Owning a firearm in Canada is legal but requires licencing under strict regulations.
If you are in possession of a firearm without a licence in Canada, you will attract a criminal charge. This means that the penalties can be serious and could have long-term consequences.
In this article, our legal team at Sodhi Law PC in Brampton, Ontario, discusses the penalties for illegal gun possession in Canada and the possible charges it can bring.
What Are the Gun Charges in Canada?
If you are in possession of a firearm without a license in Canada, you will attract varying penalties ranging from the not-so-serious to the severe.
- The exact amount and length of the sentence depend on several factors:
- The type of gun involved (as well as whether it was unloaded or loaded)
- Whether your actions caused any harm
- Your previous record (if any)
Summary – If law enforcement catches you in possession of a firearm without first registering it or applying for a licence, they can charge you with an offence that carries up to two years in prison as well as fines up to $5,000. Depending on your specific situation, it may be possible to avoid jail time by pleading guilty and participating in community service or rehabilitation programs instead.
Indictable – If you have a previous conviction for other crimes (such as assault) or multiple misdemeanours within five years, you could face indictable charges and harsher penalties: up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Severe Penalties for Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm in Canada
The most serious penalty for possessing a firearm without a licence is imprisonment for up to five years. If found guilty of this crime, you must pay up to $10,000 in fines.
If you are convicted of possessing more than ten firearms without a licence, the law requires an additional mandatory sentence of two years imprisonment for each additional firearm beyond the first ten.
Possession of an unauthorized, prohibited, or restricted firearm is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Possessing an unauthorized cartridge magazine capable of holding more than ten cartridges carries the same sentence.
Owning an unlicenced restricted firearm, such as a handgun, carries up to 5 years in prison, as does store such an item at home without proper authorization from authorities, such as a registration certificate.
What to Do If Charged with Possession of a Prohibited Weapon in Canada
Possession of a firearm without a license in Canada is a serious offence. Not only can it result in a conviction, but it can also lead to a fine, jail time, or both. It is important to know your rights and have an experienced attorney on your side if you find yourself charged with this offence.