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Old 14-01-2015, 12:39   #1
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Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

Note: I am NOT starting this thread as another "pro vs. con" discussion of carrying handguns or guns on boats while cruising in most locations or in general.

I am starting this as a thread where some notice can be made of the few cruising locations where a gun IS required by the local authorities or strongly suggested or tolerated by them. These are only a few locations and may be rarely visited by any cruisers.

Why would authorities require travelers there to have a long gun or a local guide who carries a long gun?
These areas may have populations of Polar Bears (or other bears) that may be a hazard to travelers spending time in the wild.

Why is this of interest to me?
Because I hope to see some of those locations (e.g. Svalbard, Canada) and having spent some time alone in the wild woods of backcountry Alaska, I am aware of the danger bears can pose to people who walk the shores or woods.
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While reading another very long thread on this forum, a thread on another topic, it was mentioned that in some locations guns are required by local authorities or tolerated by them, due to some possibly dangerous wildlife in those areas.

I am starting this thread to simply make this topic available (to break it out of the other topic where it was "off topic"). I found the mention of places where guns are required or tolerated to be interesting because it was so unlike the many other "gun threads" that focus on places where guns are NOT tolerated or advised to take while cruising.

The few places mentioned by others where local authorities require a long gun (rifle or shotgun) to be taken or available with a local "monitor" (a local guide with a gun) are Svalbard island (a territory of Norway) and possibly some locations in northern Canada.

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Please keep this discussion on the topic of places where the local authorities require or suggest or tolerate carrying a long gun for protection from wildlife.
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Old 14-01-2015, 12:52   #2
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re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

I can think of only 1.. The North West Passage.. Not only do they suggest you carry at least 1 gun, they almost insist on it.
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Old 14-01-2015, 13:04   #3
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re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

Ooops…I notice a typo in the thread title. Should read "Authorities." Perhaps a forum moderator can change that, as I do not know how to correct or edit a thread title.
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Old 14-01-2015, 15:50   #4
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

I think you nailed it. That's all I know of.

I hear that you really don't want to shoot a bear in Labrador, the authorities may be worse than the bear.

Canadian customs can be prickly over guns on-board. Depends upon the official.

I went through St Pierre and the French didn't much seem to care. Wanted to know they were on the boat and stowed, that's it.

Didn't make it to Greenland. Common sense kicked in.
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Old 14-01-2015, 15:51   #5
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
I can think of only 1.. The North West Passage.. Not only do they suggest you carry at least 1 gun, they almost insist on it.


The same used to go for Svalbard (Spitsbergen).
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Old 15-01-2015, 06:12   #6
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

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I can think of only 1.. The North West Passage.. Not only do they suggest you carry at least 1 gun, they almost insist on it.
I think "almost" is the operative word here. There are a couple of places where the authorities will happily tolerate guns, and even suggest that it is a good idea to have one. There is no place that I know of where they will actually REQUIRE you to have one.
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Old 15-01-2015, 06:30   #7
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

A family sailing video mentioned a "required" gun. Can't remember the video name, the boats name was "Driver" I think. May have been Greenland, they rented a long gun for this area.
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Old 15-01-2015, 06:35   #8
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

I remembered "ice blink" is the video. Also checkout "boats bears and beaches" sailing in Alaska.
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Old 15-01-2015, 06:47   #9
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

In Canada you can take a long gun where ever you want(within reason) but pistols have been tightly controlled since 1932 and you can not legally carry them anywhere including the north country. I did a lot of float flying years ago and I sometimes carried a 44 mag but it was not legal. I also had a little 22 that the barrel came off and stored in the plastic stock which would float, handy little gun, took a small caribou with it in the NW territories.
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Old 15-01-2015, 06:52   #10
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

A quick update to above.. You can legally carry a pistol in Canada with the correct license. They are very hard to get and are usually only issued to trappers, but they do exist. My grandfather had a license and carried a pistol on his trap line.

I don't think that license is available to foreigners.

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Old 15-01-2015, 06:53   #11
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

Excerpted from “Safety in Svalbard”:

“... For protection from polar bears, a rifle calibre.308 Win, or higher, is recommended, but unless the user is familiar with the weapon and has had sufficient training with a gun, the sense of safety provided by weapons is deceptive. Never embark on a trip without necessary know-how in this field...
... Taking loaded weapons into settlements is prohibited and weapons must be carried in such a way that everybody can see they are unloaded...”

http://www.sysselmannen.no/Documents...Eng_Znz9W.pdf/
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Old 15-01-2015, 06:53   #12
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

I've flown all over Canada's North West Territories and there is a long list of required items. A gun is not required but I believe suggested. I carried a 12 GA Mossburg defender or similar name with a folding stock so it would fit. I had to pay for some kind of permit and while clearing in can normally be done over the phone, apparently not when there is a gun. I would imagine same rules apply for airplanes and boats.
It's best if you fill out the forms and have them sent in before you show up. I think they like being told there is a gun beforehand.
One word of note though, apparently don't even consider a handgun, they frown very heavily on those and I guess one is not allowed under any circumstances. No one cared about types and amounts of ammo either, or how the gun or ammo was secured.
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Old 15-01-2015, 06:54   #13
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

I would think the entire Canadian Arctic- not just the Northwest Passage. I know there aren't a lot of cruisers up there but I know there's a vibrant boating seen on the Great Slave Lake, the McKenzie River and the Beaufort Sea. As well as James and to a lesser degree Hudson Bay.
This is only the Canadian Arctic I'm referring to though. I wouldn't recommend clearing into Toronto or Halifax and saying you need your gun for protection
I know commercial sailors in the Canadian Arctic tend to have a suitable gun on board for dealing with predators.
Plus, if you get trapped in the ice or wrecked somewhere you can always use your gun to get some lunch.

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Old 15-01-2015, 08:18   #14
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

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Plus, if you get trapped in the ice or wrecked somewhere you can always use your gun to get some lunch.

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One reason I carried a shotgun and a box of #6 birdshot along with the slugs and buckshot for bears, there isn't an animal on the North American Continent that a 12 ga isn't suitable for, from birds to bears.
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Old 15-01-2015, 08:31   #15
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Re: Locations Where Guns Are Required by Authorities

It is not required in Alaska, but if you are traveling in the Arctic by boat, I would recommend it. I once saw 7 Polar bears drifting by on an ice cake while eating a Walrus, actually I think they were arguing over who was going to get to eat the Walrus. However Polar Bears have no fear of man and actually look at them as a food source. Good idea to have a 12 gauge shotgun with 00 buck and slugs. One issue that does come up is most people are unsettled by how fast these bears can move and often ruins their aim, or they ignore the signals the bear is giving off and are too late in defending themselves.
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