Firearm Offenses and Their Penalties Under the Criminal Code of Canada

Firearm Offenses and Their Penalties Under the Criminal Code of Canada

Although it’s legal for licensed Canadian civilians to own a firearm, there are still several restrictions and limitations on how one can use them. Guns are often utilized as a tool to harass, murder, rob, or assault other individuals. That’s why the Canadian government has made strict regulations on the ownership of weapons.

Firearm offenses are considered severe lawbreaking charges under the Criminal code of Canada. In case you are charged with this type of violation of the law, it’s best to consult a reliable criminal defense lawyer near you so that you can get the best possible legal guidance to defend your case correctly.

In simple words, a firearm is an item when used, is capable of causing either death or severe bodily injuries to other people. Officially, the term firearm is defined as “a barreled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectiles can be discharged, and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person.”

The criminal code and the firearm act of Canada address gun-related issues such as ownership, storage, use, and trafficking. It classifies firearms into three major categories; non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited.


Prohibited Firearms

Some of the illegal guns include weapons that one can easily convert into automatic firearms without the replacement of any component in less than 10 minutes, such as automatic guns capable of rapid firing and sawed-off shotguns. There are also some other particular types of prohibited firearms like handguns shorter than 105mm and others specifically designed to fire 25 or 32 calibre cartridge.


Restricted Firearms

Guns with a barrel less than 470mm long generally come under this kind of firearm. Weapons designed to be fired while being reduced to a length of 600mm by folding and telescoping also come under the category of restricted firearms. One is allowed to store, display, or even transport this type of gun under the applicable regulations. Being Canadian, you can own a restricted firearm in case you get a license as per the Firearm Act.


Non-Restricted Firearms

Rifles and shotguns that are neither prohibited nor restricted can be utilized for recreational purposes. Weapons such as hunting and sporting rifles are typical examples of non-restricted firearms. Still, one has to obtain a proper license and meet all the requirements as per the Firearm Act.

Gun crimes lead to different kinds of penalties, which largely depends on the nature of the crime committed. Now, let’s discuss some of the common penalties associated with the unlawful use of firearms according to the Criminal code of Canada.




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Non-Severe Penalties

Some of the non-severe penalties that come directly under the firearm offenses include:

  • Careless handling or storage, which results in a sentence between 6-month imprisonment plus $5,000 fine to 2 years in jail depending on whether the offense is a summary conviction or an indictable one. The maximum penalty for consecutive crimes is 5 years in prison
  • Pointing a firearm at someone leads to a maximum sentence of 6 months coupled with $5,000 fine to 5 years in jail
  • Carrying a concealed weapon results in a maximum penalty of 6 months and $5,000 fine to 5 years in jail


Severe Penalties

Some of the severe penalties related to firearm offenses are:

  • Guns for dangerous purposes include possessing weapons, pretending to have a firearm or illegal gun to harm someone. This kind of crime leads to a maximum penalty of 6 months coupled with a $5,000 fine to 10-year prison time
  • Keeping an illegal weapon will be treated either as an intention to engage in an unlawful activity or to commit a crime. The minimum penalty imposed in this case is 1-year jail time for the second offense and a maximum sentence of 10-year jail-time
  • Keeping a restricted weapon with ammunition comes with a minimum penalty of 3-5 prison time and a sentencing range between 1-year plus $5,000 fine to 10-year jail-time in most criminal cases


In short, one can possess an authorized firearm in Canada without breaking the law. In case of violation regulations given in the Canadian firearm act, it can result in either hefty fines, prison time (or both in some cases) and, of course, a criminal record. It’s everyone’s wish to get their life back to normal when charged or convicted with a firearm-related crime. Get help now if you or someone you know needs legal assistance related to firearm offense.



Read more Legal related stories in The Weekly Trends magazine.



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