Firearms Owners Association
Sergeant Murray Grismer
I appreciate the time you have invested in the Saskatchewan RFC. I have always admired your willingness to ‘cut to the chase’ and get right to the heart of a discussion. But unfortunately at our last RFC meeting on Saturday I found myself much perplexed by a couple of your robust statements regarding your unflinching support for the licencing of firearms owners.
Over the past several years I had become slowly aware that you were perhaps getting a bit “soft” on your opposition to licencing. But it now seems to be that we are on completely diametrically opposed sides of the licencing issue. I can understand a person changing their position – I myself am guilty of having once been foolish enough to think that licencing firearms owners made sense. But when you said, “I support licencing; that has always been my position,” I became confused.
From the very beginning of this battle against Bill C-68 you have always been the most visible, most energetic, most outspoken of the RFC representatives opposed to the Liberals’ 1995 Firearms Act. I was always encouraged by your wholehearted, devastating attacks on former Justice Minister Allan Rock’s “unworkable, unenforceable, ineffective” registration and licencing systems.
I find it impossible even to try to imagine your having stood before the massive Fed-Up II Rally on Parliament Hill in September 1998 and having proclaimed, “I support licencing!”
But if you now endorse licencing, I must accept that as your position.
Regrettably we now totally disagree on the licencing of firearms owners.
But if on licencing we are to “agree to disagree” (in an amicable manner), I suggest it is essential that we carefully clarify our use of words.
To me, the legal distinction between “licence” and “certificate” is vital.
So when you, a current member of the CFAC, say, “Licence – certificate; whatever; call it what you want”, I was left speechless – which for me does not happen often.
As a serving police constable throughout all of the debates against the implementation of former Justice Minister Allan Rock’s unjust law, you clearly understand the basic, fundamental difference between a Firearms Acquisition Certificate, an FAC – particularly the Bill C-52, 1977 FAC - and Bill C-68’s firearms licencing scheme.
For clarity, the 1977 FAC with police screening makes sense, but licencing does not.
Prior to the licencing mandate of the Liberals’ 1995 Firearms Act, an FAC was not required merely to possess a firearm. Subject to the Liberals’ Firearms Act, on 01 January 2001, the simple possession of a firearm became a criminal offence under the Criminal Code with severe penalties. From that date forward, merely to possess a firearm a person had to have a federal licence, - or be subject to arrest and/or forfeiture of the firearm.
This was a significant - and unjustified - historic change in Canadian law.
Of the effects of this historic change to a federal licencing system Dr. Gary Mauser has said:
We in CUFOA have publically stated that we will not accept a firearms licence. We will not ask the Government for permission to own our most indispensable piece of property.
We will accept either a 1977-style FAC, a Firearms Prohibition Registry as we have proposed – see enclosure, or a USA-style Instant Background Check as Dr. Mauser has suggested.
I cannot conceive of requiring all responsible firearms owners in Canada to renounce our proud Canadian history and culture of responsible firearms use in order to make it easier for the police services to “catch the gangbangers.” As you previously stated for the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers, licencing has “little or no effect on the criminal element.” There has to be a better way to address the criminal use and abuse of firearms than making the simple possession of a firearm a crime.
Murray, I suggest it is time for you to reverse your position on licencing. It is time to return from the Dark Side.
We desperately need you and your formidable expertise on our side in this historic battle. This battle is not about the mere wording of a public policy statement. Canada’s future, in truth, our very lives, depend upon the legal distinction between a ‘licence’ and a ‘certificate’.
Encl: 1. Firearms Prohibition Registry
2. Dr. Mauser - Frogs
in Hot Water
Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association