TRANSPORTING FIREARMS INTO CANADA
Bringing firearms (guns and ammunition) into Canada is strictly controlled.
It is absolutely imperative that all firearms be disclosed when crossing the border.
It is not sufficient to hope that your vehicle will not be searched and then say “oh, I forgot I had a gun under my seat and here is my registration.”
For example: On the weekend of August 20, 2010, 3 Americans did just that and all 3 were held for bail hearings, spending a number of days in jail prior to being released. Getting released on bail is not guaranteed by any means. The Crown attorney in most cases will oppose release.
In another instance the “accused” found himself on the bridge to Canada and unable to turn around. He arrived at the border and advised he had no intention of entering Canada and just wanted to turn around. There were 4 individuals in the car and nobody even had a passport. When asked at customs primary stop if he had any firearms he responded “no”. He was sent to the secondary stop to get directions on how to turn himself around. Upon arrival at the secondary stop, the officer advised that he would be searching the car. At that time, the “accused” advised that he just remembered he had a gun under the front seat of the car. He produced the loaded firearm and his permit to carry. This individual was placed under arrest, taken to a provincial detention centre and held for a bail hearing which was 3 days later.
Ken Byers(senior partner at Daley Byers) was finally contacted by a family representative and was able to obtain the release of the accused.
The horror stories of Americans being charged at border crossings for failure to disclose the presence of a firearm are widespread. Often times jail sentences are imposed. An American permit or registration is of no consequence in Canada.
Canada has a culture with respect to guns that is completely different to that of the United States. The laws are stiff and strictly enforced.
s. 95 of the Criminal Code of Canada stipulates the penalty for a person who has possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition.
s. 95.(1) Everyone who commits an offence (possession of a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm and/or readily accessible ammunition)
- is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and to a minimum punishment ofimprisonment for a term of
- in the case of a first offence, three years, and
- in the case of a second offence or subsequent offence, five years; or
- is guilty of an offence punishable on a summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.
The prosecution of this charge can be by way of summary conviction or by way of indictment. This is analogous to proceedings in the United States on a misdemeanor or on a felony. The Crown prosecutors are directed to proceed by indictment except in special circumstances.
This is just an example of the many charges relating to the illegal possession of firearms in Canada that carry substantial MINIMUM JAIL SENTENCES.
If a mistake has been made, a lawyer is needed to assist you with bail. Often times negotiations can result in favorable results. Failing that, experienced and knowledgeable counsel will be essential for all Court proceedings.
At Daley, Byers we have a team of experienced lawyers with the requisite expertise to represent those facing charges. We are available 24/7 for emergencies. We can help!