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Man wins court fight for FAC

By James Parker of The Star Phoenix, June 19, 1998

A Saskatoon man won a partial victory Thursday in his quest to have the federal government remove a question from its firearms acquisition certificate.

Provincial court Judge Pat Carey ruled that Ed Hudson should receive a firearms acquisition certificate (FAC), even though Hudson didn't answer a question on the form he considers too intrusive.

Hudson had asked Carey to rule that the question was unconstitutional because it violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Carey didn't rule on the constitutional question.

"I'm glad I got my FAC," said Hudson, a veterinarian and avid hunter who owns more than 30 rifles and shotguns.

"But I was hoping I'd get Question 35 thrown out."

The first part of the question asks if the applicant has recently experienced a divorce, separation or a relationship breakdown. The second part asks whether the applicant has recently failed in school, lost a job or gone through bankruptcy.

Anyone wanting to buy a gun must apply for a FAC, which is intended to screen out individuals who might misuse firearms.

Hudson filed his application last year without answering the question. He decided to take the matter to court after the application was rejected.

John Hardy, Hudson's lawyer, said Carey ruled that the police had investigated his client and decided there was no safety concerns about his gun ownership and approved his FAC. The application was rejected by the provincial government.

Carey also noted the FAC form doesn't state that a failure to answer some questions will cause an application to be rejected, Hardy said.

"At the end of the day, the judge did not make a specific ruling on whether Question 35 was an unwarranted invasion of privacy or not. But we did end up with an individual who refused to answer Question 35 and got his FAC anyway."