Prosecutors aggressively pursue weapon and gun crime charges. If you have been arrested or accused of committing a crime involving a weapon or firearm, it is important to get experienced legal counsel to protect your legal rights. We use this knowledge to defend clients who are facing weapon and gun crime charges. We handle a wide range of weapons cases, including defence against charges of:
- Being in possession of a firearm
- Unlawfully discharging a firearm
- Carrying an illegal and loaded firearm inside a vehicle
- Unlawful sale of a firearm
- Possession or sale of other illegal weapons such as switchblade knives, brass knuckles and martial arts weapons
What is a Weapon?
The term “weapon” is defined in section 2 of the Criminal Code as follows:
“weapon” means anything used, designed to be used or intended for use
(a) in causing death or injury to any person, or
(b) for the purpose of threatening or intimidating any person
and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a firearm;
Whether or not an object will be considered to be a weapon by the Court may depend upon the design, or intended use of the object. Weapons might include: knives, baseball bats, and broken beer bottles. The Courts have also found unloaded BB guns to be weapons in certain circumstances. Because it is necessary to examine the intended use of an object, things that would not ordinary be considered a weapon, such as a chair, might become one if it is used to injure someone.
What are Prohibited or Restricted Firearms and Weapons?
The Criminal Code uses different language address both weapons and firearms. The Criminal Code addresses:
- • Prohibited Firearms
- • Restricted Firearms
- • Prohibited Weapons
- • Restricted Weapons
Prohibited firearms consist of handguns of certain barrel lengths, as well as those that are prescribed as prohibited firearms in the regulations. The detailed regulations under the Criminal Code list various types of handguns and automatic weapons.
Restricted firearms include all handguns that are not overtly prohibited (often used at sport shooting competitions and clubs), certain guns with specified barrel lengths, and also a list of guns listed as restricted firearms in the regulations.
Under the Criminal Code, weapons are to be distinguished from firearms.
Restricted weapons consists of any weapon, other than a firearm that is prescribed as such.Prohibited weapons include knives that have blades that open automatically, by way of a spring etc. (switch blades), as well as any weapons that are specifically prescribed as being a prohibited weapon.It is illegal in Canada to possess a weapon for any purpose deemed dangerous to the public’s peace.
As with any criminal offence, the penalties upon conviction of a weapons offence depend heavily on the circumstances and presence of any aggravating factors surrounding the offence. It also depends upon whether the mandatory minimum sentence provisions in the Criminal Code apply. There are a variety of weapons offences, and many offences – particularly firearm offences – carry minimum terms of imprisonment. The penalties if you are convicted of one of these crimes can have a devastating impact on your future.
There are some effective common defences to a firearm offence or other weapons offence, which is why it’s so important you hire an experienced criminal lawyer.
Remember, just because you are charged doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted.
We’ve provided some general information about weapons offences below. If you are facing firearm or weapons charges, please contact our office today for a consultation.
What Constitutes a “Weapon”?
According to Section 2 of the Criminal Code, a weapon is any object used, designed to be used, or intended to be used to threaten or intimidate a person, or to cause injury or death to a person. This broad definition may include household items such as butter knives if their purpose is to threaten, intimidate, or cause bodily harm or death to another person. Many objects qualify as a weapon – but only if you intend to use it as such.
Some items may or may not meet the definition depending on the circumstances of the offence, like hunting knives or pocket knives.There are some items that always qualify as weapons under the law, such as firearms, brass knuckles, and crossbows.
Other items are illegal to possess at all, such as a firearm without the proper license and certain types of knives, such as switchblades.