A Guide to Weapons and Firearms Offences in British Columbia

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What constitutes a firearms offence in BC?

The Firearm Act strictly prohibits possession of a firearm unless you have a permit or are shooting at a licensed shooting range.

“Unless authorized by the regulations or a permit, a person must not discharge, carry or have in the person’s possession, in or on a railway car, hand car or other vehicle on a railway, or in or on a motor vehicle, wagon, sleigh, aircraft, bicycle or other conveyance, a firearm containing live ammunition in its breech or in its magazine.”

Canada’s gun laws also require gun owners to be licensed and certain guns to be registered. If you fail to register a gun in this class or are caught in possession of a firearm without proper licensure, you will be found in defiance of the Firearms Act.

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What are the penalties for firearms and weapons offences?

If you are found in violation of the Firearm Act, you will receive an automatic minimum sentence of three years in prison. The penalties increase from there, especially if you are also convicted of a crime or misdemeanor.

If you are convicted of a crime in British Columbia while in possession of a firearm, the automatic minimum sentence is four years, regardless of the severity of the crime. This sentence can increase depending on the type of crime committed. 

What firearms are illegal in BC?

In British Columbia, as well as the rest of Canada, firearms are classified into three categories:

Non-restricted firearms include ordinary shotguns and rifles, such as those commonly used for hunting.

Restricted firearms include certain handguns and some semi-automatic long guns. Rifles that can be fired when telescoped or folded to shorter than 660 millimeters, or 26 inches, are also restricted.

Prohibited firearms include most 32 and 25 calibre handguns, and handguns with a barrel length of 105 millimeters or shorter. Fully automatic firearms, converted automatics, firearms with a sawed-off barrel, and some military rifles like the AK-47 are also prohibited.”

Courtesy of People’s Law School

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How can I legally purchase a firearm in BC?

Purchasing a non-restricted firearm is very straightforward. All you need to do is pass a safety course, then submit an application for a license by mail.

To purchase a restricted firearm, you’ll need to pass an additional safety course, as well as join a shooting club.

More information on purchasing firearms safely and legally can be found here.

It’s important to follow the law to a T when it comes to purchasing a firearm. These laws exist to protect you as well as others from potentially dangerous situations, and the penalties for breaking these laws are severe.

If you were convicted of a firearms offence in BC, give us a call today.

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