Don’t bring your guns into Canada, eh?

That’s the message the Canada Border Services Agency wants to send to American tourists visiting the Maritime provinces this summer, after several bewildered visitors were caught off-guard about the stark difference in gun control laws north of the border.

The CBSA is encouraging Americans to leave their weapons at home or, failing that, to declare them at the border and make proper arrangements for them while visiting Canada.

“Just for a vacation, firearms are not allowed,” Veronica Horne, CBSA chief of operations, told CTV Atlantic on Tuesday. She says the best policy for visitors is to be honest, as getting caught with a concealed weapon at the border will only mean harsher penalties.

“We do have some options that the traveller can look at, as opposed to not declaring and then they lose their firearm through seizure,” she said.

A man from New Hampshire was forced to surrender his handgun and ammunition last week, after he was stopped at the border. He was also fined $2,000.

Knives and pepper spray are also considered weapons, Horne pointed out. However, weapons may not necessarily be taken away if they are declared properly.

Geoff Spear, who manages a campground in New Brunswick, says it’s not uncommon for Americans to forget about the difference in the two countries’ gun laws.

“You let them know what you have because there’s a penalty and a fine and it could be you’re hauled into court (to face) some serious charges,” he said.

With files from CTV Atlantic