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Crossing the Canada/US border with guns
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Dan Hiebert
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

Border Patrol is green (Border Patrol Agents), works the border between ports of entry, Field Operations is blue (CBP Officers), works at the ports of entry. Canada Border Services Agency works the Canadian ports of entry, RCMP (Mounties) work the border on occasion. Canada doesn't have a border patrol like the U.S. (I'm one of the aforementioned green guys.) I mention that because someone in this thread said Border Patrol tossed their car at the POE. Canada has strict firearms and weapons laws, and even stricter firearms and weapons import laws. Most handguns are simply prohibited, you can't even get a transit waiver for any pistol with a barrel less than 3.75". Switchblades, folding knives with a blade more than 3", mace, pepper spray, batons, etc. are all prohibited import items. It is always best to do your homework for hunting or competition firearms and "weapons" before you get to the Canadian border. IdahoDoug is correct, neither CBP or CBSA will hold a weapon for your return, what's more, if you don't register firearms for import/export in either direction, that is illegal and it will be seized, and you could be prosecuted, depending on the circumstances. There is an intentionally discouraging fee to register firearms to take into Canada.

Last edited by Dan Hiebert on Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Gauche1968
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

IdahoDoug wrote:
Just a directional comment that you cannot leave handguns at the border on either side. They make no provision for that whatsoever. I don't want someone here arriving at a border crossing expecting to hand over their Colt through the window. Presenting yourself at the border with contraband of any kind is a bad idea.

On the 18" thing - again you cannot just show up. Thats a size limit Canada has had in the past but you cannot show up with a conforming long gun and expect to get across anymore.

I would strongly urge anyone contemplating a firearm and Canadian passage to consult their latest rules on the website as they can and do change. You have to fill out a lot of forms and I think there is advance fee paying as well before you arrive.

On pepper spray, they seem fine if you say "Bear spray" and the canister is that type. But they frown on self defense comments and canisters designed for that. Know the rules - especially if you are in a van with a looooong history of imagery and reputation.

We love Canada and BC is a favorite destination for our family.


Good info. Yep, generally speaking "self-defense" is not a legitimate reason to possess a firearm in Canada. You can own one for hunting, to take care of nuisance animals or for hobby, collecting or other sporting purposes, but Canadian law generally does not recognize a right to own firearms for self-defense.
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Mike Robinson
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

Unless you are coming into Canada for a hunting holiday, you won't need your guns. Just leave them at home.

However carrying or 'packing' bear spray is a good idea (very, very unlikely you will need it)

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

Yep.
Interesting comment on the bear spray. My version was actually labeled as a whoop ass home defense spray but it was the same size as the big bear spray canisters. They let me in with it. I do know that smaller size personal defense pepper spray is not allowed. But this thing was large enough that May West would have been glad to see me. 😀😂
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AndyBees
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

We have crossed the border numerous times since 1986 with our Vanagons. We were searched one time in 1999. I seriously believe the two very young employees (literally a boy and girl, probably under age 21) had nothing to do. So, they gave them something to do, search my Van. We talked with them the entire time they searched the Van.

Basically, before 9/11, all you had to do was declare your gun at the border (no handguns though). I took my rifle in 1986 and 1993. They never ask to see them.

Today, as Dan Hiebert stated, you must print off a form from the Internet, fill it out (do not sign or date), have cash ready for permit (or maybe pay in advance), declare at border and then when told, sign and date for the transaction. Several of my friends who go to Saskatchewan to hunt go through that procedure every year. Seems the fee is $50.00 per gun. It is all on-line.

In 2014, 2016 and this past summer, we pulled a pop-up camper with the Vanagon and were only ask the basic questions, no searches! I've never been ask if I have a conceal carry permit.
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Gruppe B
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

There are border stores on the American side (Minnesota) that offer gun storage while travelling to Canada. This may also be available in other states.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

Bassyaks wrote:
I was told, handguns had to be left at the boarder and could be picked up on the way out and long guns could enter.


I was traveling with a GF years ago who insisted they would let her into Canada with her pistol. After a long argument I gave in knowing that she would end up very upset if her treasure was confiscated or we ended up jailed for a while. We weren't asked about guns by the initial agent we faced, but when he began filling out a form to to have our vehicle searched I declared the firearm.

We had to go through a full search with drug sniffing dogs and such which took two hours, only to be told we would have to return the gun to the US if we weren't willing to just let them dispose of it. They went through all our stuff doing things like taking the GF's lipstick tubes apart, it really upset her but having been through a really mean search coming back into the US from Mexico this one seemed tame. The dogs however were really attracted to some new silicone I had used to seal a water leak in the body and I was afraid they might start tearing the body apart. We were eventually allowed to return to the US where we left the gun with the local police or sheriff. It took months to recover the gun later, they wouldn't give it back to us on our return over the boarder and then require reams of paper work to get it through the mail. I would just hide it out in the bushes if I were to do it again, I would think that would give a much better chance of recovering it than to let the police get "temporary" possession of it.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

I have only crossed once in a westy and I was searched.
When I pressed them, they said it was because I was dating a canadian girl and they wanted to check me out.
They even looked through my phone.
I do not do well with authority figures.
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

It's actually a Devil's Club leaf
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

My wife and I go to Vancouver BC from Washington State at least 4 times a year. We both have a NEXUS Pass/Global Entry/TSA Pre/"trusted traveler" status with the Dept of Homeland Security so between their license plate readers, cameras and the chips in our passports and NEXUS cards, I figure they know who we are well before we actually pull up to the booth. They ask the standard questions about where we are coming from and going to, sometimes ask where we are staying and ask if we have anything to declare. I've been ask only once if I had any firearms and I've never been searched.

I ALWAYS assume they already know the answers to most of their questions so being dishonest would be foolish... When we are returning to the US we keep all our receipts for things we buy in Canada and have them and any items to declare close at hand and ready for them to inspect. Hasn't happened yet.

Two years ago when I crossed at Blaine WA the first thing the Canadian Customs officer said was "nice van", then he asked what engine I had and we talked "Bostig" for a few minutes before he said "have a nice day, please proceed". Laughing

Last week I was asked by a State Patrol Officer with a German Shepard if I had a Concealed Carry Permit while waiting in line for the WA State Ferry in Kingston... She said her dog was "interested" in my van and continued to ask me a number of other questions about when the last time I had firearms, fire works and or ammunition in my van.
I looked straight at her and kept my hands on the steering wheel while being polite and truthful and finally she thanked me and told me to have a nice day. Cool I don't think it was her dog that was interested in my van... Laughing
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

turbotransporter wrote:

Two years ago when I crossed at Blaine WA the first thing the Canadian Customs officer said was "nice van", then he asked what engine I had and we talked "Bostig" for a few minutes before he said "have a nice day, please proceed". Laughing


I think I had the same guy once. He asked if I bought new tires when in the US. When I said "no, I bought these in Canada about a year ago" he said "those BFGs sure wear well. I"ll have to get some."
I think he said he had a DOKA.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

It's hilarious that people are fearful enough to carry a pacifier in the US then meekly surrender it to cross the border. One would think that would compute differently in the logic tree
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

Abscate,

I agree. It's even remarkable that we "surrender" it when we go to states that are far more dangerous than our own state and a slew of other things.

I'm sorry in advance for starting this and taking his bait, but Mike above saying "you won't need..." is just preposterous. How about you let me decide that? How about we discuss how nice it would be to go backpacking around Revelstoke this time of year but the grizzlies are in their frantic "pack on fat" mode and since I can't bring appropriate protection my dollars will be spent in Montana instead?

I know there is no simple answer and I'm starting a fight here but as Abscate says it is ridiculous that 150 years ago we could go anywhere we wanted with personal protection in a world that was arguably much safer than the times we now live in.

Doug
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

if you plan to use a handgun on a grizzly, be sure to file the sights off first
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

If you're traveling someplace where you think you'll need guns for "protection", then perhaps it's time to revisit your travel itinerary.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

The Mile Post (editions printed in the 1980s) suggested to have a rifle or shotgun if you planned to visit certain areas of Alaska due to bears. In fact, when I crossed the border into Canada at Portal, ND in 1993 I mentioned the suggestion of the Mile Post to the border agent. He laughed about it and ask if he could copy the page. When we were crossing back into Canada on the "Top of the World Road" going into the Yukon, the border agent also chuckled and said, you need a shotgun with buckshot, not a rifle.

After two trips without any bear issues, I chose to not ever take a gun again!

Of course, that was many years ago and obviously things have changed.

Side note: In August, 1997 (two weeks after we were there) a bear killed a couple of people at Liard Hot Springs, BC. Seems a tourist (Canadian) ran all the way back to the parking lot and got a gun and went back and killed the bear. There was a National Geographic documentary about the incident.

Here is the story but no details about the shooter.... http://www.nnsl.com/frames/newspapers/1997-08/aug22_97bear.html

Here is a story with more detail: http://articles.latimes.com/1997/aug/17/news/mn-23311

YouTube comments and photo of the lady who died: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVfO0XKbcdU
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

Ah, I'd never revamp my itinerary or the places I travel just because the world's most beautiful carnivores live there as well. But I would revamp it if misguided humans prevented me from going there safely.

And yes, bring the big stuff. I favor a short barreled 12g pump with magnum slugs, pistol grips and the first round small shot, after decades of sharing air with bears. I'd rue the day I had to act with it - animals are by far my favorite thing to see, whether its in the remote woods, or my own backyard.

Doug
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

Odd priorities.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

Odd priorities? Why would you question AndyBees' choice of the "Top of the World Road"? I think that was a great call.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Crossing the Canada/US border with guns Reply with quote

I love everything about mountain lions, but I would never intentionally put myself in a conflict position in which I might need to use deadly force against one just because I wanted to be near them. That's both dumb and selfish. I've been in grizzly territory near False Pass Alaska, where we had recently spotted them from the boat. My travel companion had a .306 rifle, and that didn't seem remotely adequate. Never again. Not worth it, as well as a pointless pursuit of potential conflict. Canada doesn't want our guns and for good reason. Honor their wishes, or STFU
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