Section 109(1) of the Criminal Code outlines what is known as a weapons prohibition order. The Code states that where an individual is convicted or discharged of certain offences, the sentencing court must make an order prohibiting them from owning or possessing any firearm or other weapons.
An individual who is convicted of any of the following offences will be issued a mandatory weapons prohibition order:
- an indictable offence in which violence was used, threatened, or attempted and for which the maximum penalty is ten years or more; or
- an indictable offence in which violence was used, threatened, or attempted and the victim was the offender’s intimate partner, parent, child, or any person who lives with the offender or the offender’s intimate partner, parent, or child; or
- any of the following offences; using firearm in commission of offence, using imitation firearm in commission of offence, possession of prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition, weapons trafficking, possession for purpose of weapons trafficking, making automatic firearm, importing or exporting knowing it is unauthorized or criminal harassment; or
- certain contraventions of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act; or
- certain contraventions of the Cannabis Act; or
- any offence that involves a firearm, crossbow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, any ammunition or prohibited ammunition, or explosive device, when at the time of the offence the offender was prohibited from possessing that item.
What is a Weapons Prohibition Order?
A weapons prohibition order is an order made by a sentencing court. The order prohibits the offender from owning or possessing any firearms, crossbow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, any ammunition or prohibited ammunition, or explosive device for a set period of time.
How long does a Weapons Prohibition Order Last?
Section 109(2) of the Code outlines the duration of prohibition orders for first time offenders. It states that the court shall prohibit first time offenders from possessing any firearm (other than a prohibited or restricted firearm), or any crossbow, restricted weapon, ammunition, or explosive substance for a period of ten years beginning on the day on which the order is made. First-time offenders will also be prohibited from possessing any prohibited or restricted firearm, prohibited weapon, prohibited devices, or prohibited ammunition for life.
An offender who is issued a weapons prohibition order for a second or subsequent offence will be prohibited from possessing any firearm, prohibited or restricted weapon, crossbow, restricted weapon, ammunition, restricted ammunition, or explosive substance for life.
What happens if you Breach a Weapons Prohibition Order?
An individual who fails to abide by a weapons prohibition order will be arrested and charged with a criminal offence. Such an offender would be charged with breaching a court order. They may also be charged with other weapons offences for illegally possessing a weapon.
Can my Weapons Prohibition Order ever be Lifted?
Section 113(1) of the Criminal Code provides that an individual who has been subject to a weapons prohibition order under section 109(1) of the Code, may apply to have the order lifted if they can satisfy a competent authority of one of two things;
- that the individual needs a firearm or restricted weapon to hunt or trap to feed themselves or their family; or
- that the prohibition order constitutes a virtual ban on employment in the only vocation open to the individual.
If the individual can satisfy the competent authority that either of these two things are true, the authority may order the chief firearms officer or the Registrar to issue an authorization, a license, or a registration certificate to the individual. The onus lies with the prohibited individual to convince the competent authority that the prohibition order should be lifted.
When determining whether the individual’s request will be granted, the competent authority will consider whether the individual has a criminal record, the nature and circumstances of the offence that led to the prohibition order being originally ordered and the safety of the person and other people within the community.