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Can Your Condo Prohibit Firearms on Common Property?

I recently stumbled upon an interesting blog out of Florida, where the author discussed whether a Community Association can prohibit firearms on common areas. The author discussed the required trade off between individual rights and the greater common good of the condominium community. The same balancing act applies here, north of the 49th parallel, but thankfully the discussion does not involve guns and other firearms.

Generally speaking, it is a criminal offense to possess, carry and/or discharge a prohibited firearm unless the person doing so holds the appropriate licence. Under the Firearm Act, there are two rare circumstances where such a licence is granted: to those who require it in the context of their occupation (including those whose principal activity is the transportation or protection of cash and those in remote wilderness areas) and those whose life is in imminent danger and where police protection is not sufficient.  In all cases, an authorization is required from the Chief firearms officer of the province or territory. This is quite different from the situation which appears to exist south of the border where the right to bear arms appears to be a “fundamental right”.

In Ontario, in addition to the federal, provincial and municipal regulations pertaining to the possession and use of firearms (or any type of arm for that matter), condominium corporations can rely on section 117 of the Condominium Act which prohibits conditions or activities in a unit or in the common elements which is likely to damage the property or to cause injuries to an individual.

The first part of section 117 of the Act will remain substantially the same under the “new version” of the Act (which is not in force yet).  It is to be noted however, that the new version of section 117 will not only prohibit dangerous activities but will also prohibit any noise that is a nuisance, annoyance or disruption to an individual unit or common elements. In addition to this, many corporations specifically prohibit the conduct of any illegal activities in their declaration or rules.

For those curious to read more about the discussion on this topic in Florida, Ms. DiMaggio Berger’s blog can be read here.

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