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Weapons Offences


Facing Weapons Offences in British Columbia and Alberta

It is illegal in Canada to possess a weapon for any purpose deemed dangerous to the public’s peace. As with any criminal offence, the penalties upon conviction of a weapons offence depend heavily on the circumstances and presence of any aggravating factors surrounding the offence.

There are a variety of weapons offences, and many offences – particularly firearm offences – carry minimum terms of imprisonment. The penalties if you are convicted of one of these crimes can have a serious impact on your future.

There are some effective common defences to a firearm offence or other weapons offence, which is why it’s so important you hire an experienced criminal lawyer. Sprake Song & Konye have the expertise to help you navigate the criminal justice system and will aggressively work to secure the best possible outcome for your case.

Remember, just because you are charged doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted.

We’ve provided some general information about weapons offences below. If you are facing firearm or weapons charges, please contact our office today for a consultation.

What Constitutes a “Weapon?”

According to Section 2 of the Criminal Code, a weapon is any object used, designed to be used, or intended to be used to threaten or intimidate a person, or to cause injury or death to a person. This broad definition may include relatively ambiguous household items such as butter knives if their purpose is to threaten, intimidate, or cause bodily harm or death to another person. Thus, many objects qualify as a weapon only if you intend to use it as such.

Some items may or may not meet the definition depending on the circumstances of the offence, like hunting knives or pocket knives.

There are some items that always qualify as weapons under the law, such as firearms, brass knuckles, and crossbows.

Other items are illegal to possess at all, such as a firearm without the proper license and certain types of knives, such as switchblades.

Types of Weapons Offences

There are many types of weapons offences. Let’s take a look at a few of the more common types.

Weapons Dangerous

According to Section 88 of the Criminal Code, the possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public’s peace is illegal.

Use Offences

Any use of a weapon, even if it is legally possessed and carried, may result in criminal charges. This may include pointing a firearm or careless use of a firearm.

Concealed Carry

According to Section 90 of the Criminal Code, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon unless you have authorization under the Firearms Act to do so.

Possession Offences

Possessing an illegal weapon or device, including possession of a loaded prohibited firearm or possession of a concealed knife, can result in criminal charges.

What is Dangerous to the Public’s Peace?

Section 88 of the Criminal Code defines makes it illegal to carry a weapon with a purpose “dangerous to the public’s peace.” This broad term encompasses any purpose which disrupts the “normal state of society” or disturbs “the general peace and order or the realm as provided for by law.”

Essentially, carrying a weapon with an “unquiet and harmful” intent towards the general public constitutes a purpose dangerous to the public’s peace. This definition is quite vague, leaving room for interpretation and potential defence to allegations against an accused individual.

Common Defence to a Firearm Offence

There are a few common defences to a firearm offence that may successfully get your sentence reduced or acquitted altogether.


In order to convict an offender of a firearm or other weapons offence, the Crown must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused possessed the weapon with the intent of disturbing the peace of committing a crime. In some cases, intoxication may negate the accused’s intent to commit an offence.


This area of the law is murky, as various courts have ruled in contradictory ways on possessing a weapon for the purpose of self-defence. Ultimately, it’s up to your lawyer to present a case that your possession of a weapon for self-defence, and the judge to determine the validity of your case.

Unpremeditated Use

If the weapon in question is otherwise possessed lawfully, the accused may not be found guilty of possession for a dangerous purpose, even if they later used it as a weapon.

Illegal Search

In many cases it’s possible to argue that the evidence facing the accused was obtained during an illegal search, interrogation, or stop by police officers. This may lead the court to exclude the evidence against the accused.

Penalties for Weapon Possession

As with any criminal offence, the penalties will vary based on the judge’s discretion and will depend on the circumstances. Generally, possession of a weapon dangerous the public’s peace may result in a maximum of 6 months in jail if the Crown proceeds by summary conviction, or up to 10 years if the Crown proceeds by indictment.

The Right Legal Defence for Firearm and Weapons Offences

First-time offenders have a good chance of avoiding jail time with the right legal defence, but even more serious offenders can benefit from having solid representation.

Sprake Song & Konye are aggressive lawyers who will fight for you. Contact us today if you are facing a weapons offence.