traveling to Canada. Someone else will have to help with that.

The story in that link is shocking. I don't think what happened is a common occurrence at all. Those type of events seem to be very random. Just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

One good habit is to keep all of your RV doors locked when traveling. When you stop for gas etc. you don't want someone getting in the side door and surprising you when you resume your trip. A Class B differs from the larger Classes of RV's in that there is fewer places for an intruder to hide. I remember reading a story where an intruder entered an RV through the side door when the RV was stuck in traffic. I've also read where RV'ers in Class B's if overnighting in a parking lot etc. make sure to have a clear exit path to drive away quickly and easily. They won't drive into a spot with a curb blocking the front of it for example.
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Old 01-20-2012, 10:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Safety while traveling, gun laws in Canada

Three of us were in my Class C and we overnighted in a nearly empty campground once.
We noticed crime scene tape preventing access to the washrooms
Our imaginations started to run wild. We started to think that the proprietors didn't look like typical campground hosts
Each of us trying to jokingly scare the others. We ended up all scared but putting on brave faces.
It was late, we had driven all day so we stayed but none of us got any quality sleep that night and we hit the road early

I think I had been reading a lot of Dean Koontz novels around that time.
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Old 01-20-2012, 11:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Safety while traveling, gun laws in Canada

Hi, RIC;
Living in Calgary, I've travelled on Hwy 16 many times. From Edmonton west to Jasper, there is a lot of traffic, particularly tourists. The section between Jasper and Prince George is a little lonelier, but certainly not deserted. Part of that stretch, particularly around Prince George, though has been nicknamed "Highway of tears" because of the disappearances over the years of a number of younger women, frequently first nations people, who have been hitchhiking. I don't consider it dangerous to travel. I have canoed and camped in the general area many times. I have seen bears, but I've never carried, nor needed, a gun. The idea that other visitors may have a gun worries me more than the wildlife.
Mount Robson Park, west of Jasper, is busy, as safe as any provincial park and well worth visiting.
I believe you can carry long guns (declared) into Canada. But don't keep it either loaded or very accessible.
I wouldn't change your plans to avoid the highway. It's a great drive.

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Old 01-21-2012, 01:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Safety while traveling, gun laws in Canada

Les; Thanks for the response/info in your post. I had read about "Hiway of tears", but hadn't related it to 'Native hitchhikers'. We have somewhat similar situation in Arizona & New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation (its Big). Wife & I drive across the Res. 4 or 5 times each year and have camped as well. Never have had any incident to make us worried (except slow drivers & left turners without signaling - but that happens everywhere we go). We see a lot of hitchers but they don't cause us any problem & they don't want to ride with us anyway.

We have travelled all over this Great Continent of North America (incl. Mexico & Western Canada) - never had a problem. And I Prefer NOT to carry a firearm (even on motorcycle).
I may not be typical/stereotype Arizonan, but even though I own a couple guns and grew-up hunting in Montana - I feel that having guns is usually more trouble than they are worth.
And, way More Problems if one is used even for self-defense. So I leave 'em locked-up at home & probably would this summer as well.
I appreciate your & Marko's input and look forward to our Big Adventure this summer.
The RoadTrek is being prep'd. Ric.
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: Safety while traveling, gun laws in Canada

Hi Ric,
markopolo and Les gave excellent advice. It's probably all you need to know.

That said,
I've become interested in the shooting sports in Canada over the last few years, and have taken
the required courses for legal firearms acquisition and possession, and hold a PAL for both R and NR firearms. To date, I have not purchased any firearms, but I have done some fairly extensive research, prior to making a purchase for some target shooting.
I'm certainly not an expert, and would add that as a caveat to the rest of this posting.

However, if you're really interested in "importing" your non-restricted firearms (basically rifles and shotguns with barrels longer than 18.5" and not less than 26" over all length when in compacted form) there is a some fairly wordy and somewhat complex info available at the CFP/RCMP (Canadian Firearms Program) website. You may also find some good info about how to go about bringing your rifle/shotgun with you when you visit or are just passing through at the CBSA website.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is our CBP equivalent, and they have significant input in the decision process of who and what gets into and out of Canada at the border. They might be the best place to start, if you decide you do want to "import temporary" into Canada.
Basically, up here in or around the early 1990s, they made the firearms laws so convoluted and arbitrarily restricted public access to firearms which you consider tame, that many people considering taking up the shooting sports just can't be bothered jumping through the hoops. We have no 2nd Amendment rights, and are treated accordingly by our firearms laws.
A little light reading.
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications ... 4-eng.html
http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/faq/im-ex-eng.htm#f1
http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/fs-fd/rp-eng.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Canada

You can stop reading here if that's enough to discourage you.

If you're really bored, read on........

Some quick basics of Canadian firearms law.
First off, there are 3 basic firearms classes in Canada since the 1950s which were realigned and made much more comprehensive in the 1990s.
Prohibited - means what it sounds like, get caught with one and you've got some serious "splainin' to do" on your way to jail (mostly full automatic rifles, SMGs, and some specific small calibers and very short handguns).
Restricted - require special authorization to carry to and from a certified/authorized gun club range, as that's the only place you can legally play with them. (centerfire AR style military looking assault rifles and almost all handguns).
Non-Restricted - everything else (all long guns including shotguns, rifles in all non-full automatic action types and configurations, and anything else that doesn't fall into the first 2 categories).

Some more specifics and some mythical tales about owning firearms in Canada,
With very few exceptions there is no CCW law. Carrying concealed is a felony everywhere.
As is transporting loaded, or firing from a vehicle. I won't even get into home storage of firearms, but I think it's pretty much the same as in the US, use common sense and don't let the good or bad guys access or steal them easily.
Almost all handguns, and some semi-automatic AR styled rifles are restricted, because they "look scary/military".
Full auto is prohibited, unless the firearms were acquired before the full automatic prohibition law was enacted (1950?). So if Grandad brought an MG42 back from Berlin in 1945, he can keep it until he dies. After that, the beneficiary of the automatic weapon probably has to surrender it for disposal, or donate it to a museum. The list of restricted "scary" guns is pretty long. Many of the weapons on it were put there in the 1990s (supposedly) by a select committee of government bureaucrats, who knew nothing about firearms, and just thumbed through firearms magazines and tossed what they saw on the whitelist and blacklist piles, based on whether they "looked like military style firearms".
Also many items considered innocuous to carry for self defense in the USA, are considered restricted or prohibited weapons in Canada. There is similar info on the RCMP CFP website describing some of them. For example, pepper spray designated as "Dog" or "Bear" spray is OK, but "Mace" or "Pepper Spray" (used by law enforcement on humans) is illegal/prohibited. Even though they are the same chemicals, just labeled differently.

In our defense, it is equally difficult for a Canadian to bring firearms into the US for any reason. I believe it is a felony level offense for a Canadian visitor to receive or possess a firearm while on American soil.
Also, I don't think you need to worry about self defense in Canada, any more than you would at home, if you use a little common sense and take care. In a pinch, a tire iron, or prybar, or even a claw hammer makes a statement, if necessary.
Hope this helps. Further questions? Fire away (pun intended).
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Safety while traveling, gun laws in Canada

Mike & Les; Thanks for all the feedback/info. You have both provided a lot of help in planning our Canada excursion this summer. And I do agree that other travelers/campers with firearms are more frightening than bears/wildlife if we use common sense.
I still like the plan of driving the Cassiar at least one direction (probably going north) & the Alaska Hwy coming back. I've read a lot of B.C. websites, so I think I have a fair idea of what to expect (Expect the Unexpected!). And we are both experienced (over 60yrs old) travelers.
So, we will probably leave the weaponry (& paranoia) at home & trust our instincts.
All Best regards, Ric.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Safety while traveling, gun laws in Canada

No problem, I'm glad to have confused or enlightened you on the pros and cons of traveling with weapons in Canada.
I wish it were simpler, but it's not.
I like your idea of up to Alaska (Juneau would be our only "must do/see") one way, and back down the other.
From the link Les posted, and what I read there, it looks like you're on your own for just about everything
except fuel/gas. Water, food, repairs, heating, cooling, medical, etc. sound like they're available on a
best efforts basis. It does sound like it could be a practical survivalist's dream come true.
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