Firearm and Weapon offence Lawyer Toronto

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What types of weapons fall under weapons offences in Canada?

In Canada, a “weapon” is defined by the Criminal Code as anything used, designed to be used, or intended for use in causing death or injury to any person or for the purpose of threatening or intimidating any person. This can include, but is not limited to:

Firearms

This category includes any barreled weapon from which any shot, bullet, or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death. It includes handguns, rifles, shotguns, and automatic firearms. Canada has stringent regulations surrounding the possession, storage, transportation, and use of firearms. Specific licenses are required, and certain types of firearms (such as automatic weapons) are prohibited entirely.

Prohibited Weapons

Canada’s Criminal Code lists a number of weapons that are prohibited for possession unless a specific exemption applies. This includes automatic knives (such as switchblades), brass knuckles, and short-barreled handguns, among others.

Restricted Weapons

This category includes certain types of firearms (like some types of handguns or semi-automatic firearms) that are not prohibited but are subject to stricter regulations. They can only be possessed with a specific license, and their use and transport are heavily restricted.

Imitation Firearms

These can also be considered weapons if they are used to threaten, intimidate, or commit a crime, even if they are not capable of firing projectiles.

Explosives

Any form of explosive device, including homemade bombs, grenades, or other similar items, can be considered weapons, with their possession and use subject to criminal penalties.

Edged Weapons

This includes items such as knives (excluding certain prohibited types), swords, and other sharp instruments. These can be considered weapons if they are used in a threatening manner, to cause harm, or to commit a crime.

Blunt Instruments

Objects that are not inherently weapons, like baseball bats, hammers, or other tools, can be considered weapons if they are used with the intent to threaten, harm, or kill someone.

The Criminal Code outlines a variety of weapon offences associated with these types of weapons, ranging from unauthorized possession and trafficking to using a weapon in the commission of an offence. Penalties for these offences can be quite severe and may include significant fines, periods of imprisonment, and prohibitions on possessing weapons in the future.

What is a concealed weapon charge in Canada?

In Canada, a concealed weapon charge pertains to the crime of carrying a weapon in a way that it is hidden from view. This is considered a serious offence under the Canadian Criminal Code. According to Section 90 of the Code, carrying a concealed weapon without a lawful excuse is a criminal offence, and this can include firearms, knives, or other types of weapons.

This offence is treated as a hybrid offence, meaning it can be prosecuted either summarily (less serious) or as an indictable offence (more serious). If it is prosecuted as an indictable offence, it carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. If prosecuted summarily, the maximum sentence is six months in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

What does possession of a firearm mean?

The term “possession of a firearm” refers to the act of having a firearm in one’s control or custody. It does not necessarily mean that the firearm is physically being held by a person; it could be stored in their house, car, or any other place under their control.

There are generally two types of possession recognized by law:

Actual Possession

This is when an individual has direct physical control or custody of a firearm. For instance, carrying a concealed gun would be considered actual possession.

Constructive Possession

This is when an individual doesn’t physically possess the firearm but has knowledge of its presence and the ability to control it. For example, if a firearm is stored in your house or car, even if you’re not physically holding it, you’re in constructive possession of it.

Laws surrounding firearm possession vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another. In many places, including Canada and the United States, possessing a firearm requires a valid permit or license, and there are often restrictions based on the type of firearm. Unauthorized possession of a firearm can result in criminal charges.

How long do you go to jail for possessing illegal guns in Canada?

The possession of illegal firearms is a serious crime in Canada, subject to substantial penalties, including imprisonment. The exact length of the jail sentence can vary depending on various factors, including the specific nature of the offence, whether the individual has any prior convictions and other circumstances of the case.

Nevertheless, according to the Criminal Code of Canada:

  • Unauthorized possession of a firearm is a hybrid offence. If prosecuted as an indictable offence, it carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. If prosecuted as a summary offence, it carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
  • Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose is also a hybrid offence. If prosecuted as an indictable offence, it carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. If prosecuted as a summary offence, the maximum penalty is six months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
  • Unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition is an indictable offence and carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

How long is a gun charge in Toronto?

In Toronto, as in the rest of Canada, the length of a sentence for a gun charge can vary greatly depending on the specifics of the crime. The Canadian Criminal Code outlines the potential penalties for all Canadians facing various firearm offences, including unauthorized possession, trafficking, and using a firearm in the commission of an offence.

  • Unauthorized possession of a firearm carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
  • Unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
  • Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
  • Pointing a firearm carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
  • Discharging a firearm with intent carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison for a first offence and a maximum term of 14 years.
  • Using a firearm in the commission of an offence carries a mandatory minimum of one year in prison.

Are you allowed to defend yourself with a gun in Canada?

In Canada, the concept of self-defence does exist within the Criminal Code. However, it’s important to understand that the use of firearms in self-defence is heavily regulated and restricted. Unlike some jurisdictions in the United States, Canada does not have a “stand your ground” law that would allow a person to shoot an intruder under all circumstances.

According to Section 34 of the Criminal Code, a person is allowed to defend themselves or another person from a threat or actual use of force, but the defensive actions must be reasonable in the circumstances. This means that if you were to use a gun to defend yourself, you could only use as much force as necessary to counteract the threat, and you must believe on reasonable grounds that you cannot otherwise preserve yourself from death or grievous bodily harm.

Moreover, the mere act of pointing a firearm at another person, whether loaded or unloaded, is a criminal offence in Canada unless it is done in self-defence. Furthermore, Canada has strict gun control laws. Unauthorized possession of a firearm is a serious offence. Firearms must be registered, and their owners must hold a valid firearms licence.

Given the serious legal implications of using a firearm in self-defence in Canada, it is advisable to seek legal counsel if you find yourself in such a situation.

A large part of defending firearms offences is educating the police and the courts on what the law on firearms actually is. In one case a black-powdered revolver owner was denied bail because neither the police officer, the Judge, nor the Crown knew that, under the firearms legislation, black-powdered revolver owners are not required to have the gun registered or licenced. In another case a man ordered a BB gun through the mail. The police intercepted it prior to delivery and determined it was a “replica” meaning that it was a prohibited weapon if its mussel velocity exceeded a certain speed or the BB could cause serious bodily harm. The man was released from jail after the Court finally conceded that the gun was not a replica.

If you are charged with a gun related offence, you need a lawyer experienced with both the Criminal Code and Firearms Act. Call Sam Goldstein Criminal Law Trials & Appeals. If you are a hunter or gun enthusiast and want to import or export a firearm, you need a lawyer who can assist you with the issues. If you are visiting Canada from Abroad and plan on a hunting vacation, you must understand that crossing into Canada with a concealed weapon is a minimum of three years in jail.

If you are a lawful gun owner and you have been denied a firearms licence due to a medical condition, then call Sam who can help you get back your licence.

Firearm and gun offences in Canada are treated seriously by the Courts. Whether you are charged with careless storage of a firearms under the Firearms Act or trafficking in firearms, or possession of a weapon, call Sam for a dedicated and experienced defence.

Frequently Asked Questions

To determine whether, for example, a BB gun could cause serious bodily harm the police shoot a projectile from the subject gun at a (dead) Pig’s eye to see if the projectile damages the eye. This test is known as the “Pigs’ Eye Test.” This test is widely accepted as determining whether a gun could cause serious bodily harm but there are defences to this test.

This Act is the Canadian regulatory law pertaining to the right to possess a firearm, means of transportation and offenses relating to the violation of this act. For the most part, Canadians are not allowed to carry a concealed firearm in public unless they are police officers. Members of the Canadian Forces (Military) can only carry and use their weapons in public during war time or for special ceremonies. Canadian citizens can legally possess registered firearms of any class (non-restricted, restricted & prohibited) within their homes as long as the permit allows for it.

Part III of the Criminal Code deals with firearms and weapons offences. It criminalizes many of the regulatory infractions contained in the Firearms Act.

There are some items such as “firearms” and a list of other illegal objects including brass knuckles or cross bows that will always meet the definition of a weapon in law. Other items, such as a pocket knife or hunting knife require that the item be, “used, designed to be used or intended for use in causing death or injury to any person or for the purpose of threatening or intimidating any person” to meet the definition of a weapon. The Crown Attorney must prove that the item meets this definition or fall within a list of prohibited weapons in order to establish that the item is a weapon.

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