Firearms Owners Association
Table of contents
Right now, responsible firearms owners have a unique opportunity to effect Mr. Harper’s firearms policy decision. But we only have two alternatives: We can meekly sit back and do nothing like complacent, mild-mannered Canadians, or we can be part of History. We can be an integral part of a Revolution – a Revolution in its original sense – a peaceful “turning full circle, a return to what once was.” We can return the ownership of firearms to what it was when we were young.
Are you willing to submit to a Government that tells you if, when, and for what purpose you may possess a firearm? Are you willing to surrender your Right to defend yourself, your family, and your property? Are you willing to yield your Right to own a firearm, willing accept licencing?
If you want to preserve your ownership of your shotgun, rifle, or pistol,
now is the time to write a letter to Mr. Harper and your Member of Parliament.
It is time to join the Revolution. Tell Mr. Harper and your MP
to honour their promise – tell them to repeal all the Firearms
Act and its attendant Criminal Code provisions.
By Pierre Lemieux*
Future historians may well see Bill C-68, adopted by the Canadian Parliament in 1995, as a model of sorts.
The federal Minister of Justice at the time, Allan Rock, a would-be intellectual who later became president of the University of Ottawa, knew that words are important. As a politician, he knew that telling the truth does not necessarily further a political career. As a member of the liberal establishment, he knew that talking like a do-gooder was all that mattered. As a lawyer, he knew how laws can be made tortuous, indecipherable and irresistible. And he had in his Department hundreds of bureaucrats who thought like him.
Here is what they did. They crafted a bill – finally called Bill C-68 – that did two things, two achieve-ments that were very different but whose interaction would be incredibly potent. Bill C-68 first, and most visibly, created the Firearms Act and a whole new bureaucracy to implement it. The Firearms Act dealt with the administrative aspects of registering guns and licencing gun owners. Second, Bill C-68 amended the Criminal Code to create a host of new crimes for anybody who did not obey the Firearms Act.
They sold the whole mumbo-jumbo as an innocent gun registration requirement. In fact, licencing is the most important, the most subversive and destructive part of Bill C-68. Most gun owners got their first licence believing that they were just registering their guns, while in fact they were applying for a permission to register their guns – which is what a gun licence is.
The focus on gun registration – the least damaging requirement of Bill C-68 – had the intended effect. People, including those opposing C-68, started using “the gun registry” as shorthand for the Kafkaesque process of humbly asking the government for an intrusive licence that allows the successful applicant, in a second obligatory step, to register his guns in order to keep them.
While in the opposition, the Conservatives prom-ised to “repeal Bill C-68.” As they came closer to power, they promised to abolish “the gun registry.” Once in power, they started saying, “the long-gun registry,” to stress the fact that, God forbid, the 1934 handgun registration requirement was not ques¬tioned. Many of them had come to love the licencing requirements imposed by the Liberals in 1995.
Thus, the masters of words won the battle by de-flecting the anger of naïve gun owners – and their representative associations – from licencing to “the gun registry.”
Many people still mistakenly believe that the Con-servatives’ promise to “end the long-gun registry” will save the gun owners whom the government knows to have let their firearms licences lapse. “As of December 2010”, states the government in the Canada Gazette of 13 April 2011, “more than 224,000 holders of expired licences were believed to still be in possession of their firearms.”
The duck hunters without firearms licences are in for a rude awakening, for they will remain paper crimi¬nals after the “long-gun registry” has been abolished.
It is the intrusive, invasive process of licencing – not the “gun registry” – that makes merely possessing a firearm in Canada so cumbersome and onerous. It is only if and when licencing is abolished that the admonition of George Orwell, the author of Nineteen Eighty Four, can have any meaning in Canada:
*Pierre Lemieux is a Québec economist and author who recently
moved to the U.S.
By Al Muir*
On 15 May 1995 Parliament’s Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs held a hearing on the Liberals’ Bill C-68. Speaking for the National Coalition of Provincial and Territorial Wildlife Federations in vehement opposition to this unjust law, Mr. Rick Morgan of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters said:
Mr. Morgan was indeed correct. Bill C-68 did produce an astounding turnaround in the public perception and treatment of gun owners. Where our neighbors once trusted us, we are now all potentially dangerous. The mere possession of a firearm suddenly became a criminal act, with the owners only recourse to seek temporary immunity through a licence, which brings them under constant surveillance. The Auditor General stated that those responsible for implementing the Firearms Act believed gun ownership to be a questionable activity. This bias had been directly imbedded in the Firearms Act and the related amendments to the Criminal Code. Sections 91 and 92 of the Criminal Code criminalized mere possession of a firearm, and section 117 provided ongoing directives to eliminate more easily owners and classes of firearms.
Over long years of fruitless struggle, many of the gun owner associations adopted a strategy of calling for a series of incremental changes, which they believed would eventually overturn all the provisions of the law. In the face of the increasingly repressive gun laws enacted over several decades – coupled with the intensifying worldwide restrictions on private firearms ownership – this strategy required a tremendous leap of faith. These organizations simultane¬ously came to acquiesce fully to Mr. Harper and his minority government’s claim that its hands were tied to the point they could not make meaningful changes, not even Orders in Council.
In order to support the series of “scrap the long-gun registry” bills that Mr. Harper’s minority Government introduced, these gun organizations openly signaled their “acceptance” of the very licencing scheme they had previously railed against.
Yet this dubious “incremental strategy” of accepting a “good first step” has now made eliminating licencing exponentially more difficult. Many newly elected Con¬servative Members of Parliament have never even heard of licencing, much less understand the importance of the Right to have the means of armed self-protection.
Given the fortuitous luck that saved gun owners from the passage of a firearms bill under a minority government, we have, using the word loosely, safely arrived at a majority Conservative government. Mr. Harper and the Conservatives have nothing left to hide behind. The Conservatives now must either deliver on their past promises to repeal the entire Bill C-68, or ignobly expose themselves in not doing so.
We pleadingly call upon the OFAH, the CSSA, the NFA, and all wildlife and sporting federations and associations to remember their original, well-founded opposition to licencing. Join us as we fight for our Canadian heritage and culture. Accept no less than the total repeal of the entire Bill C-68.
* Al Muir is a CUFOA spokesperson.
By Kingsley Beattie*
Responsible gun owners all across Canada are celebrating the majority government Mr. Harper and the Conservatives finally won after five years of diligent perseverance. Nevertheless, we would be extremely foolish to assume that in our very long, costly and, for some, dangerous and painful, fight for our Rights, we have achieved the final victory. Ottawa is still full of hypocritical politicians and scheming bureaucrats pretending to be promoting public safety and security, and they could still very easily destroy any gains we have made.
Our own Canadian history provides ample evidence that we would be naïve to expect any politician to be perfectly honest. Politicians are motivated by their interest in winning power, position, status, and a very comfortable pension. Excluding a few honourable exceptions, our political leaders will do what they deem useful to achieve their personal ambitions. Elected public officials do pay careful attention to individuals and organizations that have the ability and the will to promote, or erode, those ambitions.
With this election we may have made some modest progress in defending our Rights, but we are still in the early stage with this majority government. We cannot relax; options are being proposed that could derail all of our advances.
We now have before us the unique opportunity to engage in discussions with a government that claims to be favourable to our cause. For this reason, we immediately need to contact our Tory MPs – as well as all other MPs – and demand they replace Bill C-68 with legislation that is cost effective and is directed at those who pose a danger to society. While insisting on scraping the entire Firearms Act and the attendant Criminal Code sections that make the mere possession of a firearm illegal, we offer a proposal that would recognize the Right of citizens to possess and use firearms for all lawful purposes; including self-defence. The new legislation would establish a registry of persons who have been prohibited by a court order from possessing a firearm. Our plan would prohibit the transfer of a firearm until verification is made that the recipient is not in the prohibited registry. Unlike the current licencing scheme of the Liberals that focuses on responsible citizens, this system would target criminals.
We cannot afford to sit back, smug in this electoral success. The Conservatives appear supreme now, but this may be only a euphoric illusion. While the CPC is rock solid in the West, support in Ontario is still soft. Although the Liberals have indeed been severely wounded, they are not dead. They may be able to recover by 2015. The Liberals’ renewal could be facilitated if the NDP, which seems to have replaced the Bloc Québécois as the tool of Québec nationalists, splinters along the language divide. So not even the best political soothsayers really know what will develop before the next election. But one thing is certain: within two years the Conservatives will begin getting ready for next election, the political wars will once again recommence in earnest, and policy changes will be history.
We have less than 24 months to get our job done. We must use this time to our advantage. We must act now.
Write to your Member of Parliament today!
*Kingsley Beattie lives in Ottawa.
By Joe Gingrich*
The continuing political upheaval in Egypt may be instructive to Canadians. Much of the crisis in Egypt can be traced directly to the rural land-lessness caused by ousted President Mubarak’s 1992 Law No. 96. This law stripped about one million registered Egyptian tenant families of their permanent and heritable land rights. Egypt – and President Mubarak – is now paying a very high price for not respecting private property.
The right to property is one of our oldest and most fundamental civil rights. The protection of private property against state expropriation is traced to the Magna Carta (1215) and the English Bill of Rights (1689). All of our civil rights, including individual property rights, found in these two documents flow into the preamble of the Canadian Constitution Acts (1982).
However, Mr. Trudeau and the drafters of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms selectively omitted property Rights from the Charter. Since then, like Mubarak’s Egypt, Canadian governments have become fond of legislating laws that allow the seizure of private property, e.g., the Firearms Act and related Criminal Code provisions, the Anti-terrorism Act, and the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime. Mr. Chrétien’s Liberals used the Department of Veterans Affairs Act – modified by Mulroney’s Conservatives in the 1980’s – to steal veterans’ pension money in order to balance Paul Martin’s budget.
As well, we see a proliferation of provincial civil remedies acts that claim to be used as deterrents to organized crime. But these statutes are often used primarily to fill government coffers and to confiscate the private assets of political foes. A prime example: Ontario has invoked its Civil Remedies Act to deprive Bruce and Donna Montague of their family home. The Ontario act is being used to weaken the Montagues’ constitutional challenge of the firearms owner licencing provisions of the Criminal Code. According to the Supreme Court of Canada it is acceptable for the government to confiscate private property merely on suspicion that one’s property could be from the proceeds of a crime.
While this organized dispossession of Canadian private property is expanding at an alarming rate, concerns have been raised across Canada. The new Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta proudly declares:
And the governing Saskatchewan Party accepted a recent change to the party policy that now states:
And most notably the Conservative Party's Founding Principles and Party Policy declare that a Conservative government:
But unfortunately even our Conservative govern-ment is terribly inconsistent in protecting our private property. While serving for five years as Prime Minister with a minority government, Mr. Harper and the Conservatives employed the Liberals’ gun control legislation to confiscate and destroy 533,000 short barreled, small-caliber handguns. Despite impassioned pleas from responsible firearms owners, Mr. Harper impounded these firearms without any evidence that these legally acquired, legally held, registered firearms posed any public safety concerns. And without a peep of objection from Mr. Harper, the courts have rejected the constitutional Charter challenges of the Montagues and of Edward Hudson whcih have attempted to import individual property rights through the Charter’s section 26.
While our Rights may be suppressed by the gov-ernment or the courts of the day, the Rights remain with us; irreversible, fixed, settled, never ceasing. Like the Egyptians, we will not accept the “Mubarak Solution” to property.
We must remind Mr. Harper of the government’s responsibility to protect individual property.
*Joe Gingrich lives in White Fox, Saskatchewan.
par Yvon Dionne*
Le Québec a une tradition de possession d’armes à feu qui a ses origines en Nouvelle-France, non seulement pour la chasse ou le tir mais aussi pour se défendre. L’explosion de l’étatisme dans les années 1960, alors que le Québec s’urbanise et que l’État monopolise de plus en plus de fonctions, change la donne. On observe une forte hausse de la criminalité et des suicides par armes à feu. Certains événements malheureux ont contribué à diaboliser les propriétaires d’armes à feu face à une population devenue dépendante de l’État et de sa sécurité, et manipulée par une propagande financée par tous à même les impôts.
Pourtant, un examen de ces incidents, le plus récent étant celui du Collège Dawson, démontre que l’on a affaire à un problème de société étatisée devenue oppressive, y compris l’érosion de la famille, beaucoup plus qu’à un problème d’armes à feu.
La loi sur les armes à feu, en particulier telle qu’appliquée au Québec, arrive en contradiction flagrante avec les dispositions du Code criminel permettant la légitime défense, en ce sens qu’elle rend impossible l’usage d’une arme à feu en situation urgente. La Sûreté du Québec refuse toute demande de permis d’arme à autorisation restreinte (en général les armes de poing) à des fins de légitime défense. La loi no 9 de Jean Charest, loi appuyée par tous les partis y compris l’ADQ, ne reconnaît que le tir à la cible comme finalité admissible pour la possession d’une arme de poing. L’adhésion à un club de tir est obligatoire, à défaut de quoi les armes sont confisquées sans compensation.
À ces dispositions légales, ajoutons que la pratique du tir en région, hors des grands centres urbains, est rendue difficile par la rareté des clubs de tir, plusieurs ayant été fermés par la police au cours des ans. La majorité des chasseurs ne sont pas non plus membres de clubs de tir.
À l’agenda plus ou moins avoué des activistes anti-armes à feu il y a la prohibition pure et simple non seulement de toutes les armes de poing (exception faite de celles des policiers), mais aussi de toutes les armes de chasse semi-automatiques. L’Association des chasseurs et pêcheurs du Québec ne revendique que l’abolition du registre des armes de chasse alors que cette abolition n’empêche nullement la prohibition de certains types d’armes et que c’est la police qui décide de toute manière qui peut détenir un permis (que vous soyez ou non un criminel).
La législation canadienne sur les armes à feu dé-coule d’un état d’esprit dictatorial et débile qui veut que l’on ne peut faire une omelette sans casser des œufs et sans contrôler toute la population. Ce que la CUFOA propose, c’est de cesser de traiter les gens responsables comme des œufs ou des moutons et de s’adresser réellement aux problèmes de la criminalité à leurs sources. Une de ces causes est sans contredit que l’étatisation de la société a contribué à déresponsabiliser les individus et à détruire le sens des valeurs fondamentales qui tissent des relations sociales harmonieuses.
Le contrôle des propriétaires d’armes à feu n’est qu’un pas parmi d’autres dans la dépossession graduelle des individus de certains droits fondamentaux reconnus par les articles 7 et suivants de la Charte canadienne des droits.
*Yvon Dionne vit au Québec.