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Brampton Weapons lawyer

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Our Experience

In 2018, the Firm represented an individual accused of importing firearms into Canada, careless storage of ammunition, and possession of prohibited weapons in R. v. L.K. 2018]. The accused, a Toronto Fire Captain, was charged after a search warrant was executed on his house, and over $100,000 worth of guns were discovered. The file was transferred to the Guns and Gangs department of the Crown’s office for prosecution. The Crown alleged that the accused had been importing 80% gun kits into Canada. The Firm challenged the search warrant as well as the manner in which the search warrant was executed. Under Canadian law, both a warrant and the manner in which the warrant is executed must both be reasonable. The Firm argued that the manner in which the search was carried out was not reasonable under the circumstances, successfully excluding much of the Crown’s evidence. The Firm ultimately secured a withdrawal of the charges and protected the accused’s job.

In 2019, the Firm represented an individual charged with various weapons offences related to improper storage of firearms in R. v. R.L. [2019]. The accused was charged after he contacted police when his home was broken into and burglarized. The thieves had initially broken in to steal some of the 50 firearms on the property, but instead made off with other valuable personal property. When police arrived on scene to investigate the burglary, they observed numerous long rifles on the walls above the fireplace and in other areas of the home, as well as a rifle laid out on one of the beds. Further complicating matters was the fact that the accused was a government official with a high security clearance. The Firm ran a contested plea hearing, securing the very rare outcome of a conditional discharge. The accused was able to return to his position within the government without any affect.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Canada, weapons offences including firearm offences are taken very seriously. Canada has strict laws on the kinds of weapons citizens are allowed to have, where weapons can be possessed, and by whom. Those charged with possessing illegal weapons, or with using a weapon in the commission of an offence will face harsh penalties upon conviction, including lengthy prison sentences. If you have been charged with a weapons offence it is important to consult with legal counsel right away to protect your rights. Donich Law has over a decade of experience representing individuals charged with various weapons offences and regularly achieves positive results for our clients.

What are “Use” Offences in Brampton?

There are different types of offences related to firearms outlined in the Criminal Code. Essentially, a “use” offence is any criminal offence where a firearm is used. Sometimes having the firearm is itself the offence. Different offences may result in different penalties, and the Court may deem some factors particularly aggravating. For example, the use of a firearm in the commission of an offence, enumerated under section 85, is a straight indictable offence, liable to a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. The criminal offences committed with a firearm can be specifically named in the Code. Kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, and sexual assault with a firearm are all considered misusing a firearm. Section 87 enumerates pointing a firearm at another person as an offence.

The “use” of a firearm is defined in case law and has been found to include: striking a person with a firearm, pointing the firearm at a person, holding a firearm to intimidate, or brandishing the firearm. This means that the firearm does not have to be discharged to be “used.” However, if the accused only holds a weapon, makes a threatening reference to it, or has a close accessibility to a firearm with an intent to use it, they are not defined as “using” a firearm. They may, however, be guilty of another weapons offence.

How Criminal Charges can be Resolved in Canada

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The Peel Regional Police reported that in 2021, they seized a total of 380 firearms in Brampton and surrounding areas. In 2022, the number rose to 493, a result of a 29.7% increase. As weapons, firearms are created with the intent to kill or wound and has less legitimate purposes for their use or possession. Firearms offences are taken very seriously in Canada, often resulting in penalties in the higher single-digit lower double-digit range. They are often closely linked with organized crime, drugs, and violence in Brampton and throughout Ontario.

What are “Trafficking” Offences in Brampton?

Trafficking offences are offences related to the transport, export, import, sale, or movement of firearm. Section 99 enumerates weapons trafficking itself, section 100 describes possession for the purposes of weapons trafficking, and section 103 describes importing or exporting firearms with the knowledge that it is unauthorized. These offences are straight indictable, which means they may be liable to longer prison sentences. Those convicted of such offences are likely to face prison time. They will also face consequences after being released from prison including having difficulty traveling to other countries.

Section 101, the transfer of a firearm without authority is also considered trafficking offence. It is a hybrid offence, which means the Crown may choose to proceed with summary election or an indictment.  Summary election offences have sentencing ranges that are generally lower, while an indictment is treated more severely.

What are “Assembling” Offences?

Automatic firearms are outlawed in Canada, and the making of such a firearm is illegal pursuant to section 102 of the Criminal Code. The firearm does not have to be a pistol, handgun, or rifle; just as long as it can shoot projectiles continuously when the trigger is pressed. For example, an individual may 3D-print parts to assemble an automatic weapon; or they may modify an existing firearm to be able to shoot bullets continuously.

There are a few defences specific to the offence of assembling an automatic firearm. The defence counsel may submit that the person did not manufacture, assemble, or alter the firearm, and was only in possession of it. The defence may argue that the firearm does not strictly fall into the definition of “automatic,” though the accused may be subject to other firearm offences depending on if the resulting firearm is restricted or prohibited. Finally, the defence can submit that the object does not strictly meet the definition of a “firearm.”

Consequences of a Criminal Record

What If I Have a Legal Firearm but Forgot to Lock it Up?

Section 86(1) of the Criminal Code outlines the offence of careless use and storage of a firearm. Careless use of a firearm occurs when a person uses, carries, handles, ships, transports or stores a firearm, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, or prohibited ammunition in a careless manner or without taking reasonable precautions. This is a safety standard that all Canadians must comply to.

The Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations, SOR/98-209 governs how restricted and unrestricted firearms should be stored, transported, and shipped. An unrestricted firearm is only safely stored if it is unloaded, trigger-locked, and separate from its ammunition. Careless use or storage of a firearm is a hybrid offence, which means the Crown may choose to elect summarily or by indictment. If the offence is particularly serious, an indictment may result, which may mean a longer prison sentence should the accused be convicted. Furthermore, the Firearms Act sets out more restrictions and rules for the keeping of firearms.

Can I Transport My Firearm from My House to the Gun Range?

Yes, you may transport your firearm from your house to the gun range. Section 19(1) of the Firearms Act provides that anyone who holds a licence authorizing them to possess firearms may be authorized to transport them between two or more specific places for good and sufficient reasons. These reasons include, but are not restricted to, target practice or target shooting competition, firearm education purposes, or if the individual is moving residences. An individual may also want to dispose or register the gun with a peace officer or transport the firearm for commercial or showing purposes.

Permission to transport must be obtained before any movement of the firearm happens. It is important for the government to know where firearms are at all times, as a lost firearm may result in a misuse of a firearm. In addition, the ammunition must be kept locked and separate, and the firearm must comply with storage regulations. Otherwise, the person transporting the firearm may be liable to a charge under section 86(1) of the Code for careless use and storage of a firearm.

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Recent Cases

R. v. Khan, 2023 ONCA 361

In the Ontario Court of Appeal case of R. v. Khan, the appellant was convicted of possessing a restricted firearm and occupying a vehicle knowing there was a firearm in it. The police had investigated on an armed robbery of a jewellery store. An objective of the investigation was to locate the firearm. The police found the appellant communicating with a suspect and obtained the appellant’s telephone subscriber information. The police then found a suspect entering the appellant’s vehicle. The police then proceeded to follow the vehicle and arrest the persons inside, finding a shotgun and four shotgun rounds in a duffle bag after a search.

The appellant submitted that the search for the firearm is a breach of their section 8 Charter rights to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure. The defence submitted that since the telephone subscriber information was obtained without a warrant, the resulting search in the car was unconstitutional. The Court of Appeal found that this issue was raised first in the Court of Appeal and found that raising this issue was inappropriate. The defendant’s testimony that he believed he was transporting cocaine did not make sense to the Court. The appeal was dismissed.

R. v. Hoang, 2022 ONSC 1412 

In the Ontario Superior Court of Justice case of R. v. Hoang, the accused was charged with two indictable offences. He was charged with eight counts of possession of controlled substances for the purpose of trafficking, and two counts of possession of proceeds of crime over $5,000. He was also charged with unsafe storage of a tactical shotgun and shotgun shells. Approximately sixteen kilograms of controlled substances were found in the accused’s vehicle, stored in containers and “trap” compartments constructed in the console of the vehicle. The controlled substances included carfentanil, heroin compounds, cocaine, and heroin compounded with fentanyl, carfentanil, or both. In addition, more than a quarter million dollars were discovered.

The defendant claimed that he was a delivery person involved in a narcotic trafficking operation. A search warrant executed on his home and other vehicles resulted in more narcotics as well as evidence of a large-scale wholesale trafficking operation. The defendant admitted the narcotics were under his control but denied knowledge of their presence or nature. The shotgun was found to be ready-to-fire, in proximity with a vehicle that is centrally connected to an illegal business. The defendant was found guilty of multiple trafficking drug charges, possession of proceeds of crime, and unsafe storage of a firearm.

R. v. Meinzinger, 2021 ONCJ 677

In the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. Meinzinger, the accused pled guilty to careless storage of a firearm, contrary to s. 86 of the Criminal Code, as well as possessing a loaded restricted handgun, contrary to s. 95(1)(a) of the Code. The accused was a registered gun owner who ordinarily stored his guns properly. The defendant broke up with a woman who was a stabilizing influence to him, and he expressed suicidal ideation to her. He implied that he wanted to commit suicide by police and sent her pictures of him driving around with a black handgun. The woman reported the safety concern to the police.

When the accused left his home in the possession of a handgun, he left the rest of the guns unsafely stored. The police succeeded in stopping the defendant, arresting him for unsafe storage of a firearm, as well as under the Mental Health Act. Regulations did not allow or permit the accused to travel with the handgun. The defendant is reported to be stable with gainful employment and had no problems with the law save for an over 80 conviction in 2010. The Court found that the suicidal episode was a legitimate mental health crisis, and that there was a causal relationship between the mental health crisis and the offence. The defendant was found to have diminished moral blameworthiness due to his mental health crisis. The offender was sentenced to a conditional sentence, with a 12-month probation order, a lifetime weapons prohibition, and a DNA order.

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About the Author

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Jordan Donich

Jordan Donich has been a Lawyer for over 10 years and is a trusted legal analyst by Canadian Media. He is as a leader in Canada’s tech sector for lawyers and developer of Law Newbie. Jordan is a Black Belt with the Japan Karate Association and trained in Krav Maga. He won a Gold Medal at 2004 Canadian National Championships and was published in the National Newspaper Awards.

Jordan has been featured in Forbes and is a member of DMZ Angels in Toronto.