Firearms Owners Association
CUFOA NewsLetter August 2015
Stephen Harper Has Abandoned Firearms Owners
Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally quit playing charades with firearms owners. Before a television audience on 18 March 2015, Mr. Harper announced to the nation:
With his declaration "we register gun owners" Mr. Harper betrayed responsible firearms owners. Mr. Harper accepts the prime objective of the Liberals' 1995 Firearms Act, specifically that:
Mr. Harper clearly knows the difference between a mere privilege and a Right. Nonetheless Mr. Harper repudiated the promise that he made to responsible firearms owners when he sought our support in his leadership race in January 2002. At that time Mr. Harper publically acknowledged "the rights of Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly."(3)
Yet Mr. Harper now endorses a law whereby the Government claims the authority to dictate "the circumstances in which an individual does or does not need firearms to protect the life of that individual."(4) Mr. Harper knows this law is a sham. He understood Mr. Manning's position that this is "a bad law, a blight on the legislative record of the government."(5)
As Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Harper renewed his commitment to respect our Right to own firearms.(6) And with Garry Breitkreuz's promises and encouragement,(3) we helped Mr. Harper achieve his majority. Nevertheless Mr. Harper now disowns his commitments.
At the Conservative Party Convention in Montreal in March 2005, responsible firearms owners were successful in passing a policy that recognizes "the rights of law-abiding Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly."(3) The Conservatives have been a majority Government for four years, even so Mr. Harper has refused to enact their Firearms Policy.
Regrettably Mr. Harper fails to understand that we Canadians derive our Right to own firearms from the same source as Americans - the English Declaration of Right of 1689. That document recognizes armed self-defense as one of the "true, ancient, and indubitable" rights of free people.(7)
Thus Mr. Harper is in error when he does not recognize that armed self-defence is one of the most basic Rights that citizens possess. He considers the ownership of firearms not a personal, individual Right, but a mere "privilege" that may be negated at any time by political whim by an Order-in-Council.(4)
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) chooses to ignore Mr. Harper's public betrayal of responsible firearms owners. The CSSA even praises Mr. Harper's recent passage of Bill C-42, the so-called "Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act."(8) What the CSSA seems to forget is that four years ago when Mr. Harper scrapped "the long gun registry" with Bill C-19, Mr. Harper kept the worse part of the Firearms Act - the licensing of firearms owners.
We need to remember what Professor Gary Mauser warned us about licencing and slowly boiling frogs in hot water:
Mr. Harper's so-called Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act essentially makes applying for a firearms licence more convenient. As Dr. Mauser reminds us: federal licensing legislation makes it easier for the Government eventually to destroy our Right to defend ourselves.
During discussions of our forthcoming election dilemma this fall, our most outspoken member on the Canadian Firearms Digest, Joe Gingrich noted that Mr. Harper has played "Bait And Switch" with us. Joe says Mr. Harper has used "the ploy of offering a person something desirable to gain favor then thwarting expectations by delivering something less desirable." Joe offered this straightforward admonition:
In a televised interview in late March immediately after Mr. Harper's declaration that we Canadians do not have the Right to own firearms, I suggested that that I would prefer a Liberal-NDP coalition government than have to endure more deception from Mr. Harper.(10)
In empathically rejecting the suggestion that we continue to vote for Mr. Harper after this betrayal, our CUFOA National Spokesperson Al Muir, firmly stated:
To break this cycle, we need a Conservative Party leader who will honour the Conservative Party Firearms Policy to respect "the rights of law-abiding Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly."
Until we have a Party leader who is personally committed to respecting our Right to own firearms for self-defense, we highly recommend Al and Joe's hard-core advice:
"Do not vote for, support, or donate money to the Conservative Party."
1. Prime Minister Harper defends 'moderate' Canadian gun control policy, 18 March 2015
2. . Canadian Firearms Center 2002 National Compliance Strategy;
3. Mr. Harper and the Conservatives' Promises to Firearms Owners - please see below.
4. The Firearms Act, Section 117:
The Firearms Act, chapter 39, Statues of Canada -1995; p. 54
5. Preston Manning's Address to the House of Commons, 13 July 1995 - please see below.
6. Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition, Letter of 09 September 2004 - please see below.
7. The English Declaration of Rights 1689
8. CSSA Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, 18 June 2015
9. Gary Mauser, Professor Simon Fraser University, Boiling Frogs – and Gun Owners
10. Calvin To, Global News, 25 March 2015,
The Conservatives’ Promises to Firearms Owners
Mr. Harper’s Promise to Repeal Bill C-68
I was and still am in total agreement with the statement made in the House of Commons by former Reform Leader Preston Manning on 13 June 1995:
Bill C-68 [The Firearms Act] has proven to be a bad law and has created a bureaucratic nightmare for both gun owners and the government. As Leader of the Official Opposition, I will use all powers afforded to me as Leader and continue our party’s fight to repeal Bill C-68 and replace it with a firearms control system that is cost effective and respects the rights of Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly.
The Conservative Party of Canada Policy Declaration
As approved by the CPC Montréal Convention, 19 March 2005
The Promise of the Conservatives while Serving as the Loyal Opposition
“There is only one way to fix this mess and that is to elect a Conservative government. We promise to repeal Bill C-68 and return the gun laws to the way they were before 1995. Then I personally promise that I will start the task of fixing all the flaws in federal firearm laws by requiring that they be subjected to a public safety test administered by the Auditor General of Canada. My proposal includes a sunset clause on all gun control laws that have been proven by the Auditor General not to be cost effective at reducing the criminal use of firearms and improving public safety.”
The statement was drafted by me, Tom Flanagan, Ken Boessenkool, approved by Stephen Harper and distributed to gun owners on January 19, 2002 by Garry Breitkreuz. It was part of an agreement Harper made to get Garry's support during the Canadian Alliance leadership race. Following Mr. Harper's win, he appointed Garry as the Official Opposition Critic for Firearms and Property Rights.
HOUSE OF COMMONS DEBATES - OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest, Reform):
Mr. Speaker, I rise to participate in what will really be the closing debate on the government's controversial gun control Bill C-68 (The Firearms Act).
The short answer is that a good law ... must pass the test of constitutionality, effectiveness and democratic consent.
Will Bill C-68 if enacted be a good law or a bad law?
First is the test of constitutionality. This bill ... will be subject to constitutional challenges to which it would not be subject if the minister had ... given greater care to the issue of civil liberties ... certain clauses ... may very well contravene the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in particular, the rights of Canadians to privacy and security of the person.
Bill C-68 fails the test of being on sound, and unquestionably sound, constitutional ground.
A second major test which any government legislative measure must pass ... is the test of effectiveness. Will it achieve the object, in this case an increase in public safety ... ?
My colleagues have made the argument very effectively that Bill C-68 will not achieve the goal of increased public safety because it focuses less than 20 per cent on the regulation of the criminal use of firearms and over 80 per cent on the regulation of the non-criminal use of firearms. To be effective the emphasis of the bill should have been exactly the opposite.
I therefore submit in conclusion that Bill C-68, if passed into law, will not be a good law. It will be a bad law, a blight on the legislative record of the government, a law that fails the three great tests of constitutionality, of effectiveness and of the democratic consent of the governed.
What should be the fate of a bad law? It should be repealed, which is precisely what a Reform government will do when it eventually replaces this government.
Leader of the Opposition CANADA Chef de L’Opposition
September 9, 2004
Edward B. Hudson DVM, MS
Dear Mr. Hudson,
Thank you for forwarding me a copy of your letter to Paul Martin regarding the Firearms Act. I am pleased to have this opportunity to respond.
The Conservative Party of Canada is committed to holding the Martin Liberals accountable for their continued and egregious waste of taxpayers’ dollars on the ineffectual firearms registry. Our critic responsible for the issue of firearms, M.P. Garry Breitkreuz, has been especially vocal, demanding that the government explain all of the costs involved in establishing and maintaining the error-fraught firearms registry. We will continue to call upon the Martin Liberals to scrap the registry.
The Conservative Party of Canada remains firmly committed to repealing the current Firearms Act, including its firearms registration provisions, and replacing it with a system of firearms control this is cost effective and respects the rights of Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.
(signed Stephen Harper)
Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C. M.P.
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
An Armed Canadian in America
A few years ago, I immigrated to the United States, mainly to be able to keep and bear arms. I knew that there was much gun control in America, but less than in Canada. My experience confirmed both points.
You just need to buy a firearm in the U.S. – which one can do as a legal resident – to see that gun control exists. Except if you buy your gun from a private party, you must, since 1998, pass the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check. You will fail it if you have ever been convicted of a felony. This is not very difficult in the U.S. as 6% or adults have a felony record. You will also fail it if you have been convicted of any domestic violence misdemeanor or are under a restraining order for harassing or threatening an intimate partner. Under this system, your wife or girlfriend can prevent you owning guns if she is not nice or you are not.
Many other aspects of gun ownership are regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Federal Firearms of 1938, and subsequent federal legislation, as well as by each state’s laws and regulations. A convicted felon is forbidden to have any firearm in his possession (“possession” being defined very wide) under penalty of another (serious) felony. All in all, I suspect there are more people in jail for paper gun crimes in the United States than in Canada.
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights, on the right to keep and bear arms, has started to be restored in the last few years. Much remains to be done.
The good news is that, if you are average enough to pass all these hurdles, you can actually, in most states, do something with your guns. You don’t have to keep them locked and unusable. You can use them in self-defense at home and, in most states, carry them, either openly or concealed. Carrying concealed usually requires a permit.
In Maine, where I live, gun laws are quite liberal (in the real, classical, sense of the term). A concealed-carry permit is easy to obtain (if you have no criminal record) and allows you to carry your pistol nearly everywhere. I carry my pistol – my “loaded pistol,” as European and Canadian journalists would say with a look of utter incomprehension and uncontrollable fear: “What! An ordinary citizen?” nearly everywhere I go, from the bank to the theater, from the beach to the forest. One can even carry in the non-secure area of the Portland airport.
Although it is seldom practiced, open carry is allowed in Maine and requires no permit. It is rare, but you can meet somebody carrying a pistol or a long gun openly. In fact, the first day I had my concealed-carry permit, I went for a walk with my girlfriend and we were approached by two guys on four-by-fours, one of whom was carrying an AR-15, as he had the right to. They were peaceful guys and there was no shoot-out.
Maine is a very peaceful and non-violent place. We usually leave the doors of the house unlocked. Of course, a would-be criminal would suspect that the homeowner has a loaded pistol nearby, just in case. As the old Latin proverb says, Si vis pacem para bellum – if you want peace, prepare war. House invasions and road rage are virtually unknown here.
At the time of writing, the Maine Assembly is debating the adoption of “constitutional carry,” that is, the right to conceal-carry without any permit for anybody not otherwise forbidden to own guns. A few other states have recently adopted constitutional carry (Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming, Kansas, and Wyoming); it has existed in Vermont from time immemorial.
Much remains to be done to give the Second Amendment the same respect other sections of the Bill of Rights (like freedom of speech) command, but the outlook now looks favorable.
Pierre Lemieux, economist and author.
If our Government can’t protect us, we don’t deserve protection
The Ontario government is threatening to take away Bruce and Donna Montague’s home, as the final act of more than a decade of persecution, in the course of which Bruce Montague was hauled away by police from a gun show, leaving his 12-year-old daughter traumatized; incarcerated for 18 months (his wife received a probationary sentence) and their small business ruined by the confiscation of their entire inventory.
Bruce and Donna owned a gunsmith shop and their crime was Bruce’s refusal to do the paperwork required by a series of inane gun-registry laws instituted in the 1990s, which were widely criticized and have been partly rescinded since, because he found the process nonsensical and intrusive. I presume he felt he shouldn’t have to tell his government his medical history or details about his love life in order to acquire or retain a license to his hunting rifle.
The Montague's defiant act of civil disobedience brought upon the couple’s head the administrative vengeance of the state. As Donna wrote in a recent letter: “Like many other small business owners, the bulk of our life’s savings was invested in our business. By seizing our inventory, the government has left us on the brink of a financial disaster. At the time, it was hard for us to imagine our plight could get any worse.
“But then, unbelievably, it did get worse: Government authorities maintain they can seize our home because they say it is ‘proceeds of unlawful activity’ or ‘instruments of unlawful activity’ as defined by the Civil Remedies Act of 2001.
“Again, keep in mind, Bruce’s alleged ‘unlawful activity’ consisted of him simply not registering his firearms as a protest. He never stole anything, he never harmed anyone.”
I’m afraid that’s precisely the problem, Donna. Stealing things or harming people doesn’t enrage the authorities half as much as protesting their intrusive, silly, liberticidal edicts. Civil disobedience may be a necessary, noble and unselfish act, but it carries a stupendous price tag. Good luck to you and to the Canadian Constitution Foundation, which has taken up the Montagues’ cause.
In Canada we often gloat about being a caring society, but for us, “caring” is a state monopoly. Our governments take the view that if they can’t protect us, we don’t deserve protection. And should we resort to civil disobedience, as Bruce and Donna Montague did, to protest the latest invasion of red tapeworms from our state bureaucracies, we don’t even deserve our liberty, livelihood and homes any longer.
George Jonas, National Post
For more information or to contribute to assist Bruce & Donna Montague, please see:
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Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association