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Charter used to fight FAC form

By Dan Zakreski of The Star Phoenix, March 31, 1998

Ed Hudson will find out later this month whether questions on the federal firearms acquisition certificate (FAC) application form violate his charter rights.

The Saskatoon hunter and veterinarian launched a court challenge after the chief provincial firearms officer issued a notice to refuse Hudson's application. The grounds were that Hudson refused to answer a two-part question on the application.

The first part 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.

Hudson said the two-part question is too intrusive and can't be justified under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the grounds of protecting public safety.

In court Monday, Crown prosecutor Kim Humphries and Hudson's lawyer, John Hardy, questioned retired firearms officer Marvin Hanson on the applications and the intent of the questions. Hanson, who retired from the Saskatoon Police Service in January, said many of the questions on the form are "investigative aids."

"The very fact that a person fails to fill out Question 35 is an investigative aid. Is there an estranged spouse? Were they recently fired?"

Hanson said he did not consider Hudson a safety risk. Rather, he understood the application was refused because it was not completed.

Given the complexities of the case, Judge Pat Carey asked both sides to submit written arguments. The case returns to provincial court on April 22.