The Criminal Code defines the terms “weapon” and “firearms” broadly:
- “Weapon” is defined as anything that is “used,” “designed to be used,” or “intended for use” in causing injury, death, or intimidation of a person. In some cases, normal household implements like screwdrivers have been found to be a “weapon.”
- “Firearm” is defined as “a barrelled weapon” from which projectiles can be fired that is capable of causing injury or death to a person. Firearms are legislated in detail in the Firearms Act.
Some weapons and firearms are classified as “restricted” or “prohibited” under the Criminal Code and regulations, including, for example, brass knuckles, “knife-codes,” and certain handguns.
The Criminal Code includes many weapons-related or firearms-related offences, including:
- It is an offence to use a firearm or imitation firearm while committing a number of other offences, including some homicide offences, sexual offences, and theft / fraud offences.
- It is an offence to carry a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence or for a purpose that is “dangerous to the public peace.”
- It is an offence to use a firearm or certain weapons in a careless manner or to point a firearm at another person, whether or not it is loaded.
- It is an offence to carry a concealed weapon unless that person is authorized to do so under the Firearms Act.
- It is an offence to possess certain firearms and certain weapons without the required license or registration certificate or to possess such a device with the license or certificate but in an unauthorized location.
The Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act also include provisions that deem other offences to be more serious if a weapon or firearm is used.
- In the bail context, for example, if a person is alleged to have used a weapon or firearm in the commission of certain offences, then they may be subject to a “reverse onus” bail hearing – they must prove that they should be released from custody, instead of the prosecution having to prove that they should be kept in custody.
- In the sentencing context, for example, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence if a person is found guilty of carrying, using, or threatening to use a weapon while trafficking drugs.
The Criminal Code also includes two sentencing provisions that prohibit an offender from possessing certain weapons or firearms for ten years or for life.
Our lawyers are available to consult with anyone that is interested in obtaining weapons or firearms legally in order to minimize the risk that the police will interfere with their lives. Our lawyers are also available to advise and represent people being investigated or charged with weapons or firearms offences.