What You Need to Know
At first thought, the term ‘gun offence’ may conjure up images of gangs, black market handguns, drive-by shootings, or bank robberies carried out by masked bandits with sawed off shotguns. The stark reality is that the vast majority of individuals charged with gun offences are otherwise innocent citizens who are caught by the entangling, confusing and often unfair legal framework that comprises Canadian Gun Legislation. Hunters and sportsmen, collectors and connoisseurs, farmers and ranchers — even children — are often victims of overzealous criminal prosecutors and police officers who had never handled a firearm before basic training.
The rights of gun owners in Canada are constantly challenged in and out of the courtroom. Navigating gun control in this country means understanding the context and laws surrounding a guns charge, whether it be licensing, storage, or possession – and is an essential first step our top criminal lawyers take in the path to a winning defence.
The expected consequences for being charged with weapons offences can be severe. To a gun owner the consequences of a conviction for any of these offences can be devastating and may include a criminal record, the confiscation of your firearms, and prohibition on owning firearms in the future. In addition, many firearms offences today come with mandatory minimum sentences starting at one year, all the way up to 5 years jail time for a first offence.
Beyond this, a criminal conviction can lead to lost employment opportunities, travel restrictions, and the psychological and emotional stigma of being labelled a ‘criminal’.
How We Can Help
At Dunn & Associates, when it comes to defending your rights to bear arms we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. Each and every one of our lawyers are gun owners and holders of a Canadian Possession and Acquisition License (PAL). As shooters/hunters/collectors, we understand the passion that lawful gun owners have for their rights. We understand that having your guns seized and confiscated can be a personal loss. We understand that a firearms prohibition means more than not being able to shoot or hunt — it changes who we are.
Strategies For Defence
There is a lot we can do if you’ve been charged with possession, concealed carry, or even careless use of a gun. We pride ourselves in developing vigorous defences of gun charges, including:
- Challenging gun definitions: Within the law, firearms typically fall under two general categories. Long Guns (rifles, shotguns) and Handguns (revolvers, pistols) are defined as ‘a weapon from which any shot, bullet, or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person’. However, the legislation around inoperable, imitation, makeshift, and prohibited firearms is complicated and subjective. Challenging the assertion that a rifle or revolver actually qualifies as a “firearm” according to the Criminal Code and/or Firearms Act can result in charges being dropped.
- Questioning the concept of gun possession: We have a deep understanding of the exceptions to the laws around gun possession, and can often take this approach when circumstances show that the legislation applied to a situation is unclear or unfair.
- Dissecting gun registration and licensing rules: The legislation and rules are incredibly complex, be they for pointing a firearm or failing to produce licensing. We carefully review procedures and details to ensure that police officers don’t lay charges in error due to a lack of knowledge of gun classification, transportation, or storage regulations.
- Challenging firearm legislation with respect to minimum sentences: Outdated, often draconian, and out-of-context laws around sentencing need to be changed. We believe that Canada’s gun laws are under siege – from politicians, police officers, prosecutors, the media, and even the judiciary.
Call us. We can help.
If you have been charged with careless storage, pointing a firearm, or possession for a dangerous purpose, give our Calgary criminal lawyers a call. Whether it was a momentary lapse of judgment or you have been falsely accused, your freedom is our focus.