The control of firearms in Canada is predominantly governed by the Firearms Act, the Criminal Code, and their subordinate regulations. The Criminal Code defines the main categories of firearms, which include restricted, prohibited, and non-restricted firearms. The Firearms Act regulates the possession, transport, and storage of firearms. Carrying a loaded firearm is unlawful, and you might be at risk of a prison sentence and hefty fines for the gun offense. Our Criminal Lawyers understand the consequences of any gun offense in Canada because of our significant experience protecting clients with different gun charges. Do not let this gun crime cripple your life or affect your gun ownership rights, contact our skilled attorneys immediately after an arrest for carrying a loaded firearm for a thorough investigation of your case and to help you create proper legal defense strategies.
In Canada, the unregistered use, possession and trafficking of weapon(s) is a criminal offence carrying serious penalties. Anyone, who, “without lawful excuse, uses, carries, handles, ships, transports or stores a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition in a careless manner or without reasonable precautions for the safety of other persons” is deemed a criminal under the Canadian Criminal Code [86 (1)]. It’s illegal to possess a weapon for endangering the public safety or for the purpose of harming someone.
Section 2 of the Criminal Code includes the definition of weapon:
“Weapon” means anything used, designed to be used or intended for use
(a) in causing death or injury to any person, or
(b) for the purpose of threatening or intimidating any person and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a firearm.
Right off the bat we can see that firearms will always be considered weapons under the Criminal Code. The term firearm is defined in section 2 of the Criminal Code as a “barreled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person, and includes any frame or receiver of such a barreled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm.”
Firearms in Canada fall into three different classes:
Restricted firearms are generally your typical sporting firearms with rifles and shotguns primarily filling this category. Now these firearms could be transferred freely between licensed firearms owners without the need of registration or notifying the firearms center.
Many airguns fall into this class because they are capable of achieving a muzzle velocity of 500 feet per second. If it is a centerfire semi-automatic firearm, the barrel length must be at least 470mm to be non-restricted. These firearms must be stored, transported and displayed according to Federal regulations and you need a firearms licence to possess them. Provincial and municipal rules may further regulate these firearms.
There are several different categories of restricted firearms. They include:
Prohibited firearms include all fully automatic firearms, converted automatics and a variety of other scary looking firearms which have been classified as “prohibited” by order-in-council. Most types of prohibited firearms are “grandfathered” to their current legal owners (i.e., owners are allowed to keep them), but cannot be transferred to non-grandfathered individuals. Most .32 or .25 calibre handguns, and handguns with a barrel length of 105 mm or shorter. Fully automatic firearms, converted automatics, firearms with a sawed-off barrel, and some military rifles like the AK-47 are also prohibited.
Under law, a firearm is loaded if there is either:
Note that an accused must have knowledge of the presence of a firearm in order to be guilty under this law. But it is not necessary, for a conviction, that the accused knew that his gun was loaded.
The Criminal Code prohibits the criminal possession of loaded or easily loaded prohibited or restricted firearms such as fully automatic firearms, sawed-off rifles and handguns, and the offence is punishable by a maximum period of ten years’ imprisonment.
Gun crimes carry different penalties depending on the nature of the crime. Non-severe penalties for firearm offences include:
Carrying a loaded firearm, whether it’s functional or not, could cost you your freedom and also make you incur unnecessary losses due to the hefty fines the judge imposes for the crime. Our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing gun charges for over years. We will meet with you to review the facts of your case, and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the best outcome possible in your case.
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