The Careless or Improper Storage of Firearms in Canada

The improper or careless storage of firearms means that you have put a gun, or ammunition, in an unsafe place. You can be guilty of this offence, even if you stored a firearm carelessly for a very short period of time.

Storing firearms and the law

There are strict rules regarding the storage of firearms and ammunition in Canada. These are set out under federal law. The regulations provide very specific instructions for those who have firearms on their property. For example,

When storing non-restricted firearms, the item must be:

  • Unloaded; and
  • Stored away from readily accessible ammunition; and
  • Rendered inoperable by means of a secure locking device or the removal of the bolt/bolt-carrier; or
  • Stored in a place that is securely locked

When storing restricted firearms, the item must be:

  • Unloaded; and
  • Stored away from readily accessible ammunition; and
  • Rendered inoperable by means of a secure locking device and stored in a place that is securely locked; or
  • Stored in a securely locked vault, safe or room that has been specifically constructed or modified for the secure storage of restricted firearms

Additional rules apply to the storage of prohibited firearms and the display of firearms.

What is the careless storage of firearms?

Ultimately, if you are the person responsible for a firearm, then you must take reasonable precautions to keep others safe. If you fail to do this, then you could be charged with the careless storage of firearms.

What is the penalty for the careless storage of firearms?

The penalty for the careless storage of firearms depends on whether you are convicted of a summary offence or if the Crown proceeds by way of indictment. The maximum penalty is:

  • Two years in prison for a summary offence
  • Two years in prison for an indictable offence and it is your first conviction
  • Five years in prison for an indictable offence and it is not your first conviction

Summary offences are less serious than indictable offences. The Crown will decide what type of offence to charge you with.

Defences to the careless storage of firearms

If you have been accused of the careless storage of firearms, then it is likely that someone has either reported you or has been injured by one of your firearms. Alternatively, your property may have been subject to a police search, during which officers found firearms that were not being stored properly. You may be facing additional charges, such as owning a firearm without a licence.

Whatever the circumstances, it is strongly recommended that you ask a lawyer to help you. As set out above, the careless storage of firearms can lead to a prison sentence. It is vital that you submit a strong defence case, or the repercussions could be serious.

Possible defences to the careless storage of firearms include:

  • You took reasonable care when storing your firearm
  • You did not adhere to the regulations, but you did carry out due diligence in an effort to comply
  • There was a manufacturer defect
  • The firearm is not covered by the regulations
  • The firearm was not under your control, meaning you are not the person who is responsible for its storage

How can we help?

We are a specialist team of criminal defence lawyers with expertise in Canadian firearms law. We can represent you in court, explaining why you are innocent of the charges laid against you. Our lawyers can also assess whether you were subject to an unlawful police search. If the police did not have the necessary warrant, any evidence seized during the search could be struck out. This means it cannot be raised in court.

The prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If this test cannot be achieved, then you must be found not guilty. We know how to undermine the prosecution’s case, and will apply our expertise to get a favourable outcome on your behalf.

Learn more about our expertise in Canadian firearms law.

Consult Vancouver Criminal Lawyers in Canadian Firearms Law

If you have been charged with the careless storage of firearms, please contact us at Mickelson & Whysall Law Corporation. This is one of the most common types of firearms offences and we have a strong track record of defending such cases.

Call A Vancouver Lawyer Now – 604.688.8588 (24hrs)

Recent Posts