Losing or Finding a Firearm

Losing or Finding a Firearm

The offence of losing or finding a firearm is outlined in section 105(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of losing a firearm when they lose or have their prohibited firearm, restricted firearm, non-restricted firearm, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, prohibited ammunition, authorization, licence, or registration certificate stolen and do not report the loss to a peace or firearms officer within a reasonable time.

A person commits the offence of finding a firearm when they find a prohibited firearm, restricted firearm, non-restricted firearm, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, or prohibited ammunition that they believe is lost or abandoned and they do not deliver it or report the finding to a peace or firearms officer within a reasonable time.

For the purposes of the Criminal Code, the definition of firearm includes items other than a pistol, handgun, or rifle.

Examples

Person A loses a firearm while walking around downtown but does not tell anyone about it.

Person B finds a firearm on a bench in a park and keeps it for themselves without telling anyone about it.

Person C’s house gets broken into and their hunting rifle is stolen. Person C does not report the theft to law enforcement.

Cases

R. v. Haley, 2018 ONCJ 298

In R. v. Haley, the accused was charged with one count of losing a firearm after a 9 mm Glock 17 handgun registered to him was found by police executing a search warrant in another man’s home. When the police searched the accused’s home, they found a gun safe that had been pried open and clearly once contained the Glock. The accused had never reported the gun as stolen.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

Definition of Firearm 

If the person is in possession of an object that does not fall under the Criminal Code’s definition of a “firearm” then they have not committed the offence of losing or finding a firearm.

Reported the Loss or Finding

The offence of losing or finding a firearm requires that the person not report the finding or the loss. Where a person reports that they lost or found the firearm, they will not have completed the offence of losing or finding a firearm.

Not Stolen or Found

Where a person’s firearm is not lost or stolen but simply sold or given to another person, or where another person receives a firearm as a present or buys one, they will not have committed the offence of losing or finding a firearm. It is important to note that when transferring ownership of a firearm from one party to another, it is necessary to take appropriate steps to ensure the transfer is done legally.