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WEAPONS & FIREARMS OFFENCES

Calgary's Top Weapons & Firearms Charge Lawyers

Weapons offences are seldom solitary charges. Weapons charges in Calgary are typically bundled with other types of offences like Domestic Assault, Drug Trafficking and Break & Enter. The team at Hoare Claxton has four decades of experience with criminal code violations involving firearm offences. If you have been charged with a criminal offence involving a firearm, contact the team at Hoare Claxton for a free consultation.

What is a Weapons Offence in Canada?

A weapons- or firearms- offence occurs in Canada when an individual fails to abide by the regulations that govern the use of firearms as established in the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act. There is a broad spectrum of firearms-related offences and penalties under the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act. There are also particular conditions according to the Criminal Code that categorize firearms as restricted, non-restricted, or prohibited.

There are approximately 1 million handguns and 6 million long guns throughout Canada, most of which are owned by law abiding citizens. Unfortunately- given the web of federal and provincial laws governing the possession, storage and use of firearms- law abiding gun owners are frequently charged with firearms offences.

What are some of the common Defences against Firearms Charges?

  1. The object in question is not a firearm.

Hoare Claxton may employ expert testimony to establish you did not posses a firearm.

  1. The object in question is not a restricted firearm under Canadian Law.

Hoare Claxton may employ expert testimony to establish you did not posses a restricted firearm.

  1. You were not responsible for the storage/use/trafficking of the firearm.

We may be able to raise reasonable doubt regarding your linkage to the firearm(s), particularly if there are others involved, the Crown witnesses are unreliable, or the evidence against you is circumstantial.

  1. I had no knowledge or control of the firearm

Simply because the weapon was in your home or car does not equate to possession beyond a reasonable doubt. Hoare Claxton may be able to substantiate that you had no knowledge of the presence of a firearm.

How many years do you get for illegal possession of a gun?

Owning a firearm in Canada is a highly regulated process, with the relevant legislation primarily set out in the Firearms Act (1995) as well as to the Criminal Code of Canada. The sentencing guidelines for gun offences in Canada include fines, conditional discharges or jail time. Some firearms charges carry mandatory prison sentences.

It is illegal to carry a concealed weapon in Canada?

Under Section 20 of the Firearms Act, an individual may carry a concealed weapon with proper authorization from the Chief Firearms Officer in the province where the firearm is located when it is a) necessary for the protection of life (“police protection is not sufficient in the circumstances”) b) required a part of a lawful profession or occupation (remote areas with wild animals, transportation of cash).

Under Section 20 of the Firearms Act, an individual may carry a concealed weapon with proper authorization from a Provincial Chief Firearms Officer when it is a) necessary for the protection of life (“police protection is not sufficient in the circumstances”) b) required a part of a lawful profession or occupation (remote areas with wild animals, transportation of cash).

How many years can you be sentenced to for an unregistered gun?

The punishments for Possession of a Firearm (not Restricted or Prohibited) range from a discharge (if proceeded on summarily) to 5 years or more in jail.

The punishments available for possession of a Restricted or Prohibited Firearm range from 1 year or a $5,000 fine to a maximum of 10 years in jail.

Aggravating factors during sentencing include: the type of firearm (particularly how dangerous it is to public safety), if the firearm was stolen or had serial numbers removed, if there were children nearby, if there were drugs nearby, or if the weapons were involved in drug dealing or organized crime.

What is a Restricted Firearm in Canada?

Restricted firearms are a) handguns that are not prohibited firearms b) firearms that have a barrel less than 470 mm in length and c) firearms that are capable of discharging ammunition in a semi-automatic manner. Also deemed as restricted are semi-automatic weapons capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition and those that have been manufactured to be able to be fired when the barrel length is shortened to less than 660mm. You can own a restricted firearm provided you hold a license under the Firearms Act and have completed a safety course. In addition a Canadian citizen may obtain a permit to possess a restricted firearm in connection to employment purposes, for protection of life, as part of a historical collection or for Competition Shooting.

What is a Prohibited Firearm in Canada?

Prohibited firearms are weapons that are deemed unlawful to possess in Canada unless the firearm was obtained prior to it becoming prohibited. Handguns that are less than 105 mm in length or those designed or adapted to discharge a 25 or 32 calibre cartridge, rifles or shotguns that are adapted into handguns (also known as “sawed off shotguns”) and automatic firearms capable of firing bullets in rapid succession during one pressure of the trigger (such as the design generally known as the M-16 rifle) are all examples of prohibited weapons. Additionally, Tasers or other miniature firearms that can be readily concealed have also recently been listed as prohibited under Canadian law.

It is Illegal to Possess a Firearm in Canada?

It is unlawful to possess a firearm in Canada unless authorized to do so by a valid firearms license. In order for your possession of firearms to be legal your firearms licence must be valid for as long as you possess your firearms. A possession charge can carry a stiff penalty of up to ten years in prison. In order to prove that unauthorized possession of a firearm has taken place, the following conditions must be met:

  • Officers must note the time and date of the offence, the jurisdiction of the offence, the identity of the accused
  • The accused must be in possession of the object, the object must be a firearm, the accused must not hold a license to possess the weapon & if the object is restricted or prohibited the accused must not hold a valid registration certificate

Trafficking

A trafficking offence takes place in Canada when anyone transfers possession of a firearm, or any type of ammunition or weapon to a person who is not authorized to do so under the Firearms Act (or any other relevant law). Trafficking firearms is a serious criminal offence because of the associated public safety risk: it is an indictable offence with a maximum of ten years imprisonment and a minimum of three years for the first offence. Any conviction for a firearms trafficking charge will also result in a criminal record that will be revealed by a background check.

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Calgary Criminal Law Hoare Claxton Pardons

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