Non-Restricted and Other Types of Firearms

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General Principles

All rifles and shotguns that do not otherwise fit in the definition of restricted or prohibited firearms is a "non-restricted firearm".

84
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"non-restricted firearm" means

(a) a firearm that is neither a prohibited firearm nor a restricted firearm, or
(b) a firearm that is prescribed to be a non-restricted firearm; (arme à feu sans restriction)

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Antique Firearms

84.
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“antique firearm” means

(a) any firearm manufactured before 1898 that was not designed to discharge rim-fire or centre-fire ammunition and that has not been redesigned to discharge such ammunition, or
(b) any firearm that is prescribed to be an antique firearm;

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R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 84; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), ss. 185(F), 186; 1991, c. 40, s. 2; 1995, c. 39, s. 139; 1998, c. 30, s. 16; 2003, c. 8, s. 2; 2008, c. 6, s. 2; 2009, c. 22, s. 2.


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The Regulations Prescribing Antique Firearms, SOR/98-464, that came into force on December 1, 1998, further defines antique firearm as follows:

BLACK POWDER REPRODUCTIONS

1. A reproduction of a flintlock, wheel-lock or matchlock firearm, other than a handgun, manufactured after 1897.

RIFLES

2. A rifle manufactured before 1898 that is capable of discharging only rim-fire cartridges, other than 22 Calibre Short, 22 Calibre Long or 22 Calibre Long Rifle cartridges.
3. A rifle manufactured before 1898 that is capable of discharging centre-fire cartridges, whether with a smooth or rifled bore, having a bore diameter of 8.3 mm or greater, measured from land to land in the case of a rifled bore, with the exception of a repeating firearm fed by any type of cartridge magazine.

SHOTGUNS

4. A shotgun manufactured before 1898 that is capable of discharging only rim-fire cartridges, other than 22 Calibre Short, 22 Calibre Long or 22 Calibre Long Rifle cartridges.
5. A shotgun manufactured before 1898 that is capable of discharging centre-fire cartridges, other than 10, 12, 16, 20, 28 or 410 gauge cartridges.

HANDGUNS

6. A handgun manufactured before 1898 that is capable of discharging only rim-fire cartridges, other than 22 Calibre Short, 22 Calibre Long or 22 Calibre Long Rifle cartridges.
7. A handgun manufactured before 1898 that is capable of discharging centre-fire cartridges, other than a handgun designed or adapted to discharge 32 Short Colt, 32 Long Colt, 32 Smith and Wesson, 32 Smith and Wesson Long, 32-20 Winchester, 38 Smith and Wesson, 38 Short Colt, 38 Long Colt, 38-40 Winchester, 44-40 Winchester, or 45 Colt cartridges.


Regs

Inoperable Firearms

An inoperable firearm will be a "Firearm" within the meaning of s.2, if it is capable of being made operable. The Crown holds the burden of establishing that an inoperable firearm is capable of operation through fixing or assembling.[1]

An inoperable weapon otherwise fitting the definition of firearm can be a firearm if it can be fixed into operating order in a relatively short period of time and with relative ease.[2] Likewise, if there is at least some evidence indicating or inferring that the alleged firearm, because of a defect or inadequacy, is incapable of being fired, then it is not a firearm.[3]

A firearm does not cease to meet the definition merely by being in a state of disrepair or disassembly such that it can be easily repaired.[4]

An air gun will generally be classified as a firearm.[5]

However, an inoperable air pistol is not a firearm as it is incapable of causing serious bodily harm.[6]

The use of an inoperable firearm during the commission of an offence such as during a robbery may still be a "firearm".[7]

  1. R v Dufour (1982), 3 CCC (3d) 14, [1982] NSJ No. 549 (NSCA)(*no CanLII links)
  2. R v Sinclair, 2005 ABCA 443 (CanLII)
    R v Covin, [1983] 1 SCR 725, 1983 CanLII 151 (SCC)
    R v Dufour
    R v Belair, 1981 CanLII 1625 (ON CA), (1981), 24 C.R. (3d) 133, [1981] O.J. No. 3129 (Ont. C.A.)
  3. R v Marchesani, 1969 CanLII 264 (ON SC), [1970] 1 CCC 350 (O.H.C.)
  4. R v Cairns (1962), 39 C.R. 154, [1962] BCJ No. 87 (BCCA)(*no CanLII links)
  5. R v Dunn, 2013 ONCA 539 (CanLII), upheld at 2014 SCC 69 (CanLII) overturning R v McManus and R v Labrecque
    R v Felawka, [1993] 4 SCR 199, 1993 CanLII 36 (SCC) at paras 11 to 14
  6. Covin
  7. R v Belair

Make-shift Firearms

Whether something can be adapted for use as a firearm depends on the amount, nature and time spent adapting the device.[1]

Certain devices such as pellet guns can be found to be a firearm where it is "used or intended to be used for a dangerous purpose".[2]

  1. R v Covin, [1983] 1 SCR 725, 1983 CanLII 151 (SCC)
  2. R v Labrecque, 2010 ONSC 754 (CanLII) appeal denied at 2011 ONCA 360 (CanLII)
    see also R v McManus, 2006 CanLII 26568 (ON CA), [2006] O.J. No. 3175 (C.A.)
    Contra: Covin, supra

Imitation Firearms

An "imitation firearm" refers to "any thing that imitates a firearm, and includes a replica firearm;" (s. 84)

An object that is found to "resemble" a firearm will be an "imitation firearm".[1]

A real firearm is also a form of imitation firearm.[2]

A starting pistol is an "imitation firearm".[3]

A "prohibited device" refers to "(e) a replica firearm;"(s. 84)

Under s. 85, a "replica firearm" refers to "any device that is designed or intended to exactly resemble, or to resemble with near precision, a firearm, and that itself is not a firearm, but does not include any such device that is designed or intended to exactly resemble, or to resemble with near precision, an antique firearm;"

  1. R v Taing, 1998 ABCA 108 (CanLII), [1998] A.J. No. 377 (Alta. C.A.) ("On the evidence, the only conclusion open to the trial judge was a finding that it resembled a firearm. To resemble something is to be an imitation of it.")
  2. R v Scott, 2000 BCCA 220 (CanLII), (2000), 145 CCC (3d) 52 (BCCA), affd 2001 SCC 73 (CanLII), [2001] 3 SCR 425 (S.C.C.), at para 45 ("Therefore, to avoid absurdities in firearms cases, and interpret s. 85(2) in harmony with the intention of Parliament, the term “imitation firearm” must include real firearms")
  3. R v Boutilier, [1974] 4 W.W.R. 443

Exempt Firearms

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Certain weapons deemed not to be firearms
(3) For the purposes of sections 91 to 95, 99 to 101, 103 to 107 and 117.03 of this Act and the provisions of the Firearms Act, the following weapons are deemed not to be firearms:

(a) any antique firearm;
(b) any device that is
(i) designed exclusively for signalling, for notifying of distress, for firing blank cartridges or for firing stud cartridges, explosive-driven rivets or other industrial projectiles, and
(ii) intended by the person in possession of it to be used exclusively for the purpose for which it is designed;
(c) any shooting device that is
(i) designed exclusively for the slaughtering of domestic animals, the tranquillizing of animals or the discharging of projectiles with lines attached to them, and
(ii) intended by the person in possession of it to be used exclusively for the purpose for which it is designed; and
(d) any other barrelled weapon, where it is proved that the weapon is not designed or adapted to discharge
(i) a shot, bullet or other projectile at a muzzle velocity exceeding 152.4 m per second or at a muzzle energy exceeding 5.7 Joules, or
(ii) a shot, bullet or other projectile that is designed or adapted to attain a velocity exceeding 152.4 m per second or an energy exceeding 5.7 Joules.

Exception — antique firearms
(3.1) Notwithstanding subsection (3), an antique firearm is a firearm for the purposes of regulations made under paragraph 117(h) of the Firearms Act and subsection 86(2) of this Act.
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