Saskatchewan has one of the highest rate of firearm-related violent crimes in the nation. That’s why the Crown takes firearms charges very seriously.
It is legal to own certain guns in Saskatchewan, but you must have a permit, and concealed weapons are not permitted.
Our team of Moose Jaw criminal lawyers can help with any weapons charge, including:
- Illegal possession of a firearm
- Illegal possession of a banned firearm
- Concealed weapons charges
- Probation violations
- Reckless discharge of a firearm
- Careless use, storage, or transport of a firearm
- Pointing a firearm
We can also help in charges where the use of a firearm increases the severity of a charge, such as an assault with a weapon or armed robbery charge.
These charges are very serious. Violent weapons charges carry mandatory minimum sentences of five years in prison, with a maximum of fourteen years for the most serious crimes.
If it’s your second offense, the mandatory minimum is seven years.
Those sentences will be added to the sentences imposed for the crime the charge was paired with if the weapons charge is aggravating an assault or robbery charge. Prosecutors often tack on weapons charges whenever and wherever possible in order to increase the likelihood of a sentence.
In addition, it is much harder to get released on bail if there is any allegation that firearms were involved in any crime you’re being charged with. Studies show your chances of acquittal get dramatically reduced if you can’t get released on bail, which means you’re going to need the best, most experienced lawyers you can possibly work with if you’re going to have a chance at pretrial release.
Illegal Possession of a Firearm or Possession of a Banned Firearm
Saskatchewan requires gun owners to acquire a Possession and Acquisition license. The Possession and Acquisition License allows you to carry certain weapons for hunting, recreation, and competition.
Over 1,500 models of firearms are completely prohibited regardless of any license you might hold.
If you are caught with a firearm that’s on the restricted list, you could be facing up to 10 years of jail simply for owning that weapon. The same is true for being caught with firearms for which you do not have a permit.
Concealed Weapons Violations
A concealed weapons charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, with a minimum six month’s sentence. You may also charge a $5,000 fine. To conceal a weapon legally, you must obtain an Authorization to Carry, or ATC.
ATCs are not issued to all gun owners. There is a professional-grade license for trappers, prospectors, those who work in the wilderness and need protection from dangerous animals, and armored car workers.
Reckless Discharge of a Firearm
Reckless discharge of a firearm covers any instance where a firearm was intentionally shot at or into a place where it might be likely to hurt another human being, especially if you knew or should have known that someone would be in that location.
This offense carries a four year mandatory minimum jail term which can be increased to five years depending on firearm type or whether or not you were discharging the firearm on behalf of any criminal organization.
Careless Use, Storage, or Transport of a Firearm
There are specific laws governing the transport of firearms. You must attain an Authorization to Transport license to legally move any handgun, and most rifles. These firearms must be unloaded during transport and disabled with a trigger lock or cable lock, then placed in a locked container. Transport requires the use of a “reasonably direct” route along pre-approved highways.
Failing to transport firearms correctly can lead to up to two years in prison for a first offense, as well as fines. You can also lose your right to own firearms for up to ten years.
Pointing a Firearm
Aiming a firearm at another person is a crime, even if you don’t discharge the weapon. The weapon doesn’t even have to be loaded.
You can receive a sentence of up to 5 years for this charge, and may receive a 10-year ban on owing any additional firearms.
Defenses for Firearms Charges
When we start to craft your legal strategy we’ll look at several potential defenses. The first and most obvious is proving your factual innocence or your right to carry the firearm, but there are other options if proving factual innocence proves to be impossible.
Another defense is to examine police conduct leading up to the seizure of the firearms and your arrest. We can call the methods of finding the weapon into question. Did they have probable cause for stopping your vehicle or stepping into your home? Did the officers have the appropriate warrants, or your permission, which would have allowed them to conduct the search in the first place?
If the firearms charge has been added on to another charge such as homicide, assault, or robbery we will work hard to craft an appropriate defense against those charges, as well.
Get Help Today
If you’ve been arrested for a gun crime then turn to us. We’re criminal lawyers with decades of experience helping Moose Jaw, SK residents protect their rights when accused of a crime.
We’re responsive, empathetic, and diligent, and take the time to understand every aspect of your case. We dig deep into the evidence to find every potential avenue for your defense. Often, we’re successful at getting charged dropped, dismissed, or reduced. We’re also known for being tough trial lawyers. When trial is the only option, we go in fully prepared to help you achieve an acquittal.
We’re also more affordable than you think, especially when you weigh the cost of our services against the long-term consequences of weapons charges or any other crime aggravated by weapons charges.
If you or a loved one needs help, contact Moose Jaw Criminal Defense Lawyer at (306) 634-7777.