What is unsafe storage of a firearm?

Susan Karpa Criminal Lawyer in CalgaryIf you have been charged or are being investigated, hiring a Calgary Firearms Lawyer is important. I can explain the strategy for fighting these charges, the repercussions of a guilty plea, the nature of a peace bond if applicable, and other related aspects of your charges. Contact us now at 587-888-7149 for a free consultation.

What is unsafe storage of a firearm?

Unsafe storage of a firearm is a crime committed by breaking a Firearms Act rule about how to store or handle firearms or restricted weapons.

More specifically, unsafe storage of a firearm is a crime under section 86(2) of the Criminal Code committed by contravening a regulation made under section 117(h) of the Firearms Act about the storage, handling, transportation, shipping, display, advertising, or mail-order sales of a firearm or restricted weapon, including the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations.

These regulations are long and detailed, and sometimes depend on the type of firearm. Breaking these regulations and committing the offence of unsafe storage of a firearm can be committed in many ways. Here are just a few examples:

  • Storing or displaying a loaded firearm.
  • Storing a non-restricted firearm without rendering it inoperable by putting the safety on or removing the bolt/bolt carrier, or without storing it in a container or room that is not locked to a certain standard.
  • Storing a firearm that is readily accessible to ammunition (unless the ammunition is kept locked in a container that is locked and secure to a certain standard).
  • Leaving a firearm in an unattended vehicle and not securely locked in a trunk or similar compartment (or, if there is no trunk or similar compartment, securely and out-of-sight in a locked vehicle).
  • Handling a loaded firearm in a place where it is not allowed to be discharged based on any applicable law (including a municipal bylaw).
  • Mailing a firearm to somewhere outside of Canada.

There are many other ways to commit the offence of unsafe storage of a firearm.
Although unsafe storage of a firearm is taken seriously and can result in jail time, I have succeeded in having my clients’ charges diverted to the Alternative Measures Program (AMP) in some cases. If you are charged with unsafe storage of a firearm, your options will depend on the situation. 

If you have questions about what a firearm is, or about firearms offences generally, I have separate FAQ on those topics.