The regulations for “storage” and “transport” of firearms are different, and therefore cannot be applied at the same time. If the firearm is in an unattended car, the “transport” regulations apply. If it is left unattended in a hunt camp, the “storage” regulations apply. A hunter takes his firearm out of “storage” to prepare it for the hunt. During that period it is neither in “storage” or “transport” status, and neither set of regulations applies to it. It is in use, and any charge of improper “storage” or “transport” will fail.
During the movement from home to hunt camp, the firearm is subject to “transport” regulations.
On arrival, it again falls into the gap between “transport” and “storage.” It is not being moved around. It is not being stored, because it is in use, ready to be seized and used at any moment — unless the owner leaves the camp without taking the firearm. Then it becomes subject to the “storage” regulations.
It should be obvious that no one can prove that the firearm was in “storage” as long as the owner is present when the officer finds the firearm. It may have been in “storage,” but an owner (or any other authorized person) can take a firearm out of “storage” at any time and for any purpose — to clean it, admire it, show it to a friend, investigate a strange noise, etc. THE MOMENT IT IS TAKEN OUT OF “STORAGE,” IT IS NO LONGER SUBJECT TO ANY “STORAGE” REGULATION.
Because a “careless storage” charge is a criminal charge, the accused cannot be made to testify, need not take the stand, and is required to prove nothing whatever. The entire burden of proof is on the Crown. The Crown must prove that the “firearm” actually is a “firearm” within the definition found in Criminal Code section [CC s.] 2. He must prove that the firearm was in “storage,” and that the accused did something that “no reasonably prudent person would do,” and that the “storage” was so defective that it actually constituted a danger to human life.
Obviously, the best course to take when your firearm is seized is to take advantage of your right to silence. If you tell any person taking your firearm that the firearm was in “storage,” you damage your own case. So: Remain silent! More people are convicted out of their own mouths than in any other way.
With a “storage (or transport) in violation of a regulation” charge, there are often strong arguments to prevent that charge from succeeding. What they are depends on the exact circumstances, and they are too complex to list here.
Anyone charged with a “storage” or “transportation” crime should call the National Firearms Association at (780)439-1394 or contact us and ask for help. It is often impossible to be convicted if you have National Firearms Association help — even if you think you are guilty.