Man Dials 911 by Mistake, Gets Busted for Improperly Stored Guns

a hand reloading a handgun
You need to make sure you're storing your non-restricted and restricted weapons properly.

Canada has a long and proud tradition of firearm ownership. We use them for hunting, sport, and various tasks involved with rural life.

But there are numerous regulations that we must abide by if we want to maintain our firearm-owning privileges. One Nova Scotia man recently found this out the hard way.

The 73-year-old man allegedly called 911 accidentally, when he meant to dial 411. However, even a mistaken 911 call requires a response by police. When RCMP officers showed up to the man’s house, he agreed to let them enter to verify that there was no emergency.

Search of House Reveals a Treasure Trove

Once inside the man’s house, officers discovered 94 long guns and six handguns. Most long guns in Canada are classified as non-restricted and require no registration. Most handguns are classified as restricted, which requires registration.

Although RCMP said the man had legal possession of all the guns, he had failed to properly store and secure the weapons, which is against the law. The man’s misdial has left him with an October provincial court date. A conviction could even mean time in prison.

What Gun Owners Must Do

According to federal law, if you own a non-restricted firearm, you must store it by:

  • Keeping it unloaded
  • Rendering it inoperable by removing the bolt, using a trigger or cable lock, or storing it in a safe, vault, or other secure room
  • Keeping it separate from ammunition, unless you also store the ammo securely

The conditions for storage of restricted firearms are mostly the same. The main difference is that non-restricted guns can remain unlocked temporarily if the owner needs to use it to keep predators away. Those who live in remote wilderness areas and use non-restricted firearms for hunting also have certain privileges.

It will be hard for the man in the story above to make the case that he needed 100 weapons to control predators. But one thing he and anyone in a similar situation can benefit from is the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Running afoul of some of Canada’s gun laws can lead to the loss of some or all your firearms. A lawyer can protect your rights and work to minimize any negative consequences that come from an arrest.

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