CUFOA

Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association
Association canadienne des propriétaires d’armes sans permis

Licensing:
A Cancer of the Soul

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Thursday, 27 September 2012

An Open Letter to all Responsible Firearms Owners of Canada:

The Governor in Council may make regulations
      (a) regarding the issuance of licenses, authorization certificates and authorizations, including regulation respecting the purposes for which they may be issued ... and prescribing the circumstances in which persons are or are not eligible to hold licences; ...
      (c) prescribing the circumstances in which an individual does or does not need firearms
            (1) to protect the life of that individual, ...

      - The Firearms Act, chapter 39, Statues of Canada -1995; p. 5

Translation into vernacular English:

“The Government will decide if you may have a firearm to defend yourself.”


Civil Disobedience
A Clear Case – A Clear Call

Last week we firearms owners were subjected to yet another propaganda pronouncement from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. The Minister declared an Ontario court's refusal to grant an injunction against destroying the ‘long-gun registry’ data an “absolute victory for the rule of law.”1 Quite the show, all this fuss and bother over the court cases attempting to prevent the government from destroying the ‘long-gun’ registration records. But Mr. Toews’ beguiling action is nothing more than a charade, a diversion, a red herring, a con game, a bogus fight against a bogeyman meant only to deflect our attention and action away from the more insidiously harmful aspects of the Firearms Act.

The evidence is now irrefutable that Mr. Harper has betrayed firearms owners with his passage of Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act. The remarks made by so many of our so-called Conservatives Members of Parliament during the debates leading up to the passage of Bill C-19 confirm that Mr. Harper has squandered every resource and every argument we had against the Liberals’ 1995 Firearms Act (Bill C-68) – see Appendix A - “The Conservatives’ Statements in Praise of the Liberals’ Licencing Mandate”.

Saskatchewan Conservative Senator David Tkachuk confirms that ending the “long-gun registry” was not a “good first step”, but was Mr. Harper’s first, last, and only step:

“The Conservative Party has never suggested that we would remove licensing requirements for gun owners.”2

And, in case we missed the full, brutal significance of the betrayal, on behalf of our Conservative Members of Parliament Shelly Glover, CPC, Saint Boniface delivered the coup de grâce:

“In regard to the Firearms Act, I wanted to clarify a few points. The Conservative Party has never claimed to want to repeal the Firearms Act.”3

So while Public Safety Minister Toews applauds these empty court “victories” and pretends to be protecting gun owners, Mr. Harper keeps the worst parts of the Firearms Act firmly in place.

We cannot allow this situation to continue.

As Dr. Ted Morton of the University of Calgary informs us:

“The Firearms Act (Bill C-68) contains as many as 28 distinct Charter violations. If the Supreme Court applies the same Charter rules to law-abiding firearm owners as it has to drunk-drivers, drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, single parent welfare recipients, abortion providers, murderers, refugee claimants and owners of child pornography, that is—if it applies the law of the land with an even hand—then it will be forced by its own precedents to declare Bill-68 unconstitutional and thus of no force or effect.”4 – see Appendix B.

Unfortunately, we have learned from bitter personal experience and from the travesty of justice inflicted upon Bruce and Donna Montague that the “highest court in the land” looks with disdain upon these legal arguments and refuses even to hear our cases. 5, 6, 7

Nevertheless, Professor Gary Mauser of Simon Fraser University reminds us:

“Gun ownership is the right of all Canadians. North Americans -- Canadians as well as Americans – have inherited the right to own and use firearms from the English Bill of Rights (of 1689).”8

Professor Mauser has astutely pointed out the insidious evil of licencing:

“The bureaucrats (in Ottawa) want to reduce the numbers of gun owners, and eventually eliminate all private ownership of firearms by citizens.”

“Police screening makes sense, but not licencing. … By arbitrarily tightening up the (licencing) standards, the government can cause gun ownership to disappear.”8

And as the former Opposition Firearms Critic Garry Breitkreuz has pointed out:

“With the passage of the Firearms Act Section 117.15(2) of the Criminal Code gives the government such sweeping power that they could ban any or all firearms in Canada and not even the Supreme Court of Canada could overturn it. … C-68 (the Firearms Act) gives the government the absolute power to prohibit any firearm … And, not even the Supreme Court can substitute their opinion for the Governor-in-council’s opinion.”9

Even more deleterious, the Firearms Act changes to Criminal Code - ss. 91(1), 92(1), and s. 117.03 - allow the police to confiscate our firearms without laying a criminal charge and authorize court enforced forfeiture without conviction.

With the combined the Orders-in-Council powers and Criminal Code changes, the federal government can reclassify and confiscate every firearm in Canada without laying a single criminal charge.

As Mr. Breitkreuz discerningly asked:

“Why would the Liberals give themselves such awesome power if they didn’t intend to use it?”9

But the much more pertinent question is, “Why would Mr. Harper and the Conservatives keep these detrimental powers in place if they did not intend to use them?”

So we face the fundamental question, “What Is to Be Done?”*

First, we must remember that this battle is about much more than the mere ownership of sporting or hunting firearms. The government’s control over armed self-defence affects every Canadian down to his or her basic, individual core.

Second, this battle affects every citizen of Canada. As Garry Breitkreuz declared,

"What we have in Canada is not a true democracy. We vote every four or five years to elect another bunch … who disregard our fundamental right to own and use property.
But that's not what democracy is.
Democracy is supposed to be a way of keeping government under control, not a way of legitimizing the confiscation of private property without due process of law … .”10

Third, I totally reject the idea that we must be patient, that we must “take one bite at a time.” Dennis Young reminds us the fight against licencing began in March, 1994.11 For eighteen long years we worked “within the system” supporting the various political parties that promised to repeal the Firearms Act. We have grown old patiently enduring this unjust law. Many of our colleagues have died waiting for Mr. Harper to keep his promises. Enough is enough!

Therefore I say the time has arrived for us to engage fully in peaceful, non-violent Civil Disobedience.

Mr. Harper himself has indorsed the concept of peaceful civil disobedience. Note what Mr. Harper said of his pardon of the wheat board protestors who were imprisoned for transporting their wheat to the USA without a permit:

“These people were not criminals. They were our fellow citizens. Citizens who protested injustice by submitting themselves peacefully to the consequences of challenging injustice.”12

Mr. Harper has refused to implement the Conservative Party Policy to respect “the Right of Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly.”13 Clearly, as Professor John Rawls says in A Theory of Justice:

“the principles of societal cooperation among free and equal men are not being respected.”14

Surely we have arrived at the point where:

“the duty to comply with the laws enacted by a legislative majority cease to be binding in view of the right to defend one’s liberties and the duty to oppose injustice … .”14

It is time to stop being a slave to this unjust law. It is time to engage in open, honest civil disobedience. We should do what the Prime Minister praised; we should “protest injustice by peacefully challenging injustice.”

Tear up your firearms licence.

Send one piece of your firearms licence to Mr. Harper with a nice, polite, respectful note telling him that you will not obey this unjust law. Keep the other half of your licence as a memento to show your grandkids.

The time for asking Mr. Harper to honour his promises is over.

Tell Mr. Harper you own your firearms without his permission, and that you will continue to do so.
Tell Mr. Harper to repeal the law that makes you a criminal for merely possessing the means to defend yourself.
Proudly add your name to the list of unlicenced, responsible gun owners.

We can defeat this unjust law with open, honest, peaceful civil disobedience.

Sincerely,


Edward B. Hudson, DVM, MS
Secretary

Ref:

1. Toews applauds Ontario ruling on gun-registry data – 21 September 2012
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/09/21/pol-cp-toews-gun-registry-ontario.html

2. Letter from Senator David Tkachuk
http://www.cufoa.ca/articles/primeminister/pm_29_apr_2009.html

3. Shelly Glover, CPC, Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface
http://www.cufoa.ca/articles/primeminister/pm_15_aug_2011.html

4. How the Firearms Act (Bill C-68) Violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Dr. F.L.(Ted) Morton, University of Calgary, 2002
http://www.cufoa.ca/articles/licensing/licensing_05_oct_2002.html

5. Bruce and Donna Montague – Court Challenge for Liberty and Rights
http://brucemontague.ca/html/index.html

6. Judgment in Leave Applications, 2010-01-28
http://www.cufoa.ca/articles/armes/armes_28_jan_2010.html

7. Judgment in Leave Applications, 2012-03-29
http://www.cufoa.ca/articles/armes/armes_29_march_2012.html


8. The Federal Firearm Licence Will Destroy Traditional Canada, Gary Mauser, Professor, Simon Fraser University
http://www.sfu.ca/~mauser/papers/licencing/Boiling-a-Frog29104.pdf

9. Garry Breitkreuz, Opposition Firearms Critic Orders-in-Council
http://www.cufoa.ca/articles/licensing/licensing_21_sept_2000.html
http://www.nfa.ca/resource-items/most-dangerous-thing-firearms-act

10. Canada is not a True Democracy without Property Rights
http://www.garrybreitkreuz.com/breitkreuzgpress/propert1.htm

11. Breitkreuz Re-Opens Gun Control Debate
http://www.cufoa.ca/articles/licensing/licensing_10_mar_1994.html

12. Harper Pardons Wheat Board Protestors
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/08/01/pol-wheat-board-monopoly-over.html

13. The Conservatives’ Promises to Firearms Owners
http://www.cufoa.ca/articles/primeminister/pm_19_jan_2002.html

14. John Rawls, Civil Disobedience, A Theory of Justice, Belknap Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1971, pp. 363 & 364

* “What Is to Be Done?” - first used as a call to action in 1862 as the title of a revolutionary novel by Nikolai Chernyshevsky (1828 - 1889) while imprisoned in St. Petersburg; later used in 1902 by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870 - 1924).

Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association
Association canadienne des propriétaires d’armes sans permis
402 Skeena Court Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 4H2
(306) 242-2379 (306) 230-8929
edwardhudson@shaw.ca
www.cufoa.ca

Appendix A

The Conservatives’ Statements in Praise of the Licencing Mandate
of the Liberals’ 1995 Firearms Act, (Bill C-68)


• “The point remains that it is a criminal offence for a decent, law-abiding, ordinary individual not to (be) properly licensed to acquire a firearm.”
- The Honourable Vic Toews, M.P., CPC, Minister of Public Safety

• “The Government of Canada supports the current licensing scheme.”
- The Honourable Rob Nicholson, MP, CPC, Minister of Public Safety

• “We will not be changing the requirement for individuals to hold a license.”
- Ms. Candice Hoeppner, MP, CPC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

• “We believe in a robust regime of firearm licensing.”
- Mr. Scott Armstrong, MP, Cumberland … Musquodoboit Valley, CPC

• “A requirement for a valid firearms licence would remain in place.”
- Mr. Bryan Hayes, MP, Sault Ste. Marie, CPC

• “Just as important is what Bill C-19 would not do. It would not remove the requirement for Canadians to apply for a licence in order to own and use a long gun.”
- Mr. Chris Warkentin, MP, Peace River, CPC

• “Look at what is in Bill C-19, we still have the licensing provisions … That is gun control.”
- Mr. Mike Allen, MP, Tobique—Mactaquac, CPC

• “Canada's gun control laws, including very important licensing requirements, are robust and effective.”
- Mrs. Kelly Block, MP, Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, CPC

• “Bill C-19 would also require that individuals be in the possession of valid firearms licence when a firearm is purchased.”
- - Mr. Ed Komarnicki, MP, Souris—Moose Mountain, CPC

• “We believe that the individuals should be licensed.”1
- The Honourable Rob Merrifield, MP, Yellowhead, CPC

And now the ultimate insult:

• “The Conservative Party has never suggested that we would remove licensing requirements for gun owners.”2
- Saskatchewan Conservative Senator David Tkachuk

• In regard to the Firearms Act, I wanted to clarify a few points. The Conservative Party has never claimed to want to repeal the Firearms Act.
- Shelly Glover, CPC, MP, Saint Boniface
http://www.cufoa.ca/articles/primeminister/pm_14_feb_2012.html

Appendix B

How the Firearms Act (Bill C-68) Violates

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Study directed by:
Dr. F.L.(Ted) Morton
University of Calgary

Research Costs funded by:
The Responsible Firearm Owners Coalition of British Columbia
www.rfocbc.com
The Responsible Firearm Owners of Alberta
bluedl@telusplanet.net
The Recreational Firearms Community of Saskatchewan
www.rfcsask.com

First Presented in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
05 October 2002


• Right to Liberty

• Right to Security of the Person

• Right to Procedural Fairness

• Right against unreasonable search or seizure

• Right to privacy

• Right to presumption of innocence

• Right against arbitrary detention

• Right to counsel

• Right to freedom of expression

• Right to bear arms

• Right to property

• Equality rights

• Multicultural rights

• Reasonable limits

http://www.cufoa.ca/articles/licensing/licensing_05_oct_2002.html