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Self-Defence With a Firearm in Canada

Part III of the Criminal Code / Firearms and Weapons

Proportional Force: Actions Must be Reasonable

If you have been charged with a crime in Canada, you should consult with a criminal defence lawyer in your area

Self-Defence With a Firearm - Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Legal Terms

Authorization to Carry

A permit issued by the federal government under the Firearms Act that allows a person to lawfully possess a restricted or prohibited firearm that is loaded or with readily accessible ammunition.


Barrelled weapon from which a projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing bodily injury or death to a person.

Prohibited firearms

Prohibited weapons in Canada include: handguns with barrels equal to or less than 105 mm in length; handguns designed or adapted to discharge a 25 or 32 calibre cartridge; firearms adapted from a rifle or shotgun that are less than 660 mm in length or that have a barrel less than 457 mm in length; automatic firearms, whether or not altered to discharge only one projectile with one pressure of the trigger; and firearms prescribed to be prohibited firearms.

Reasonable doubt

The Supreme Court of Canada has said that reasonable doubt “falls much closer to absolute certainty than to proof on a balance of probabilities” and “that something less than absolute certainty is required, and that something more than probable guilt is required."

Restricted firearm

According to the Code, a restricted weapon is: a handgun that is not a prohibited firearm; a firearm that is not a prohibited firearm, has a barrel less than 470 mm in length, and is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner; a firearm that is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise; or a firearm of any other kind that is prescribed to be a restricted firearm.


A person is not guilty of an offence if they reasonably believe on reasonable grounds that force was being used against them or another person. or that a threat of force was made. They can act in self defence to protect themselves or the other person, as long as their actions are reasonable in the circumstances.

Self-Defence With a Firearm - Tagged With:
Tagged With: Firearm & Weapons
Self-Defence With a Firearm - Tagged With:
Code Citations: s.7 , Section 34 , Section 34 (1)