Firearms are regulated by both federal and provincial laws in Canada. The Criminal Code of Canada defines various firearms-related offences, such as unauthorized possession, careless use, trafficking, and discharge. These offences carry serious penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences and prohibitions from owning firearms in the future.
If you are facing a charge of unlawful firearm possession in Edmonton, you need to know your rights and options. This blog post will explain unlawful firearm possession, possible defences from expert firearms offence lawyers, and how a criminal defence lawyer can help you.
What Is Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm?
According to section 91(1) of the Criminal Code, every person commits an offence who possesses a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm, or a non-restricted firearm without being the holder of:
- a licence under which the person may possess it and
- in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, a registration certificate for it.
A prohibited firearm is listed in the regulations or has been adapted to fire automatically. A restricted firearm is not prohibited but is listed in the regulations or has certain characteristics. A non-restricted firearm is neither prohibited nor restricted. Examples include most rifles and shotguns used for hunting or sport shooting.
To legally possess a firearm in Canada, you must obtain a licence from the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP), administered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). You also need to register any prohibited or restricted firearms with the CFP. You can apply for different licences depending on your age, purpose, and type of firearm.
What Are The Penalties For Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm?
The penalties for unlawful possession of a firearm depend on the nature of the offence and whether the Crown chooses to proceed by way of indictment or summary conviction. Here are some key points:
Unauthorized Possession: The maximum penalty for the indictable variation of unauthorized possession is five years imprisonment. If the Crown proceeds summarily, the maximum penalty is two years less a day imprisonment and a $ 5,000 fine.
- Possession Of A Weapon Obtained By Committing An Offence: This offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when tried as an indictable offence
- Carrying A Concealed Weapon: This offence carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison when tried as an indictable offence
- Using A Firearm While Committing An Offence: This offence can result in 1 to 14 years in prison for a first offence if tried as an indictable offence.
- Trafficking: Anyone who does not follow regulations found under the Firearms Act regarding firearm possession and use is guilty of either an indictable or summary offence and is liable to a maximum of two years imprisonment
What Are The Possible Defences For Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm?
If you are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in Edmonton, consult an experienced firearms offence lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you understand the nature and consequences of the charge, review the evidence against you, and advise you on the best course of action.
Depending on your situation, several possible defences may be available to you. Some common defences are:
- Lack of knowledge or consent: You may argue that you did not know you had a firearm or did not consent. For example, if someone else left or planted a firearm in your car or home without your knowledge or permission.
- Lack of control or dominion: You may argue that you did not have control or dominion over the firearm. For example, if someone else had access to or ownership of the firearm and you could not dispose of it.
- Charter violations: You may argue that your charter rights were violated during the investigation or arrest. For example, if the police searched your property without a warrant or reasonable grounds, obtained evidence through coercion or deception, or failed to inform you of your right to counsel.
- Lawful excuse: You may argue that you had a lawful excuse for possessing the firearm. For example, if you were acting in self-defence, under duress, or transporting the firearm safely and legally.
About Slaferek Law
Slaferek Law is a criminal law firm based in Edmonton, Alberta. We have over 20 years of combined experience defending clients against all criminal charges, from impaired driving to murder. We are passionate about criminal law and dedicated to providing our clients with the highest legal representation. We will work hard to protect your rights and interests if you are facing a minor or a major charge. Contact us today for a free consultation. Learn more about Slaferek Law.
Contact us today for a consultation.