Firearms Lawyer Ottawa • Firearms Lawyer Toronto • Firearms Lawyer Ontario

What Are Firearms Charges

The regulation of firearms in Canada constitutes a complex web of federal criminal, federal regulatory, and provincial regulatory laws, with punishments ranging from small fines to life imprisonment.

Unlike narcotics whose mere possession is illegal for almost all Canadians, firearms play very important, legitimate, and legal roles in both rural and urban Canadian lives. Canada has approximately 6 million long guns and 1 million handguns in legal hands throughout the country, controlled by millions of law abiding users. However, it's very easy for those law abiding users to run afoul of the law because of the strict and complex regulations governing possession, use and storage of firearms. 

It's important for all gun owners to recognize that the War on Drugs has transformed into the War on Firearms. Police Drug Squads are being repurposed to Integrated Weapons Enforcement Teams. Instead of search warrants of private residences targeting drugs, and incidentally finding firearms, we now have search warrants targeting firearms, and incidentally finding drugs. 

Top 3 Reasons Why You Should be Worried About Being Charged with a Criminal Firearms Offence

1. The Criminal Code deems any device which fires a projectile with a mussel velocity above a certain level to be a firearm, possibly including unregulated BB guns. 

2. Storage regulations are so strict that simply forgetting to lock your car with a firearm in the trunk could lead you to being charged with a criminal offence.

3. Using a firearms in the commission of another offence - even if it is unloaded - can attract very severe mandatory minimum sentencing that could be more severe than the sentence for the substantive offence. 

How to Win a Firearms Offence Trial: 5 Top Firearms Defences

1. It's not a firearm

This defence might require expert testing and evidence at trial.

2. It's not a prohibited firearm

Likewise this defence might require expert evidence.

3. I had no knowledge and control of the firearm

To be convicted of possession-related offences like unsafe storage, you need knowledge and control. Just because it's in your house or car doesn't mean the Crown can prove possession beyond a reasonable doubt. 

4. I didn't use the firearm in the commission of an offence

Since allegations of using a firearm in the commission of an offence attract among the harshest mandatory minimums penalties of any in the Criminal Code, you really want to delink any firearm from any offence. 

5. I'm not responsible for the storage/trafficking/importing/pointing/use of the firearm

You may be able to raise a reasonable doubt about your involvement with a firearm, especially if others are also accused of involvement or if the evidence against you is circumstantial.