Firearms offences are serious. If convicted, you can be sentenced to a lengthy period of jail. In general, restricted or prohibited firearms include the following types of guns: handguns, handguns with a barrel length of less than 105mm in length, shotguns, automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons.
The right to possess a firearm is granted through the government’s firearms licensing scheme, which has different license and authorization classes based on types of firearms covered and other firearms-related activities.
The Criminal Code contains many different types of firearms offences including offences related to the possession of firearms, the sale of firearms, carrying a concealed firearm and the illegal use of firearms. Often, firearms and weapons charges do not stand alone. They are usually related to other criminal charges such as robbery with a firearm.
The criminal defence lawyers at LZZ have extensive experience successfully defending against all types of weapons and firearms related allegations. If you or someone you know has been charged with a weapons or firearms related offence you should contact a criminal lawyer immediately to help determine the best defence. Call us at (416) 613-0416 or (416) 595-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Common Questions Regarding Firearm Charges
I only had one Firearm, why am I Facing so Many Charges?
The Criminal Code of Canada has several firearm related offences which can be grouped into possession offences, use offences, and selling related offences. Therefore, an individual will be charged with several firearm related offences even though there may only be one firearm seized by the police. Each offence has different requirements that the Crown must prove before you can be found guilty of the offence. Below are some of the firearm offences in the Criminal Code.
Careless Use of Firearm
Section 86(1) of the Criminal Code criminalizes anyone who uses, carries, handles, ships, transports or stores a prohibited firearm in a careless manner without reasonable precautions for the safety of other persons. This charge is often laid on people who are arrested while carrying a firearm in public, or who are found to have an illegal firearm in their home, car, or some other location.
Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
Section 91(1) and (2) of the Criminal Code make it an offence to possess any type of firearm without a licence and/or a registration certificate.
Possession of a Prohibited or Restricted Firearm
Section 95(1) of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to possess a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm, or an unloaded firearm with “readily accessible” ammunition. This is a more serious offence than simple possession because it is essentially penalizing the illegal possession of a loaded gun.
Possession of a Firearm with a Serial Number Defaced
Section 108(1) of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to have possession of a firearm where the serial number on the firearm has been altered, defaced or removed.
Point a Firearm
Section 87(1) of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to point a firearm at another person. The offence is punishable by up to five years in jail.
Discharging a Firearm with Intent
Section 244(1) of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to discharge a firearm at another person with the intent to wound, maim, disfigure or endanger their life, or to prevent the arrest or detention of any person. This is a serious offence that carries a minimum punishment of five years in prison for a first offence, with a maximum term of 14 years in jail.
Use a Firearm in the Commission of an Offence
Section 85(2) of the Criminal Code makes it a crime to use a firearm while committing another offence. The offence captures those who use a firearm while committing other crimes, like robbery. There are provisions that deal with firearms and imitation firearms. The offence carries a mandatory minimum punishment of one year in jail.
How do I Beat my Firearm Charges?
There are several potential defences to firearm charges, such as:
• Charter: if the police breach your Charter rights, you can bring an application to exclude the firearm.
• Knowledge: the Crown must prove knowledge and control of the firearm. For example, if a firearm is located inside a motor vehicle, everybody in the vehicle will be charged, but they may defend their charges on the basis that they did not know a firearm was present in the vehicle.
• Is the firearm operational: the Crown must prove that the firearm was operation or can easily be made operational. Sometimes, a firearm is broken or missing parts and therefore the Crown cannot prove an essential element of the offence.
What is the Sentence for Firearm Offences in Canada?
There is a wide range of possible sentences for firearm offences. Every case depends on its facts. A jail sentence, especially one in the penitentiary, is a typical sentence if you are convicted of a firearm offence.
Should I Retain a Defence Lawyer for my Firearms Charges?
The criminal defence lawyers at LZZ have extensive experience successfully defending firearms charges. If you or someone you know has been charged with firearms related offences you should contact a criminal lawyer immediately to help determine the best defence. Call us at (416) 613-0416 or (416) 595-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation.