Executors and Heirs: What to Do with Firearms

Unwanted Firearms

If there is no eligible heir, or if the heir does not wish to inherit a firearm, the estate may:

  • use the phone transfer process to sell or give the firearm to any person, museum, or business with a licence to have that particular class of firearm;
  • export it to a country that allows it; call Global Affairs Canada at 1-800-267-8376 for information;
  • call the CFP to get an approved gunsmith to deactivate it; this means it no longer meets the definition of a firearm and is exempt from the requirements of the Firearms Act;
  • call first and arrange for disposal of unwanted firearms with their local police service.



It may be possible to acquire a prohibited handgun if the firearm was manufactured before 1946, the heir is one of an identified class of persons, and the firearm has been registered in Canada before Dec 1, 1998.

Under these circumstances, anyone who acquires a prohibited handgun will have 12(7) printed on their firearms licence; it allows for the lawful possession of that particular firearm but does not authorize the acquisition of other prohibited handguns nor to import a firearm into Canada.


To inherit a firearm, you must:

  • be 18 years of age
  • hold a valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) with the correct privileges (i.e., non- restricted, restricted, prohibited).

Estate law may vary from province to province.
Generally, an executor has the same privileges to possess firearms as the deceased while the estate is being settled.


To act as the executor and to get information on the estate firearms, you must provide the following documents to the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP):

  • a completed form RCMP 6016 Declaration of Authority to Act on Behalf of an Estate
  • confirmation that the registered owner is deceased by providing:
    • the death certificate, or
    • letters of probate, or
    • a document (on letterhead) from a police department or coroner.

Even if you do not have a licence to have firearms, you can possess a firearm left in an estate for a reasonable amount of time while the estate is being settled. If a court has prohibited you from possessing firearms, you cannot take possession of firearms left in an estate. But you can still act as the executor and transfer the firearms to someone who can lawfully have them.

Within a reasonable time, you must ensure the firearms are transferred and registered to a properly licensed individual or business or dispose of the firearms safely and lawfully.

Until then, you must ensure that the firearms are safely stored. You must also determine if a valid firearms licence and registration certificate exist. If either document does not exist at the time of death, the CFP will work with you to resolve this situation.

Managing what Matters Most: Caring for a Legacy

We understand grieving the memory of loved ones is emotionally challenging. As a committed and dedicated partner in firearms safety, the Chief Firearms Office of Ontario aims To provide families, friends, executors and heirs with the assistance they need to manage the estate of those beloved ones who passed away. All across Ontario, firearms have played and continue to play an essential role in the life of many. For some, firearms are linked to formidable moments of gallantry on the battlefields of Europe. For others, they have been used for hunting and harvesting life for generations. Whatever the case may be, it is vital that the legacy left by those who came before us be managed with care.


50 Andrew Street South, Suite 201
Orillia, ON L3V 7T5

Telephone: 705-329-5522 Fax: 705-329-5623
Email: cfoon@cfp-pcaf.ca


Canadian Firearms Program
Ottawa, ON K1A 0R2

Telephone: 1-800-731-4000 Fax: 613-825-0297
Email: cfp-pcaf@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Website: rcmp.gc.ca/en/firearms