Life and Death > Weaponry

Gun Availability in Canada?


Hi everyone,

I'm glad I found this site!  I've been working on a cozy for a few years now, but I'm stuck on a few details. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

My mystery takes place in Quebec in a town near the river, and the killer is a woman. 

Would it be a stretch for her to use a gun? Where would she get a gun at short notice?  She has a few underworld contacts since she deals in stolen artwork.  But wouldn't it be risky for her to buy a murder weapon from someone she knows?  Since it's a small town with a very low crime rate, the contact would be bound to know how his gun was used when he hears about it on the news.  Am I overthinking this? 

What about a silencer?  Are they hard to get on the black market? 

I thought she might just steal a gun and silencer from someone with a licensed weapon collection, but that seems a bit contrived.

I'm not married to the idea of a gun.  It just happens to fit some scenes really well..  Anyone know of a good list of alternative murder weapons?


Bob Mueller:
Canadian gun laws are fairly strict, and suppressors are heavily regulated, in that if you don't own one now, you can't get a permit to own one; you had to have owned the suppressor prior to 1995.

Wiki is probably a good place to start:

As for illegal possession? Sure, it happens. I recall reading several years ago when the Canadian long gun registration went into effect that the compliance rate was very low. At any rate, it's certainly possible to get guns illegally in Canada.

As far as gun vs knives or other weapons, guns give you a distance between the killer and the victim. Knives are personal. Knives are intimate. You can't be fifteen feet away with a knife. You have to be right up close to your victim, and you'll smell their sweat and fear, and feel the blade punch through the skins and tissue, and grind against the bone. It depends on what your character is like, unless the murder happens in a jealous rage.

Oh, and welcome!

Old Bill:
Welcome Picaroon. This is a good site for info from a lot of experienced people.

Don't know much about Canadian gun laws, so I'll just ramble here.  You can't over think it...every little tidbit could be a lead in another direction or manner by which the antag is tripped up.  Bob is right about knives being personal and I believe women would prefer a more impersonal way to commit murder...poison, vehicle, gun.  If your murderer got a gun from one of her contacts, and he/she became a problem for her later, then she could just add one more body to the count. I doubt that silencers (or noise suppression devices) are readily available on the black market and they're effectiveness is iffy at best.  Would she need one?

Sorry I can't be of more help, but maybe one of our other members has better suggestions.  Good luck with your story.  Keep us posted if you want.

Old Bill

Hi Bob/Bill,

Thanks for the replies.  Yes, that is what I am thinking too- since the killer is female my weapon choices are limited.  She would need to act from a safe distance. 

In the prologue I was going to have the killer stalk and ultimately kill the victim in the streets at night, so a gun seemed like the only choice.  A silencer seemed necessary since the gunshot would otherwise make a ridiculous amount of noise.  But I just couldn't imagine how someone could purchase a gun in one day, in Canada, to commit a murder. Especially with a silencer and laser sight (apparently sights can be purchased in sporting goods stores, but now I am asking my reader to believe she went through even more trouble to assemble her own weapon!).

Anyway, last night I decided to make the killer a MALE ex-cop (security guard), and the murder now takes place at a construction site during the day.  This solves the gun availability problem (ex-cop might have underworld contacts?), and a silencer isn't necessary since I'm assuming a gunshot could be mistaken for a nail gun or other construction noise.  Unfortunately, I can no longer use two planned dramatic scenes involving the laser sight.  But as Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch said, sometimes we have to murder our darlings..

Thanks again!

Dave Freas:
Welcome Picaroon.

Two things to add to what's been said:
1/ If you settle on a silenced handgun as your murder weapon, use an automatic (or more properly, a semi-automatic).  Silencers are ineffective when used on revolvers because the sound of the shot can escape between the cylinder and the barrel.
2/ There are ways to jury-rig silencers.  Anything that will 'contain' the sound of the gunshot will work.  An empty 2-liter soda bottle (It can be filled with steel wool if she wants) held over the muzzle is one.  Pressing the muzzle against a pillow and shooting through it is another.

Hope this helps.



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