Firearm owner numbers rising

The number of Canadian firearm owners increased in 2023.

There were 2,352,504 Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) holders as of Dec. 31. This is an increase from 2022’s 2,264,755. Ontario residents held the most licences with 667,726, of which 418,879 were non-restricted, 234,719 were restricted and 14,126 were prohibited.

Ontario also had a small increase in the number of firearm licence holders. Only Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory have more than 10% of the population with PALs. Although figures don’t show it, there is a concern among many gun owners that the number of older shooters who are hanging up their guns or dying is not being offset by new gun owners.

Asked if there was a particular demographic where numbers increased, RCMP spokesperson Robin Percival said the Canadian Firearms Program has not observed a significant change relating to any particular demographic in recent years.

“The number of PAL holders for particular sectors of the PAL holder population has remained largely constant from year to year,” she said.

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