INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
Individuals under direct and immediate supervision may possess prohibited weapons for lawful use; those who come into possession of such items by law must dispose of them or obtain proper licensing.
91(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to (a) a person who possesses a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition while the person is under the direct and immediate supervision of a person who may lawfully possess it, for the purpose of using it in a manner in which the supervising person may lawfully use it; or (b) a person who comes into possession of a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition by the operation of law and who, within a reasonable period after acquiring possession of it, (i) lawfully disposes of it, or (ii) obtains a licence under which the person may possess it and, in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, a registration certificate for it.
Section 91(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision within the law. The section allows for limited exceptions to the prohibitions on possession of firearms, weapons, and ammunition. Specifically, subsections (1) and (2) which prohibit possession of such items do not apply to a person who possesses them under direct and immediate supervision of a lawfully authorized person or to a person who acquires them by the operation of law and takes the necessary steps to dispose of them or obtain the appropriate license. The first exception applies where a person is under the direct and immediate supervision of someone who is authorized to lawfully possess a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, or any prohibited ammunition for a specific purpose. In this situation, the person is allowed to possess the item for the purpose of using it in a manner that their supervising person may lawfully use it. This exception is limited and only allows for the supervised use of the item. The second exception applies to a person who comes into possession of an item by the operation of law. For example, if a person is inherited a firearm, they could be in possession of a prohibited or restricted item. In this case, the individual must dispose of the item in a lawful manner or obtain a license to possess it. The exception is only available for a reasonable period, and failure to dispose of the item or obtain licensing can result in criminal charges. Thus, the provisions of section 91(4) provide limited exceptions to the prohibitions on possessing firearms, prohibited weapons, restricted weapons, prohibited devices, and any prohibited ammunition. It grants flexibility under certain situations without weakening Canada's strict gun laws.
Section 91(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada serves as an exception to the general rule that possession of firearms, prohibited weapons, restricted weapons, prohibited devices, or prohibited ammunition is illegal in the absence of a valid license or authorization. The provision creates two distinct circumstances where a person's possession of these restricted items is deemed lawful. The first circumstance applies where a person possesses a restricted item under the direct and immediate supervision of an individual who is authorized to possess it for lawful purposes. This exemption recognizes that certain types of firearms or weapons may be used in lawful pursuits, such as recreational hunting or professional security or law enforcement. It authorizes incidental possession of these items by a person who is not authorized to possess them but is participating in a lawful activity under the direct guidance of an authorized individual. For example, a person who is not licensed to possess a firearm or a prohibited weapon may be allowed to handle it under the supervision of a licensed firearm holder or law enforcement official, while participating in a shooting competition or training exercise. This exemption is essential to ensure that participants in lawful activities are not unfairly penalized for handling restricted items as part of these activities. The second circumstance applies to a person who comes into possession of a restricted item through the operation of law, such as inheritance, estate distribution, or seizure by law enforcement. This exemption allows the person to possess a restricted item without a license or authorization for a reasonable period, to enable the person to dispose of the item or obtain proper authorization. The intent of this exemption is to avoid criminalizing innocent possession of restricted items that come into a person's possession by inadvertence, without any intention to commit an offense. At the same time, it places an obligation on the person to take prompt action to either dispose of the item or obtain proper authorization, failing which the person could be deemed to be in unlawful possession of the restricted item. It is important to note that these exemptions are conditional and limited. Possession under supervision is only lawful if it is for the purpose of using the item in a manner in which the supervising person may lawfully use it. Any other use or possession is still illegal and punishable by law. Similarly, possessing a restricted item by operation of law is only lawful for a reasonable period, after which the person must either dispose of the item or obtain proper authorization. Failure to do so exposes the person to criminal liability. Overall, Section 91(4) strikes a balance between the need to restrict access to dangerous weapons and the recognition of legitimate reasons for possessing firearms or other restricted items. These exemptions ensure that innocent possession or incidental handling does not result in criminal liability, while still maintaining strict controls on who may lawfully possess or use these items.
Section 91(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada has significant implications for individuals who possess firearms, restricted weapons, prohibited devices, and prohibited ammunition. In order to fully understand the strategic considerations when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code, it is important to first understand the context of the law and the potential consequences of breaking it. At its core, Section 91(4) provides certain exemptions for individuals in possession of specific types of weapons, but only under certain circumstances. For example, someone who possesses a firearm for the purpose of hunting or target shooting would be exempt under this law, but only if they are under the direct and immediate supervision of someone who is authorized to possess that type of firearm. Similarly, someone who comes into possession of a firearm by operation of law (such as through inheritance or an estate settlement) must dispose of it or obtain the necessary licenses and registration certificates within a reasonable period of time. One of the main strategic considerations when dealing with Section 91(4) is ensuring that all necessary licenses and registration certificates are obtained in a timely manner. This can be a complex process, as the specific requirements for each type of weapon can vary significantly depending on factors such as the intended use and the individual's prior criminal history. Failing to obtain the necessary licenses or registration certificates can result in serious consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and the forfeiture of the weapon in question. Another important strategic consideration is understanding the legal definition of terms such as "prohibited device" and "restricted weapon." These terms can cover a wide range of specific weapons and accessories, and failing to properly categorize a weapon or accessory can result in unintentional violations of the law. In some cases, it may be necessary to seek the advice of legal professionals or law enforcement officials to properly classify a particular item. In order to comply with Section 91(4) and avoid legal issues, it may be necessary to develop specific strategies for handling weapons and ammunition. For example, individuals who frequently use firearms for hunting or target shooting may need to ensure that they are always under the direct and immediate supervision of someone authorized to possess that type of firearm. Individuals who come into possession of a firearm by operation of law may need to prioritize obtaining the necessary licenses and registration certificates as soon as possible, and disposing of the weapon if they are unable to do so. Overall, the key to successfully navigating Section 91(4) is to educate oneself on the specific requirements of the law and to develop a strategic plan for handling firearms, restricted weapons, prohibited devices, and prohibited ammunition. Whether through seeking legal advice, obtaining necessary licenses and certificates, or forming partnerships with other authorized individuals, careful planning and attention to detail can help individuals stay on the right side of the law and avoid legal pitfalls.