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TEAM CSSA E-NEWS – October 7, 2013


TEAM CSSA E-NEWS – October 7, 2013
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The media love to go straight for a simplistic key message. They especially like to draw this defective straight line: No guns = No killing.

It’s a simple folklore message that requires no knowledge of firearms legislation, criminal activity or human nature. Unfortunately, it has no bearing on real solutions to address real firearms abuse in the real world. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has obviously dug deep into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (UN ATT), which explains why he hasn’t signed it. Let’s examine the many solid reasons why he never should.

An October 4 editorial in The Ottawa Citizen grouses that Canada should be the first nation to sign the treaty because we want to avoid “causing thousands of deaths in conflicts all over the world.” Seriously?

The editorial also suggests that the “gun lobby in Canada is flexing its muscle” by warning the government that the UN ATT does not address the problem of international violence. If by the “gun lobby” the editorial is referring to the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA), we are often asked to advise governments simply because we know where the legislative landmines can be buried.

As long as the United Nations was going to pursue an arms treaty, Canada agreed to tag along at the early stages to keep its place at the table and keep the lines of communication open. CSSA president Steve Torino and Canadian Institute for Legislative Action executive director Tony Bernardo sat at that table in the UN earlier this year to provide input to the Canadian government’s negotiation team. Many E-News readers will recall that Canada wanted to ensure that sporting firearms would not be included in any international treaty of this kind. The amendment was voted down, but it became evident that Canada was preparing to protect its lawful sport shooters and hunters from yet another set of ineffective laws that only penalize law-abiding citizens in the end.

If Canada signs the UN ATT, we would effectively abdicate our sovereign right to make our own firearms law in several strategic areas of concern. If the UN ATT treaty eventually passes, all signatories agree to abide by its rules. Why would Canada want to be party to a treaty that could unnecessarily handcuff Canadians and will be ignored by criminals?

To use a domestic example, the UN ATT imposes regulations like Canada did after the L’Ecole Polytechnique mass shooting, which failed to prevent another mass shooting years later at Dawson College. The UN ATT will, however, have a deleterious affect on our heritage shooting sports activities. And the world’s criminals will ignore it and continue to black market guns. No nation or group of nations, however well-intentioned, can fight greed, hate or insanity by simply putting pen to paper in New York City.

Fortunately, it appears that Mr. Baird understands this, too. He also knows that the treaty will be opened up every six years for amendments. All signatory countries will have to comply with these unforeseen amendments if they pass with a 75 percent majority vote. This leaves Canada vulnerable to having our future laws decided by Third World countries and unstable banana republics with nothing to lose. Surely this is not the route to crafting responsible laws for international security. We hope Canada would not hitch its wagon to any international firearms law that could someday be decided in murky backrooms where votes could be bought and sold.

Of course, many anti-gun advocates in Canada are aghast because even the so-called gun-loving American signed the UN ATT. We would remind them that the current administration is quite anxious to take guns away from its people, and this treaty plays right into its hands. It would be surprising if the Americans didn’t sign it. This is the same president who publicly scolded the National Rifle Association for suggesting after Newtown that armed guards in schools would be preposterous – and then allocated $45 million for armed guards in schools this past week. The NRA should invoice Obama for a consulting fee.

Minister Baird, thank you for taking the time to see international firearms treaties for what they really are – a left-wing ruse that pretends the UN ATT would enhance public safety. You show responsible leadership where others choose to jump onto this misguided bandwagon. The UN ATT is designed to track the movement of legal firearms to create a database that looks very much like an international gun registry. What a great database it would be to hack for countries that lack a moral compass. Canada has been there and learned the expensive lesson that trying to regulate access does more harm than good.





SHOOTING CLUB HELPS FOOD BANK: Too often, the written and broadcast media focus on the bad news and not the good. We who own firearms and shoot them are responsible members of society, yet little positive is written about us to counteract the distorted coverage that we receive.

In the Ottawa Valley, are shooters and gun owners, many of whom are some of the 110,000 members of Canadian Gun Nutz, which is a major forum for Canadian shooters and collectors with memberships from many other countries. Just east of the Ottawa city limits is a shooting club of long standing, the Eastern Ontario Shooting Club in Cheney. Members of this club have for years sponsored winter, spring, summer and fall friendly competitions where owners of historical military weapons such as Lee-Enfields, Rosses, Mausers, Russian and Chinese rifles are used. For a number of years, the participants have donated to the Bourget Food Bank. For the last shoot, held on Sept. 14, one of the CGN members, who shall be nameless, offered to dress up as Snow White for the day if pledges totalled $1,000. Money was sent by CGN members from other provinces and was collected on the day of the shoot. The sum of $1,500 was collected for the Bourget Food Bank. (The Ottawa Citizen – October 4, 2013)


CSSA REGIONAL DIRECTOR IS NEW MOMMY: Kira Bernardo, daughter of CSSA/CILA executive director Tony Bernardo, gave birth to Grace Victoria Bernardo in Oshawa on September 30. Gracie weighed in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Baby, mommy and grampa are all doing well!


EDITORIAL GULPS THE LEFT-WING BAIT: The gun lobby in Canada is flexing its muscle with a warning to the Conservative government not to sign the landmark United Nations arms-trade treaty because it could affect their rights to own firearms. Their advice or warning should be rejected by the government, and Canada should sign the treaty because it is eminently good for the values we espouse.

The treaty was adopted in April and has already been signed by 113 countries, including the United States. It is intended to regulate the $70-billion global arms trade — in everything from small arms to tanks, combat aircraft and warships — to help stop, or at least reduce the scourge of war in conflict zones around the world. In particular, the hope is that the treaty will limit the illicit trade in the small arms and light weapons that are causing thousands of deaths in conflicts all over the world.
You’d think Canada would be the first to sign on.

Canada and other Western countries have been railing against the use of chemical weapons by Syria which killed about 1,400 people, but ignore the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people by conventional weapons. Now our government is contemplating not signing a treaty that could save even more lives around the world. How sad…

Our governments sweat about chemical and nuclear weapons, but come to think of it, conventional weapons are really the modern weapons of mass destruction. And there is a reason for it. Those who have nuclear weapons are not mad enough to wipe all of us off the surface of the world by pressing the trigger, and the Syrian example shows that the use of chemical weapons triggers a change in the international response to a conflict. For nearly 70 years, the biggest danger to the world has not been nuclear or chemical weapons, but conventional ones.

They are the weapons that have wreaked the most havoc, because they are easily obtained through legal or illegal means, and those who have them do not hesitate to use them on innocent men, women and children. These are the people the arms trade treaty is aimed at protecting. This treaty is not about shooting deer or pheasants. It is about saving the lives of human beings, and as Foreign Minister John Baird weighs what the government should do, he should not forget that. (Editorial — The Ottawa Citizen and Vancouver Sun — October 4, 2013)


FORMER IGGY AIDE SAYS CANADA “EMBARRASSING” AT UN: Last Wednesday, our closest ally and the world’s largest arms exporter became the latest country to sign the Arms Trade Treaty. “This is about keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue actors,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said as he explained the Obama administration’s decision. “This is about promoting international peace and global security.” Over the past six months, 113 nations have signed onto the agreement, which will oversee the global arms trade and interrupt the steady flow of weapons into the hands of human rights abusers. The idea is simple: we stop exporting guns, ammunition, tanks and aircraft to countries that intend to use them against children or civilians, creating new humanitarian thresholds, and in the process we make it more difficult for those regimes to commit mass atrocities like what we’re seeing in Syria today…

The statistics are alarming. In the past year alone, NGOs estimate that more than half a million people have lost their lives to armed violence. Governments – especially those governments that allow weapons manufacturers to export overseas – have a responsibility to do all they can to prevent
this from happening.

One small problem: Canada hasn’t signed on. We’ve refused. What’s worse, our foreign minister has repeatedly rejected the idea in the House of Commons. In June, when asked whether Canada would join, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird shot back: “We don’t want to see the NDP and Liberals try to bring in through the back door a long gun registry that will only hurt law-abiding hunters and farmers. This is what the Liberals and the NDP want to do next election, and I can ensure you we won’t let them get away with it.”

The notion that an international treaty designed to halt mass atrocities could somehow affect domestic gun ownership laws is ludicrous – no matter what Canada’s recreational firearms lobby claims. He couldn’t be further from the truth. If we’re to take his comments seriously, Mr. Baird is either incompetent or he’s being facetious. In fact, with Mr. Kerry’s signature, Canada is now the only NATO country that has not signed the Treaty. Germany, France, the United Kingdom and now the United States all support it. Given Canada’s record as a leader in humanitarian disarmament – the Responsibility to Protect, peacekeeping and the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty come to mind – our
refusal to join is embarrassing.

Canada is increasingly isolated and alone; in the company of Iran, Syria and North Korea – not exactly champions of human rights. Earlier this week, Mr. Baird had an opportunity to make amends during his UN General Assembly speech in New York. Quoting Roman philosopher Cicero, Somali poet Gaarriye and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Mr. Baird pleaded with those in attendance to take action. “We are not here to achieve results for governments or political leaders. We are here to protect and defend…” Yet he pledged nothing on disarmament. While our friends and allies used this opportunity to promote the Treaty, Mr. Baird ignored it altogether. Tomorrow will mark six months since the Arms Trade Treaty was first adopted by the United Nations. In those six months, a quarter of a million lives have been lost due to armed violence. It’s time to get on with it. The minister needs a ticket back to New York. It’s time to sign.

* Matt Campbell is a former aide to Roméo Dallaire and Michael Ignatieff and former director of communications for The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative at Dalhousie University. (Globe and Mail — October 4, 2013)


CANADA’S “FIREARMS LOBBY” APPROVES BAIRD DECISION SO FAR: Canada’s recreational firearms lobby is telling the Harper government to avoid signing a landmark United Nations arms trade treaty, arguing it could lead to an insidious return of the federal long-gun registry. That’s the message Canada’s National Firearms Association and the Canadian Shooting Sports Association are delivering to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird as he weighs whether Canada should follow the United States in signing the Arms Trade Treaty, which aims to regulate the multibillion dollar global arms trade.

Proponents of the treaty, including Secretary of State John Kerry who signed it last week on behalf of the U.S., say it would have no impact on domestic gun owners. Not so, says Canada’s sports shooting lobby, which has been consulting with the government. “We think that it has the potential to raise prices on firearms, firearms accessories, parts and ammunition,” Sheldon Clare, president of the National Firearms Association, said in interview. “We rely heavily on imports.” Clare said he doesn’t think Canada will follow the U.S. and sign the treaty, suggesting that the Conservatives realize this could affect them at the ballot box in 2015. “I think they also recognize there would be some significant ramifications in their voting base were they to approve this,” he said…

Tony Bernardo, head of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, said he’s been working hard to oppose UN gun control efforts since the mid 1990s. He said the treaty could impose a burdensome bureaucracy on Canada not unlike the now-defunct gun registry. “I think there’s lots of potential links to the gun registry,” said Bernardo. “The problems we’ve had with the gun registry – unaccountability, the incredible cost, complete ineffective uselessness – those things are not only a potential scenario, they’re a likelihood” if Canada were to sign the treaty.

The groups say that if the federal government signs the treaty it will have to create a new bureaucracy of regulations, one that could potentially be less strict than the current rules that govern the arms imports and exports. Bernardo said he didn’t think Baird was likely to follow the U.S. lead on adopting the treaty any time soon. “Minister Baird has been very thoughtful and intelligent on the Arms Trade Treaty right from Day One,” said Bernardo. “At the beginning of the process he asked the United Nations to remove civilian firearms from scope of the treaty. He’s seen the writing on the wall. He’s not a dumb man.”

Baird has said there is a potential link between signing on to the treaty and Canada’s now-abolished long gun registry. Baird’s spokesman said the government will take its time, and do its “homework” to ensure that the interests of Canadians are protected before deciding whether to sign on to the treaty. “If properly done, an Arms Trade Treaty can help limit the worldwide trade in illicit arms,” said spokesman Rick Roth in an email. “At the same time, it is important that such a treaty not affect lawful and responsible firearms owners nor discourage the transfer of firearms for recreational uses such as sport shooting and hunting.”

Baird’s office wouldn’t release the names of the individuals it is consulting. According to an internal memo obtained by The Canadian Press, clare and Bernardo are among 14 stakeholders that Foreign Affairs has consulted on the issue. Four of those consulted are from the groups Oxfam, Project Ploughshares and Amnesty International, and have publicly urged Canada to follow the U.S. and more than 90 other countries and sign the treaty. They argue the pact would lead to a decline in violence against innocent civilians, including crimes against humanity. But at least seven more on the list are from arms and ammunition suppliers, manufacturers, or the defence industry. NDP foreign affair critic Paul Dewar accused the government of giving special interest groups preferential treatment in their consultations. “It’s clear that the Conservatives are continuing to favour their friends in the gun lobby over good policy that will save lives.” (The Canadian Press — October 2, 2013)


OBAMA FINALLY LISTENING TO NRA SOLUTION? It’s almost like a page right out of the National Rifle Association playbook: The Obama administration has announced millions of dollars in funding to put armed officers in the nation’s schools. Specifically, the Department of Justice said $45 million is going to “create 356 new school resource officer positions,” CNN reported. The money is coming from Community Oriented Policing Services grant dollars – and first up on the list of intended recipients is Newtown, Conn., the site of the massive Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The money to Newtown will fund two new officers in the town’s schools, Breitbart reported.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said of the grants: “In the wake of past tragedies, it’s clear that we need to be willing to take all possible steps to ensure that our kids are safe when they go to school.” But the NRA was way ahead on that belief. Just days after the Sandy Hook shooting occurred, Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, suggested more armed guards inside the schools. He said that “we protect our banks . airports, office buildings, power plants [and] sports stadiums [with] armed security.” Why not kids in schools? As Breitbart reported in December – in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre and the Obama administration’s pledge to crack down on guns and Second Amendment rights – the president’s own children attend a school that staffs armed security guards. At Sidwell Friends School in Washington, 11 armed guards patrol the campus grounds. At the time of the report, the school was in process of hiring two more. (Washington Times — September 30, 2013)


SAY WHAT? OTTAWA POLICE CLAIM HALF OF STREET GUNS STOLEN FROM HOMES: Police hope a new gun amnesty program will help make sure the weapons don’t end up in the hands of bad guys.

Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau announced Pixels for Pistols on Friday, a two-week initiative aimed at providing a way for people to turn in unwanted guns. Those who turn in clean guns will receive a digital camera and imaging course…

It will reduce the chance that guns from legitimate owners will wind up on the streets, say police. As criminals look for different smuggling routes to bring in handguns, licenced owners can be targeted in home break-ins.

When it comes guns, about 50% are smuggled in from the U.S., while police say the other 50% that hit the streets are stolen in home break-ins from legitimate gun owners, according to Ottawa police Staff Sgt. Mark Patterson, head of the guns and gangs unit. In Ontario last year, 918 guns were reported stolen. A stolen handgun was recently recovered at a crime scene involving a suspect known to the guns and gangs unit.

“He didn’t have knowledge it was actually stolen from his residence,” said Patterson. The amnesty may also prompt people who may be afraid to turn in guns to do so, such as if someone inherited guns after a family death but was not properly licensed. During the last gun amnesty in Ottawa in 2008, police picked up 321 guns.

People can call police to surrender their guns, where officers will then be sent to pick up the weapons.
The Direct Action Response Team will be temporarily bolstered to 12 officers during the amnesty.
Once the guns are tested to ensure they were not used in any crime, the person receives a voucher for a digital camera and an imaging course, courtesy of Olympus Cameras and Henry’s. Henry’s first launched the cameras-for-guns exchange program in 2008, after an armed robbery at one of their stores. (Ottawa Sun — October 4, 2013)


Dear editor:

Your newspaper ran a story that says about 50% of illicit guns on the street are smuggled from the U.S. and the other 50% are stolen in home break-ins from legitimate gun owners, according to Ottawa police Staff Sgt. Mark Patterson, head of the guns and gangs unit.

Could it be that Staff Sgt. Patterson’s nose is growing? The police are again trying to make gun ownership sound like a scary, simmering threat to the public. The CSSA challenges Ottawa police to prove their claim.

First, they can’t possibly know how many street guns are out there. Second, they would have to confess that guns stolen from private homes are comparatively rare. If it’s as common as they say, they are admitting they’re doing a lousy job of patrolling our neighbourhoods.

Rest assured there are very few firearms stolen from responsible gun owners, unless you include the RCMP in High River, Alberta, where they kicked in 1900 residents’ doors and stole their guns during the flood in June.

Unfortunately, firearms legislators and police have inadvertently helped criminals steal guns. They created a registry database for criminals to hack and find out where they guns are. The ongoing handgun registry is ripe for criminals who are good with computers.

Pixels for Pistols is a red herring. If the police are serious about reducing gun crime, our door is open and our advice is free. Citizens who have a firearm they want to get rid of can contact their local shooting club. You won’t get a cheap camera, but you will be contributing to Canada’s heritage sports.

Tony Bernardo
A/ Executive Director
Canadian Shooting Sports Association/
Canadian Institute for Legislative Action



The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes Canada’s firearms heritage, traditional target shooting competition, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor competitions and youth programs that promote these Canadian heritage activities.

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