Firearm & Weapons Offence Lawyer In Toronto
There are numerous weapons related offences in the Criminal Code of Canada including Possession of a Weapon, Weapons Dangerous, Carry Concealed Weapon and several Firearm Offences. A complete list of them can be viewed here:
http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/rsc-1985-c-c-46/latest/rsc-1985-c-c-46.html. What follows is a brief summary of the law. While it is not, and should not be relied upon as legal advice, it may assist you with some of the questions you might have. As always, consult a criminal lawyer should you need criminal advice.
“Weapon” means any thing 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
and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a firearm
“Prohibited Weapon” means:
- a knife that has a blade that opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife, or
- any weapon, other than a firearm, that is prescribed to be a prohibited weapon
“Prohibited Device” means:
- any component or part of a weapon, or any accessory for use with a weapon, that is prescribed to be a prohibited device
- a handgun barrel that is equal to or less than 105 mm in length, but does not include any such handgun barrel that is prescribed, where the handgun barrel is for use in international sporting competitions governed by the rules of the International Shooting Union
- a device or contrivance designed or intended to muffle or stop the sound or report of a firearm
- a cartridge magazine that is prescribed to be a prohibited device, or
- a replica firearm
“Firearm” means a barrelled 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 barrelled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm.
“Prohibited Firearm” means
- a handgun that
has a barrel equal to or less than 105 mm in length, or
- is designed or adapted to discharge a 25 or 32 calibre cartridge,
but does not include any such handgun that is prescribed, where the handgun barrel is for use in international sporting competitions governed by the rules of the International Shooting Union
- a firearm that is adapted from a rifle or shotgun, whether by sawing, cutting or any other altercation, and that, as so adapted,
is less than 660 mm in length, or
- A. is 660 mm or greater in length and has a barrel less than 457 mm in length
- an automatic firearm, whether or not it has been altered to discharge only one projectile with one pressure of the trigger, or
- any firearm that is prescribed to be a prohibited firearm;
“Restricted Firearm” means:
- a handgun that is not a prohibited firearm,
- a firearm that
is not a prohibited firearm
has a barrel less than 470 mm in length, and
is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner,
- a firearm that is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise, or
- a firearm of any other kind that is prescribed to be a restricted firearm
For the Crown to prove that you are guilty of possessing a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace, the Crown must prove that: (a) the defendant possessed a “weapon”, (b) the defendant knew that what was possessed was a “weapon”, and (c) the defendant had the weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace. Note, the Crown does not have to prove that the defendant was necessarily holding the weapon him/herself: possession can exist if the defendant knowingly had a weapon in the possession of someone else or at some other place if the defendant exercised control over it. For this reason, often several people may “possess” a weapon at the same time. A central issue in Weapons Dangerous cases is the purpose for which the weapon was possessed.
Carry Concealed Weapon
To find someone guilty of carrying a concealed weapon, the Crown must prove that: (a) the defendant carried a “weapon”, (b) the weapon was concealed, and (c) the defendant meant to conceal the weapon. Assuming that the object in question can be proven to be a weapon, to prove (b), the Crown must prove that it was hidden from view.
There are numerous different types of firearm offences. These can generally be divided into two types of categories: “use” offences and “possession” offences. Under the “use firearm” category, offences include: Using Firearm in the Commission of an Offence and Careless Use of a Firearm and Pointing a Firearm. Under the “possession” category, offences include: Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose, Carry Concealed Weapon, Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm, Unauthorized Possession in a Motor Vehicle, and Possession of a Prohibited or Restricted Firearm with Ammunition. Again, all of the offences can be found in the Criminal Code of Canada: target=”new”>http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/rsc-1985-c-c-46/latest/rsc-1985-c-c-46.html.
Use Firearm in Commission of an Offence:
In terms of the offence of “using a firearm while committing an offence, the Crown must prove that: (a) the defendant committed/attempted to commit a particular offence, (b) the defendant used a firearm, and (c) the defendant used the firearm while committing/attempting to commit the particular offence.
Careless Use of a Firearm
To prove “careless use of firearm”, the Crown must prove that: (a) the defendant used a firearm, (b) the defendant used the firearm in a careless manner, and (c) the defendant had no lawful excuse for that use of the firearm. Firearms obviously have the potential to cause serious injury or death and that is why there are strict laws relating to how an individual has control over the firearm. The law prohibits the control of firearms that does anything but show respect for a firearm’s harm. “Careless use” occurs where there is a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in the same circumstances.
Punishment for Firearms Offences
Punishments for firearm related offences vary significantly. Some of these offences carry minimum sentences of imprisonment. That is, regardless of your background, if found guilty, you will be sent to jail. To find out the punishment for a particular offence, refer to the Criminal Code of Canada at: http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/rsc-1985-c-c-46/latest/rsc-1985-c-c-46.html.
There are numerous ways to defend against Weapons Offences and I have successfully defended people against them numerous times – please refer to my Recent Successes page. The consequences to receiving a conviction for any Weapons Offence are severe and include minimum jail sentences.
Again, the foregoing is only a summary. It is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For a free consultation to discuss your case, please call me at 416-658-5855.