Understanding Firearm And Weapon Offences In Alberta

December 15, 2022

Understanding Firearm And Weapon Offences In Alberta

Firearm and weapon-related crimes have consistently been on the rise for a few consecutive years. While the pandemic surely played a significant role in this increase, the 2019 Statistic Canada’s police-reported crime research suggests that the overall volume and severity of violent crimes increased by 7% in that year. The same report pointed out that the CSI (Crime Severity Index) for all violent crimes (including those carried out using firearms) and non-violent crimes increased for the fifth consecutive year.

As expected, the aforementioned figures drastically shot up the police-reported crime report of 2021. The volume and severity of police-reported violent crimes rose by 5% in 2021 as a continued effect of the pandemic. Total hate crimes increased by 27%, while every four in ten homicides consisted of the use of a firearm.

For this reason, weapons and weapon-related actions are heavily regulated in Canada. As a long-serving firearm and weapon offences lawyer in Edmonton, I have come to realize that when Canadians hear the word ‘weapon,’ the only things that come to their minds are guns, knives, bombs, or sharp-edged objects. Contrarily, the Canadian legal system takes a far more comprehensive approach to what is considered a weapon in the country.

As a result, some people are left in shock when they are charged with a weapon offence. For instance, you might wave a wooden stick at your neighbour angrily due to a heated conversation. The next day, you might find that you have been charged with threatening your neighbour using a weapon.

If you are facing charges for weapon or firearm offences, it is in your best interest to have a reputed firearm and weapons offences lawyer by your side.

In this blog we will provide a detailed overview of firearms and weapon offences in Alberta.

What Constitutes As A Weapon?

The public tends to interpret the word weapon in numerous ways. However, simply saying you did not know a particular item could be called a weapon is not a sufficient defence against a weapon offence charge. When it comes to public safety, the law’s interpretations precede all other contextual and figurative interpretations of the term.

In light of the reality that malicious and malevolent people often use loopholes in the judicial system to their advantage, the Criminal Code Of Canada intentionally lays forth an expansive and inclusive definition of what a weapon is.

As per Section 2, a weapon is:

Anything used, designed to be used or intended for use

  1. in causing death or injury to any person, or
  2. for the purpose of threatening or terrorizing any person

and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a firearm and, for the purposes of sections 88, 267 and 272, anything used, designed to be used or intended for use in binding or tying up a person against their will.

Evidently, firearms are just one of the possible things you can call a weapon. Depending upon the circumstances, even seemingly harmless objects like a wooden stick, flower vase, frying pan, pepper spray, spade, ball, hot beverages, and everything that can inflict harm to another party.

For this reason, Alberta’s request to allow people to carry pepper spray for self-defence was rejected by the federal government. The federal government pressed the fact that these items can lead to disasters if put in the wrong hands. In fact, pepper spray is classified as a dangerous chemical by the Canadian government.

The firearms Act in conjunction with the Criminal Code, also specifically deals with firearms and provides all the licensing information. Generic weapons are further categorized into non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited firearms.

Read Also: Severe Consequences Of Drug Offense Charges In Alberta

Common Firearm And Weapon Offences In Alberta

As apparent from the discussion above, weapon offences fall into two main categories:

  • Those involving the possession or use of generic weapons like guns.
  • Those consisting of assaulting the victim using something to inflict harm or intimidate the latter.

Thus, the following weapon offences in Alberta include:

  • Assault with a weapon
  • Sexual assault with a weapon
  • Assault or sexual assault causing bodily harm using a weapon
  • Uttering threats by showcasing or threatening to use a weapon
  • Careless use of firearms
  • Contravention of storage regulations
  • Pointing a firearm
  • Possession for dangerous purposes
  • Concealed possession
  • Unauthorized possession
  • Unauthorized possession of prohibited firearms
  • Possession for trafficking purposes

And the list goes on.

Why You Need An Experienced Firearms And Weapons Offences Lawyer

Being convicted of an offence related to weapons or firearms can earn a jail sentence of anything between six months and ten years and or a fine of around $5000 or more. However, the severity of the punishment depends upon whether the Crown proceeds with a summary or indictment, the nature and severity of the offence, and whether it is the offender’s first offence.

For this reason, an experienced firearms and weapons offences lawyer must draft an excellent defence strategy to dismiss the firearms and weapons offence charges against you.

About Mr. Royer

Boasting incomparable experience in criminal defence law across various Canadian provinces, Daryl Royer proudly stands out as the most sought-after firearms and weapons offences lawyer in Edmonton and across Canada. Learn more about Daryl Royer here.

Need criminal defence services? Contact Daryl now.

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