Criminal Code of Canada

The Possession of Firearms and Warrantless Searches and Seizures

The possession of guns and the justifications for warrantless searches and seizures of firearms are covered in Section 117.04 (2) of the Criminal Code of Canada. (Pilon, 2000).

Granting Powers to the Police

Numerous powers are granted to the police in this part. In the first place, it enables them to seize weapons considered dangerous to public safety without a search warrant. It also permits law enforcement to penetrate a person's home and seize weapons in order to protect them. (Charette, Crocker, Seto, Salem, & Caulet, 2015). People can usually prevent the police from entering their homes without warning by requesting an entrance and search warrant from the police. (Bradley, 2010). The section also empowers the police to clear buildings and search individuals of possessing firearms (Brown, 2017). Notably, public safety is paramount thus the section allows them to do anything within the law to ensure public safety.

An Example Incident: Mark Baltzer

An example of an incident where the police could search and seize weapons without a warrant is where a man called Mark Baltzer entered a hospital in Middleton, Canada with a 22-calibre rifle (Cuthbertson, 2017). The man had also been spotted in the hospital with a knife and arrow. Mr. Baltzer had earlier been deemed psychiatrically fit but refused treatment for his injured foot. In this case, the police could apply section 117.04 (2) to search the man without a warrant (Brown, 2017). Although Mr. Baltzer had tested normal for mental challenge, his suspicious indicated that he could harm people with the weapon.

Seizing the Firearm for Public Safety

The police could seize the firearm on the basis that it was risky for public safety. In such case, the police could not take time to obtain a search warrant because they did not know what Mr. Baltzer could do in the event they delayed to seize the rifle (Brown, 2017). The section allows the police to seize weapons anywhere in such incidences. Therefore, the police could confiscate the rifle to ensure public safety.


Bradley, C. M. (2010). Reconceiving the Fourth Amendment and the Exclusionary Rule. Law and Contemporary Problems, 73(3), 211-238.

Brown, R. B. (2017). Firearm “Rights” in Canada: Law and History in the Debates over Gun Control. Canadian Journal of Law & Society, 32(1), 97-116.

Charette, Y., Crocker, A. G., Seto, M. C., Salem, L., Nicholls, T. L., & Caulet, M. (2015). The National Trajectory Project of individuals found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder in Canada. Part 4: criminal recidivism. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(3), 127-134.

Cuthbertson, R. (2017, Jan 20). New details shed light on how mentally ill man was arrested with gun at N.S. hospital. CBC News. Retrieved August 5, 2017, from

Pilon, M. (2000).Search, seizure, arrest and detention under the charter. Retrieved August 5, 2017, from

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