What Should I Know About a Weapons Trafficking Charge?
For the purposes of this blog, “weapon” refers primarily to “firearm” and, as stated in our previous blog, What Should I Know About a Gun Possession Charge, firearms are defined in Section 84(1) of the Criminal Code. There are three firearm categories: (1) prohibited firearm (handgun or sawed-off shotgun/rifle); (2) restricted firearm (semi-automatic firing rate, collapsible/telescoping gun); and (3) non-restricted firearm (hunting rifles and shotguns). For more information related to firearm categories and possession offences, click here.
Weapons trafficking is governed by section 99(1) of the Criminal Code which states that it is a criminal offence to manufacture or transfer (whether for payment or not) or offer to manufacture or transfer a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, any ammunition, or any prohibited ammunition knowing that you are not authorized to do so under the Firearms Act or any other law. Save for the three firearm categories, the types of weapons described in section 99(1) are defined in section 84(1) as follows:
- Prohibited Weapon: a knife that has a blade which opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife (switch blade, “flick knife”, butterfly knife)
- Restricted Weapon: any weapon other than a firearm that is restricted (crossbow).
- Prohibited Device: (a) any component or part of a weapon, or any accessory for use with a weapon, that is prescribed to be a prohibited device; (b) a handgun barrel that is equal to or less that 105mm in length; (c) a device or attachment that is intended to muffle or stop the sound of a firearm (a silencer); (d) a prohibited cartridge magazine; and (e) a replica firearm.
- Ammunition: a cartridge containing a projectile (bullet) designed to be discharged from a firearm, including a caseless cartridge and a shot shell.
- Prohibited Ammunition: ammunition or a projectile of any kind that is prohibited (armour-piercing bullets).
Section 99(2) of the Criminal Code, “Punishment – firearm”, addresses trafficking of a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm, a non-restricted firearm, a prohibited device, or any prohibited ammunition. If you are charged under this section and ultimately convicted, you are guilty of an indictable offence (serious offence) and face a maximum prison term of ten (10) years. The minimum prison terms for such a conviction, include:
(a) First offence – three (3) years; and
(b) Second or subsequent offence – five (5) years.
Other Weapons Trafficking
With respect to a conviction for other weapons trafficking (indictable offence), section 99(3) of the Criminal Code prescribes a maximum prison term of ten (10) years and a minimum prison term of one (1) year.
Possession for Purpose of Weapons Trafficking
You may also be charged under section 100(1) of the Criminal Code, “Possession for purpose of weapons trafficking”, if you possess a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm, a non-restricted firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, any ammunition, or any prohibited ammunition for the purpose of
(a) transferring it (whether for payment or not); or
(b) offering to transfer it,
knowing that you are not authorized to transfer it under the Firearms Act or other law.
If the weapon is a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm, a non-restricted firearm, a prohibited device, any ammunition, or any prohibited ammunition, and you are convicted (indictable offence), then you face a possible maximum prison term of ten (10) years and a minimum prison term of: (a) first offence – three (3) years; and (b) second or subsequent offence – five (5) years (section 100(2) of the Criminal Code). In the case of other weapons (indictable offence), you face a possible maximum prison term of ten (10) years and a minimum prison term of one (1) year (section 100(3) of the Criminal Code).
Throughout his legal career, Jeff Mazin has helped his clients fight a variety of weapon and firearm charges and in doing so, understands the complexities. His success in this field can be demonstrated in a landmark ruling, wherein 2012 Mazin successfully challenged the constitutionality of a three year minimum gun trafficking sentence and won. If you have been charged with a weapon or firearms offence, Jeff Mazin is who you want in your corner. If you have a question or need assistance, reach out and book a free consultation.