Team CSSA E-NEWS – April 16, 2015
Team CSSA E-NEWS – April 16, 2015
COMMENTARY – ANOTHER GOOD CALL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA
Two for two: that’s the Supreme Court of Canada’s track record over the last few weeks. While most gun owners have little faith in Canada’s highest court (or any court for that matter), it is gratifying to see the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) actually rule in favour of the nation’s law-abiding firearms folks.
Just a short three weeks ago, the SCC brought down a ruling condemning Quebec’s long-gun registry (LGR) to death row and affirming that the feds really do have the right to create federal legislation. We are pleased to report that the data destruction of the Quebec LGR is now complete and barring the possibility of stale and useless copies of the stale and useless data, the long-gun registry has finally been sent to the “Great Trash Box in the Sky.”
As usual, the provincial Quebec government unleashed a stream of nonsensical blather about its intent to start its own registry, prefaced with the usual “bad feds, evil Stevie” rhetoric. But alas, here we are almost three weeks later and the silence is deafening. Since the Quebec government has had at least eight years to prepare for this day, one might think that it would have its registry legislation ready to go by now. Perhaps they have other priorities … like running the province?
Earlier this week, the SCC also dealt a blow against the reprehensible mandatory minimum sentences for two unauthorized possession charges – the newest sweetheart charge of the “Guns ‘n Gangs” lawyers. The Supremes rightly ruled that there are potential circumstances where people without criminal intent could be caught up in the offence of unauthorized possession and be subject to harsh mandatory minimums.
Has it happened with these specific charges yet? No. Could it happen? Absolutely.
Destroying even a single person’s life with bad sentencing options is wrong. Judges already have numerous sentencing choices and the Crowns are never reticent about recommending the modern-day equivalent of witch burning when it comes to penalizing Canadian firearms owners. Most times, it is the wisdom of the court and the potential options available to judges that prevent this situation from occurring. However, binding the hands of our judiciary with no-option Draconian sentences does not serve the cause of justice. In fact, it prevents it.
So kudos to the Supreme Court of Canada for defending Canadians against this injustice.
Here is a sobering thought before we get too complacent. There are still many more mandatory minimum sentences for firearms offences on the books. The SCC ruling only affects the two charges involved in the cases before the court, it does not remove all mandatory minimums from the books. Tell your Member of Parliament how unimpressed you are about this!
MORE (SARCASTIC) KUDOS FOR CANADA POST: CALIBRE MAGAZINE MAILING DELAYED
Unfortunately, due to a problem with the insertion of added materials to the mailing of the latest issue of Calibre Magazine, its delivery has been delayed. The inclusion and format of the 2015 CSSA Board of Directors’ ballot is included in the bag with the magazine. However, we have now been advised that our publication mailing agreement would not cover the postage of the ballot and that all “voting ballots” are required to carry their own “lettermail postage.”
The cost associated with that would more than double the cost of the mailing. In fact, it is actually more expensive than the printing of the entire magazine! We are working with Canada Post to find a resolution to this matter that satisfies all parties.
Daniel Fritter: “As the publisher of Calibre and a CSSA member, I apologize profusely for this delay, and take all responsibility. I hope that we reach a solution with Canada Post shortly so that we can get these magazines and the associated annual general meeting information into your respective mailboxes without any further delay.”
CSSA ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2015 – OTTAWA CONFERENCE AND EVENT CENTRE, 200 COVENTRY ROAD. AGM from 10 a.m. to noon. Afternoon seminars from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. featuring world-renowned firearms researcher, Dr. Gary Mauser will discuss the latest and greatest statistical trends in the firearms world; Natural Resource Director-General Patrick O’Neill will share his vast knowledge on the Explosives Act’s hand-loading and ammunition regulations; and CSSA Life Member, Keith Beasley of the hugely popular television show “Canada in the Rough” will discuss public relations and the image of firearms owners. Members may register for these seminars at [email protected].
Lastly, the evening of May 30 brings a very special “Stick to your Guns” dinner. Recognizing the unprecedented achievements of retiring Member of Parliament Garry Breitkreuz, this STYG Dinner is themed as a “thank you” to the best friend Canadian gun owners ever had. There will be many special guests, fabulous food, exciting draws, raffles and auctions, and a good time guaranteed to all. Tickets are $69.95 each and a table of eight is $499.95.
A block of rooms is now available at the Hampton Inn Ottawa, 100 Coventry Road, attached to the Ottawa Conference and Convention Centre. Reference group name: Canadian Shooting Sports Association; group Code 2438; group number: CSS. Room rates: $136 single or $146 double occupancy plus applicable fees and taxes. Reserve before April 25 and save!
“Allan Rock said he came to Ottawa with the belief that only the police and military should have firearms. I believe that firearms ownership is a right, but a right that comes with responsibilities.” – The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety
HELP SUPPORT THE GREAT WORK THE CSSA DOES TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. DONATE HERE
GUN, HUNTING & SPORTSMAN SHOW – APRIL 18-19, 2015 – PERTH, ONTARIO Perth Community Centre, 2 Beckwith Street East. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, please call Jeff or Charlene at 905-623-1778. Other upcoming shows can be viewed at: www.ontariogunshows.com
32nd ANNUAL KAMLOOPS GUN & ANTIQUE SHOW & SALE – APRIL 25-26, 2015 – KAMLOOPS, B.C. At the McArthur Island Sports Centre, 12th Street South. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission $6, Seniors $4 (Gold Card). Accompanied children 12 and under are FREE. Including the 15th Annual Custom Knife Show. Browning X Bolt Rifle (Cal. 300 Win Mag) donated by Westside Stores, Salmon Arm. ATM on site. Free parking. Free draw with admission. For more information, email kam[email protected] or phone 250-376-0055 or cell 250-319-1916.
SUPREME COURT QUASHES MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES FOR GUN CRIMES – COURT UPHOLDS ONTARIO RULING THAT STRUCK DOWN MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES OF 3 AND 5 YEARS (By The Canadian Press | April 14, 2015)
The Supreme Court of Canada dealt the Harper government’s tough-on-crime agenda a serious blow Tuesday by striking down a law requiring mandatory minimum sentences for crimes involving prohibited guns.
The 6-3 ruling, penned by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, said the statute was unconstitutional as it upheld a 2013 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that labelled the law cruel and unusual.
The ruling said the mandatory minimum sentence could ensnare people with “little or no moral fault” and who pose “little or no danger to the public.” It cited as an example a person who inherits a firearm and does not immediately get a license for the weapon.
“As the Court of Appeal concluded, there exists a ‘cavernous disconnect’ between the severity of the licensing-type offence and the mandatory minimum three-year term of imprisonment,” McLachlin wrote for the majority.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement that the government will review the decision to determine “next steps towards protecting Canadians from gun crime and ensuring that our laws remain responsive.”
“Our government will continue to be tough on those who commit serious crimes and endanger our communities,” the minister added.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said there is a place for mandatory minimums in certain situations, noting that past Liberal governments have introduced them for “extreme crimes.”
“But I think the over-use of them that the Supreme Court has highlighted, by this Conservative government, isn’t necessarily doing a service to Canadians, both by not necessarily keeping us that much safer and also wasting large amount of taxpayers dollars on unnecessary court challenges,” he told reporters in Oakville.
Doubt cast on deterrence
Keeping Canadians safe is cited by the government as the reason for its tough sentencing laws. McLachlin took aim at that justification in her ruling.
“The government has not established that mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment act as a deterrent against gun-related crimes,” she wrote. “Empirical evidence suggests that mandatory minimum sentences do not, in fact, deter crimes.”
The court was deciding two appeals involving mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes brought by the Ontario and federal attorneys general.
The top court upheld the appeal court’s quashing of both the three-year mandatory minimum for a first offence of possessing a loaded prohibited gun, as well as the five-year minimum for a second offence.
The Ontario and federal governments argued that the minimums do not breach the charter protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
The new sentencing rules were enacted in 2008 as part of a sweeping omnibus bill introduced by the federal Conservatives.
More handgun cases
The two governments say they enacted the mandatory minimums in response to the increasing number of handgun possession cases coming before the courts.
In one of the two cases that made up the appeals heard by the Supreme Court, a young Toronto man with no criminal record was sentenced to three years after pleading guilty to possession of a loaded firearm.
The judge in the case said that without the mandatory minimum, he would have sentenced Hussein Nur to 2½ years.
In the second case, Sidney Charles pleaded guilty to firearms offences after he was found in his rooming house bedroom with a loaded and unlicensed semi-automatic handgun.
He was sentenced to five years because he had two previous convictions.
In defending the mandatory sentence for repeat offenders, Ottawa and Ontario argued that it is within a reasonable range of legislative choice.
While the justices said the law is too broad in a general sense, they said the sentences were fitting in the two cases at issue.
“In most cases, including those of Nur and Charles, the mandatory minimum sentences of three and five years respectively do not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. But in some reasonably foreseeable cases that are caught by (the law) they may do so.”
The Supreme Court has clashed with the Conservative government on several key policies, although it recently sided with Ottawa over the destruction of gun registry data, which Quebec sought to preserve.
That win for the Conservatives came after several losses at Canada’s top court.
Other recent setbacks for the federal government at the Supreme Court include:
The rejection of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s appointment of Quebec Judge Marc Nadon to the top court.
Rejection of an effort to stop judges from giving extra credit for time spent in custody before sentencing.
A ruling that Parliament could not reform the Senate on its own.
RCMP GUN DATABASE OFFLINE – FOR SOME, IT’S IRRELEVANT (By Selena Ross | The Globe and Mail | published April 10, 2015; last update April 13, 2015)
A service outage on the RCMP website this weekend is exposing a grey area around gun sales and who is responsible for checking that they are legal.
A national online database that lists the names of all Canadians who have firearms licences is down for two weekends in a row so that the RCMP can purge Quebec data from the now-scrapped long-gun registry after the Supreme Court ruled the province cannot have the information.
This is a catch-all ASF view; only displays when an unsupported article type is put in an ASF drop zone
The list is available to gun shops so they can double-check the purple photo ID cards that show customers’ Possession and Acquisition Licenses are valid.
The service outage means sellers cannot do the extra check. To some, this means closing until Monday. For others, it is business as usual, because they believe they are not obligated to check online. It is unclear who is right.
“Whether or not they’re actually calling the registry, I have no idea,” said Chantal Trahan, who oversees licensing at Ontario’s Chief Firearms Office.
New gun laws in 2012 mention double-checking buyers’ eligibility, but do not require sellers to do it in any specific way.
Sellers must have “no reason to believe” a customer is not authorized to buy or possess a gun, according to the law. They also “may request” authorities to tell them if the buyer holds and is still eligible to hold the licence, in which case authorities “shall” comply.
Ms. Trahan said sellers do not have a legal obligation to check the database. However, they do need to “satisfy themselves” that the buyer is legally in compliance, which in effect means they do, she said. “How is it that you get that guarantee, right?”
One gun seller told The Globe and Mail he always does the check and, when he called the RCMP on Friday morning about the outage, was told to suspend sales.
On Friday afternoon, the police force could not provide immediate clarification on the rules or what advice they are giving gun vendors. A spokesman promised more information over the weekend.
Other gun vendors said they did not notice the site was down. Some said they do not need to run the check, since they believe police have a legal obligation to seize revoked gun licences.
“It’s like if you lose your driver’s license for a DUI, they take your licence away at court, right?” Ken Brown, the owner of Guns’n Games in Stettler, Alta. “Supposedly, that’s how it’s supposed to work.”
Police have been instructed on that issue in tepid language as well. About a year after the gun law changes, Mounties were informed in a special bulletin that they “should make every attempt” to seize invalid licences. That measure had not previously been crucial, since all firearm sales were processed and approved by the RCMP, the bulletin said.
“If the buyer’s licence had been revoked, the transaction would fail and not be approved,” it said. “Since April 2012, long gun sales and transfers no longer require [RCMP] approval, so a person who has had their licence revoked may be able to deceive a seller by presenting an invalid licence card. It is therefore important that the licence card be seized when it has been revoked.”
According to RCMP data, about 2,400 firearms licences have been revoked annually for the past four years.
Poor checks of the licences have helped fuel a trend of fraudulent gun purchases in the past three years, Ms. Trahan said. In one scenario, criminals pose as online gun sellers to steal licence information from buyers and then use it to acquire firearms online fraudulently.
One Orillia vendor said he only consistently does the extra check for first-time online buyers.
“The card’s good if I see it in a guy’s hand,” said Paul, a sales clerk at Ellwood Epps Sporting Goods who did not provide his last name. “Otherwise, it would have been pulled. There’s no obligation for us to check it online – never has been.”
CANADA IN THE ROUGH – YUKON MOOSE MANIA PART 2
This weekend, Paul Beasley’s moose and caribou adventure with Tombstone Outfitters continues in the Yukon. As Paul hunts hard, he may just get his chance at a mature Yukon Bull Moose.
See the teaser: http://www.canadaintherough.com/yukon-moose-mania-part-2/
Canada in the Rough can be found on OLN, WILD TV, and CHEX. For a full schedule, visit: http://www.canadaintherough.com/schedules/
9TH ANNUAL PRINCE GEORGE ROD & GUN CLUB – MAY 9-10, 2015 – PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. Gun, Knife, Archery & Sporting Goods. Prince George Coliseum, 888 Dominion Street. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. Accompanied children 12 and under are FREE. Table rental is $35 per 8-foot table. For more information, please contact Don at [email protected] or 250-613-0151.
5TH ANNUAL KOOTENAY GUN SHOW – MAY 23 AND 24, 2015 – CRANBROOK, B.C. Located at the Cranbrook Curling Club, 1812, 2nd Street North, Cranbrook. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $5 per person over 12 years of age. For more information, please contact Rick Grant at 250-427-0158 or Duncan Waugh at 250-422-3469, or you can email [email protected].
SPEAKER AT NRA CONVENTION ACTUALLY GIVES SPEECH ABOUT FIREARMS LAW (By Charles C.W. Cooke | National Review | April 10, 2015)
The one speaker at today’s NRA Convention who managed to deliver a speech that was almost entirely about the Second Amendment? Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Rubio started out by setting the right of the people to keep and bear arms in its necessary practical and philosophical context, and then by noting that to suggest that it doesn’t apply anymore is as absurd is to suggest that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to the digital world. Hitting a likely theme of his campaign, Rubio took on executive overreach, establishing that the president has absolutely no power to “tell a young woman that she is better off without the protection of a firearm,” or to “tell a father that he cannot own a gun to defend his family or his property.” President Obama, Rubio lamented, has “wielded human tragedy in an attempt to subvert our rights.” But “the sins of the evil do not justify restricting the rights of the good,” he added.
Later, Rubio drew a link between the Second Amendment and American foreign policy, proposing that just as a chaotic world requires a strong American military presence so man’s imperfections render self-defense protections imperative. “Stricter gun laws will never deter criminals and terrorists,” Rubio submitted. He did not explicitly say so, but in his discussion of the manner in which international terrorism dovetails with the right to self-defense it was difficult not to detect an echo of sentiments that have been expressed by Interpol chief Ronald Noble:
Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said today the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world is at a security crossroads in the wake of last month’s deadly al-Shabab attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya — and suggested an answer could be in arming civilians.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Noble said there are really only two choices for protecting open societies from attacks like the one on Westgate mall where so-called “soft targets” are hit: either create secure perimeters around the locations or allow civilians to carry their own guns to protect themselves.
Rubio reminded the crowd that he was currently attempting to change the strict anti-gun laws in Washington D.C. “My legislation,” Rubio told the audience, “would allow D.C.’s law-abiding residents and visitors firearms to protect their homes, their families, and their businesses.”
Rubio will announce his candidacy for the presidency on Monday.
OPEN HOUSE – KINCARDINE NIMROD CLUB – SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 2015 – KINCARDINE, ONTARIO. Located at 2334 Concession #12, Huron-Kinloss (Aintree Road) east of Lake Range Road (south end of Kincardine) just down from the golf course. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy a barbecue prepared by the local 4-H Club. Watch demonstrations of cowboy action and soldiers from 1812. Try your hand at various rifles, black powder guns and handguns under the direct supervision of qualified members. Young, old and in between, including ladies, are welcome. Come out and see what we are all about!
QUEBEC’S ‘UNANIMOUS MOTIONS’ AIM TO BROADSIDE FEDS, BUT CRITICS SAY THEY’RE ‘NOTHING BUT HOT AIR’ (By Graeme Hamilton | National Post | April 10, 2015)
MONTREAL – Things can get nasty inside Quebec’s National Assembly, where for close to 40 years the two main parties have squared off over the province’s very existence within Canada. Successive speakers have declared more than 300 insults un-parliamentary, among them “imbecile,” “buffoon,” “traitors to the Quebec nation” and “turncoat.”
But, despite the hostility, there are times when the National Assembly’s members speak as one. Those times are typically when Ottawa has done something, big or small, to upset them, and their weapon of choice is the unanimous motion.
The National Assembly’s members resumed sitting in February, and already this year they have passed three unanimous motions condemning the federal government or calling on it to act. Twelve days ago, members voted unanimously to denounce the federal government’s intention to destroy data from the abandoned federal gun registry after the Supreme Court ruled Ottawa did not have to provide the data to Quebec. As is customary, a copy of the motion was sent to the federal Parliament.
Two weeks earlier, after Prime Minister Stephen Harper had told a Saskatchewan audience that gun ownership offered “a certain level of security” to Canadians living far from the nearest police station, the National Assembly wasted little time wading in. Including self-defence as an acceptable reason for using firearms, “an idea put forward by the Prime Minister of Canada,” is not desired by Quebec’s population “and goes against its values,” the motion read. After passing 109-0, a copy was sent to the House of Commons, the Senate and Harper’s office.
According to a “non-exhaustive” list maintained by Quebec’s Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, there have been more than 120 such motions since 1960, with 100 of them coming over the past decade. Last year there were 11 unanimous motions, including three concerning Montreal’s federally owned Champlain Bridge (two demanding there be no tolls and another demanding that its name not be changed).
The motions are treated solemnly by the National Assembly’s members and they tend to be duly noted in the Quebec media. But in an interview last month, Maxime Bernier, the MP for the Quebec riding of Beauce and minister of state for small business and tourism, suggested Quebec’s all-party motions are barely given the time of day in Ottawa.
Questioned by Quebec City radio station CHOI about the motion denouncing Harper’s gun remark, Bernier said he is “a little fed up” with the National Assembly motions. “Every week there’s a unanimous motion on whatever topic,” he said. “The people at the National Assembly should concentrate on their jurisdictions.” MPs in Ottawa do not pass motions telling other levels of government what to do, he said.
“We manage according to our jurisdictions, and we do what we have to. In Quebec, they like passing unanimous motions, and we’ll leave them to it,” he said. “It’s doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s nothing but hot air.”
Bernier’s remarks drew criticism (though so far no unanimous motion denouncing him). Pierre Duchesne, the former Parti Québécois minister who was defeated in last year’s election, accused Bernier of mocking Quebecers’ legislature. “This time, you have forgotten your dignity,” he wrote.
But even someone who has seen the system at work from within acknowledges that unanimous motions are rarely effective. Benoît Pelletier, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, was Liberal minister of intergovernmental affairs from 2003 to 2008. In the early years of his tenure there were a handful of unanimous resolutions per year, but by the end the trend was starting to take off.
He said the motions had an impact in Ottawa if an opposition party seized on them to question the government. One example of success, he said, were resolutions denouncing the fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and the provinces, which eventually led to a payout to Quebec. The Bloc Québécois used to regularly take up the National Assembly motions in the House of Commons, but the party is a non-entity after being reduced to just two seats. “If it’s not used by opposition parties, the impact (of a motion) is extremely minor, if not negligible,” Pelletier said.
Bernard Landry, the former PQ premier and longtime cabinet minister, acknowledged that the National Assembly’s unanimous declarations have “not carried the weight they should have.” And for that he blamed Ottawa.
“It seems to have been forgotten that Quebec forms a nation,” he said. “When its National Assembly, unanimously or otherwise, decides something, decency dictates that the central government should take it into account, and that does not happen. It demonstrates the profound dysfunction of Canada.”
INTO THE FRAY – CANADIAN HISTORICAL ARMS SOCIETY TOUCH HISTORY EXPO – JUNE 20-21, 2015 – EDMONTON EXPO CENTRE, 7515 – 118 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta. Touch historical and modern arms: medieval arms and armour, Sherman tank, artillery pieces, small arms. $10 at the door.
IT’S FINALLY HERE – THE 3RD ANNUAL WOMEN’S OUTDOOR WORKSHOP (WOW) – JUNE 20, 2015 – BLENHEIM, ONTARIO. Located at the Rondeau Rod & Gun Club, 10260 Campbell Line. AVOID THE INTIMIDATION AND FRUSTRATION OF LEARNING ON YOUR OWN! Courses Offered: Archery, ATV’S, Compass Orienteering, Duck/Turkey Calling, Gun Cleaning, Handgun Target Shooting, Leave No Trace, Reloading, .22. Entry fee is $75. Pig Roast is $5 for WOW participants; $10 for guests. Pre-registration is required. Registration deadline is May 30, 2015. For registration and information, please email: [email protected] or visit us at the club on Wednesdays from 6-10 p.m. Find us on Facebook!
INFOGRAPHIC: AMMUNITION UNDER ATTACK (By the National Shooting Sports Foundation | April 10, 2015)
The California Fish and Game Commission on April 9 adopted regulations to implement the law that will ban the use of traditional lead-component ammunition for all hunting in the state by July 1, 2019. The implementation will involve multiple phases, beginning with the 2015 hunting season. What has started in California could become reality elsewhere as anti-hunting groups use the supposed harm caused by traditional ammunition as a wedge issue to further their ultimate political agenda of banning hunting across the country. Get the facts:
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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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