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Is it Illegal to Possess a Firearm in Canada?

You may be charged with a criminal offence if you are found to be in possession of a firearm without a licence.

You may be charged with a criminal offence if you are found to be in possession of a firearm without a licence.

  • It is illegal to possess a gun (firearm) in Canada unless authorized to do so by a valid firearms  licence.
  • In Canada a licence is your authorization to possess and register a firearm and to obtain ammunition.
  • In order for your possession of a firearms to be legal your firearms licence must be valid for as long as you possess your firearm(s).
  • If your firearms licence expires and you are still in possession of your firearm(s) you may be charged with a criminal offence.
  •  If you are a Canadian citizen who is over 18 years of age the Possession and Acquisition License  (PAL)  is available to you to authorize your possession.
  • Your PAL must be renewed every 5 years.
  • It is required that applicants must have passed the Canadian Forearm Safety Course

For Non-Residents Aged 18 and Older:

• It is possible for non-residents to have authorized possession of a firearms under Canadian law.  They must make a non-resident firearms declaration. This declaration must be confirmed by a customs officer and then a temporary licence authorizing the non-resident’s possession for up to  60 days will be issues.

•  All non-residents  applicants who have passed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course can apply for a five-year PAL.

For Minors:

• For people 12- 17 years of age a licence will enable young people to borrow a non-restricted rifle or shotgun for approved purposes such as hunting or sport.

  • Generally, the minimum age is 12 years, but exceptions may be made for younger people who need to hunt to sustain themselves and their families.
  • All minors applying are required to take and pass the Canadian Firearm Safety Course .
  • Their license will become  void once they turn 18 years old and then they must apply for PAL.
  • You may be charged with a criminal offence if you are found to be in unauthorized possession of a firearm.

The Criminal Code of Canada:

Unauthorized possession of firearm

91. (1) Subject to subsection (4), every person commits an offence who possesses a firearm without being the holder of

(a) a licence under which the person may possess it; and

(b) in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, a registration certificate for it.

Unauthorized possession of prohibited weapon or restricted weapon
(2) Subject to subsection (4), every person commits an offence who possesses a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, other than a replica firearm, or any prohibited ammunition, without being the holder of a licence under which the person may possess it.

Exceptions
(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to

(a) a person who possesses a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition while the person is under the direct and immediate supervision of a person who may lawfully possess it, for the purpose of using it in a manner in which the supervising person may lawfully use it; or

(b) a person who comes into possession of a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition by the operation of law and who, within a reasonable period after acquiring possession of it,

(i) lawfully disposes of it, or

(ii) obtains a licence under which the person may possess it and, in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, a registration certificate for it.

  • If you have been charged with a criminal offence contact Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers for a free consultation!

 

21 Mar 2017

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