Dunn is the Supreme Court of Canada case that confirms that a pellet gun that CAN cause serious bodily injury or death to a person is a “firearm” for the purposes of the Criminal Code s. 2 definition. As such, this type of pellet gun is also ALWAYS a “weapon” for the purposes of s. 2 of the Code.
Dunn leaves us with a three-pronged approach when dealing with projectile-firing items:
High Velocity Projectile-Firing Weapons
. Muzzle velocity exceeding 500’/ second (capable of causing SBI or death)
. Always a “firearm” by definition (s.2 and ss. 84(3))
. Always a “weapon”
Medium Velocity Projectile-Firing Weapons
. Muzzle velocity between 214’/246’/ second and up to and including 500’/ second (capable of causing SBI or death)
. “Firearm” by s. 2 definition
. Not always a firearm for ss. 84(3) purposes (specific possession offences)
. Always a “weapon”
Low Velocity Projectile-Firing Weapons
. Muzzle velocity less than 214’/246’/ second (not capable of causing SBI or death)
. Not a firearm for any purpose (s. 2 and ss. 84(3))
. Only a “weapon” if it meets the s.2 requirements (used, designed tobe used, or intended to be used to cause death or injury to a person or to threaten/intimidate a person)
The CFO is forever being asked what its “interpretation” of Dunn is or what its “position” on Dunn is. The simple answer is that the CFO neither has a position nor an interpretation, because, thanks to ss. 84(3)(d) of the Criminal Code, the only firearms that the CFO is obliged to care about are the high velocity projectile-firing weapons. Those with a muzzle velocity exceeding 500’/ second. The medium velocity projectile-firing weapons, although “firearms” by definition, are exempt from the provisions of the Firearms Act and, therefore, of no moment to the CFO.
Although the provisions of the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations do not apply to these medium velocity projectile-firing weapons, common sense suggests that, in that they meet the “firearm” definition, they should be stored securely, separate from the ammunition they are capable of discharging, and out of reach of unauthorized persons.