Policy Memorandum


Classification of Firearms

Policy Memorandum No.:


Replaces (if applicable):


To be read with (if applicable):

15-1 (Licensing) and 15-2 (Mandatory Training)

Passed by Policy Committee:

16 September 2015

Passed by Board of Directors

23 September 2015


Firearms should be classified based on objective, readily identifiable, criteria that are relevant to their safe use and operation by properly trained and licensed individuals. No firearm should be prohibited.

Rationale and Discussion:

While the CCFR believes that it is people who should be regulated, and not firearms, and that any properly trained and vetted individual can be safe with any firearm, the CCFR does recognize that there are differences between firearms which ought to require additional training to ensure public safety. The training required to safely operate a rifle or shotgun is different from the training required to safely operate a handgun, and the training required to operate a fully-automatic firearm is different still.

The CCFR proposes three classes of firearm, based on dimensions and function. Dimensions are used rather than “handgun” or “long gun” because the terms leave room for interpretation whereas dimensions do not. Similarly, functions leaves no room for interpretation because a firearm is either fully automatic or it is not. The classes would be as follows:

  1. Class I Firearms (typically rifles and shotguns) would be any firearm that is not fully automatic, that has a barrel length of at least 300 mm, AND an overall length of at least 600 mm.
  2. Class II Firearms (typically handguns) would be any firearm that is not fully automatic AND:
  1. (a)  has a barrel length less than 300 mm OR
  2. (b)  an overall length less than 600 mm.

3. Class III Firearms would be any firearm that is fully automatic.

The CCFR does not suggest any additional restrictions based on the class of firearm beyond the level of training required. Any use that is lawful and safe by a licensed user with the proper endorsement for that class of firearm ought to be permitted. This is consistent with the presumption that firearm users and owners are law-abiding and safe.