Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm

Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm

The offence of unauthorized possession of a firearm is outlined in section 91(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of unauthorized possession of a firearm when they have a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm, or a non-restricted firearm without a licence and registration certificate for it.

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

Examples

Person A keeps a rifle under the driver’s seat of their car but does not have a licence for it.

Person B keeps a sawed-off shotgun under their bed without having a licence for it even though they have the registration certificate for it.

Cases

R. v. Conway, 2009 CanLII 31989 (ON SC)

In R. v. Conway, the accused was found guilty of one count of unauthorized possession of a firearm for having a rifle without having a licence allowing him to possess it.

R. v. Dehaney, 2012 ONSC 3014

In R. v. Dehaney, the accused was charged with one count of attempting to possess a firearm knowing he did not have the licence or registration for it after trying to buy a Baby Desert Eagle over the phone from the leader of a criminal organization.

R. v. Godwin, 2019 ONSC 1101

In R. v. Godwin, the accused was charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm for having a sawed-off shotgun in his bedroom closet and a .22 Calibre rifle in his backyard without having a licence or registration certificate for them.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

Supervision

The offence of unauthorized possession of a firearm does not apply to anyone with a prohibited firearm, restricted firearm, non-restricted firearm, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, or prohibited ammunition while under the supervision of someone who can lawfully possess it and while using it in a way the supervising person may lawfully use it.

Lawfully Obtained and Dealt with

The offence of unauthorized possession of a firearm does not apply to anyone who comes into possession of a prohibited firearm, restricted firearm, non-restricted firearm, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, or prohibited ammunition legally and who, within a reasonable time after getting it, lawfully gets rid of it or obtains a license and registration certificate for it.

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 unauthorized possession of a firearm.

Licence and Registration Certificate

If the person in possession of the firearm has the required licence for possession and the registration certificate, then they have not committed the offence of unauthorized possession of a firearm.