Dealing with FirearmsShow Table of Contents
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.
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.
There are significant changes occurring with respect to handgun laws and regulations. As of Oct 21, 2022, the Canadian government has generally banned the sale or transfer handguns within Canada via regulation from the Prime Minister's office. In practice, sales and transfers to authorized businesses are still permitted, as are sales or transfers to individuals with an Authorization to Carry. As this change is relatively recent, it is still a little unclear whether the "transfer" of handguns via inheritance, which otherwise would not need government permitting or approval, has been banned as well. There is an actual piece of related legislation (Bill C-21, see also synopsis) being debated within Parliament as of 2023, but this has not yet been passed into law.
To dispose of an unwanted firearm, simply contact a police or firearms officer and arrange to surrender it.
See also RCMP: Executors and Firearms.