Why do people need to think about potential weapons charges in Canada? As a start, the country upholds a strict list of weapon restrictions between the Firearms Act and other government regulations. Firearm owners need to know about the law to avoid heavy fines and jail time, but those are not the only reasons to dig deeper.
Below, the Manbir Sodhi Criminal Defence Law in Brampton outlines the rules and weapons-related charges to help you stay away from legal trouble in Canada.
How Canada’s Criminal Code Defines Weapons
The Criminal Code of Canada considers a weapon as any object that could injure another person. The definition covers guns, knives, and any common entity with which someone could threaten or intentionally harm someone. For example, any case might reasonably include a metal water bottle if it inflicts enough harm.
Any heavy object can constitute a weapon in the eyes of the law, but Canada’s code does have special provisions regarding firearm possession. For instance, a person carrying a restricted or prohibited firearm violates the law, even without using it for a dangerous purpose.
Possession of Weapons Offences
Section 88 Criminal Code lists the illegal possession of firearms as:
- Unlicensed possession of a prohibited weapon, such as an automatic firearm
- Unlicensed possession of a restricted weapon, such as a rifle shorter than 26 inches
- Possession of unauthorized ammunition
- Possession of an imitation firearm with intent to threaten
- Unauthorized possession of a vehicle
There are far more weapons offences than those covering prohibited firearms, including a fairly common weapons offence stating that gun owners must avoid careless use. The tricky firearms offence covers the use of any weapon without regard for the safety of others and can be complicated.
Possession crime penalties range from months to a few years, with many Canadian judges agreeing that over a year in prison constitutes cruel and unusual punishment for first-time offenders. The court might settle minor firearm offences with a summary conviction.
Summary Offences are less serious, while Indictable Offences are the most serious.
The Criminal Code classifies each weapon offence.
Is Carrying a Concealed Weapon Legal in Canada?
The short answer is no; concealed possession of a weapon is an indictable offence in Canada. Even legal ownership without dangerous intent while carrying could face jail time and fines if concealed within a public forum.
Other Canadian Penalties For a Weapons-Based Criminal Offence
Penalties for illegal gun possession and usage range from a mandatory minimum sentence of six months to life imprisonment. The terms depend on the firearm offence and a criminal record featuring comparable weapon or firearm offences. For example, pointing a firearm at someone might be a minor offence if it is not restricted.
Prohibited weapons face the maximum penalty, especially if the defendant aims with dangerous intent and has comparable indictable offences. The penalties and mandatory minimum jail sentences for other firearms offences may include the following:
- Six months to five years and a hefty fine for carrying a concealed firearm
- Six months to two years and a fine for careless use
- Up to 10 years for possession of a restricted or prohibited gun with ammunition
Contact Manbir Sodhi Criminal Defence Law at (905) 457-2546 today to discuss any weapons charges in Canada and how to proceed.