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U.S. travelers must declare guns when entering Canada, border agency says

A campaign by the Canadian Border Services Agency aims to raise awareness about Canadian gun laws for travelers from the United States – and to encourage them to leave their guns at home.

Gun seizures in the agency’s Pacific Highway District were up 116 percent between Jan. 1 and July 31, compared to the same period last year, the agency said. That district includes the border crossing in Blaine.

Most of the guns seized, the agency said, come from U.S. travelers trying to enter Canada with the weapons.

Travelers planning to bring their guns into Canada must declare them to border officials. Guns that aren’t declared will be seized, and travelers can face criminal prosecution or deportation. Travelers declaring guns are also required to provide a valid purpose for bringing the gun into Canada, which could include hunting, using the gun in a competition or to have it repaired.

Travelers may be required to provide documentation for the weapon, too. All guns must be properly stored for transportation.

If a traveler declares the gun but does not have the proper documentation or other import requirements, officers may allow the owner to send the gun back home at the officers’ discretion. The officer may also detain the gun, give the owner a receipt and allow a reasonable amount of time to meet the requirements to bring the gun into Canada.

Even though Canada’s laws do allow travelers to bring guns into the country under very limited circumstances once the firearm is declared, officials are still urging travelers from the U.S. to leave them at home.

Information on how to import and export guns into and out of Canada are at the agency’s website at http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/. Type “import firearms” in the search field and click the first result.

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan

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