The long, hot summer has arrived and unlike most summers when the firearm issue seems to die down, this one has been very active, with good, bad and so-so news coming out of Ottawa.
The goods news is that all the proposed changes to the Reloading Regulations have been scrapped. Thanks to those of you who called, wrote or e-mailed to complain about these poorly thought out regulations which we always saw as a solution in search of a problem.
The bad news is that despite the change in government the injustices being committed against lawful owners of 12/6 handguns and 12/2-12/5 rifles continues. More on this later.
The so-so news concerns the long gun registry and the government promise to dismantle it via Bill C-21.
So while some of our efforts have been bearing fruit, others are coming up short. If anyone thought that Stockwell Day's promise to end long gun registration signaled the end of the battle they were gravely mistaken.
In short, the Conservatives have failed to fulfill their Blue Book promise to replace Bill C-68 with fair and equitable alternative firearm legislation. In fact, they are not even close. Certainly the introduction of Bill C-21, which was touted as the demise of the long gun registry, falls far short of what we wanted and could end up creating an even worse situation than the current federal long gun registry (if that is possible).
Members of the TSCON Executive have met with local MP's Rick Dykstra and Dean Allison to express our concerns on several firearm related issues and now we have to wait and see if the meetings bring results.
Overall the situation may have improved slightly but we not out off the woods by a long shot. However, with a minority government in place and the possibility of an election in the near future today is an ideal time to write, call or talk to your MP and express your concerns that what we expect to happen has not yet occurred. Now is not the time to become complacent.
Reloading Regulations Scrapped!
On July 28, 2006 the following "Ammunition Update" was released by Natural Resources Canada:
Currently, the government will not be proceeding with any new handloading regulations.
Handloading, when properly practiced, has been shown to be a safe activity and it has a good safety record. Any potential amendments that are made to the regulations will only be done after a need has been established and extensive consultations have been conducted.
This is what we had been telling them all along but like typical bureaucrats they didn't listen. We do have information from an inside source in Ottawa that the Conservatives leaned pretty hard on Natural Resources Canada to scrap the proposed regulations so on this issue, at least, they deserve a big thumbs up.
On May 17, 2006 Public Safety Stockwell Day announced an amnesty which affects anyone with unregistered long guns or an expired licence.
Without going into all the details the main points of the amnesty are as follows:
-license renewal fees are waived. Those who have already renewed will receive a refund. There will also be no fee for those who decide to upgrade their licence from a POL to a PAL.
-physical verification of non-restricted firearms will no longer be required.
-a one-year amnesty (until May 17, 2007) protects individuals from prosecution for possessing a non-restricted rifle or shotgun without a valid licence or registration certificate if: a) they were licensed to possess that class of firearm in the past but their licence has expired since January 1, 2004; or b) they currently hold, or have held, a firearms licence but have not yet registered the firearm.
Please note that this does not mean you can now legally sell an unregistered firearm. Hypothetically, however, if you were to do so, as long as the police were not aware that the sale took place, the new owner would not be in violation of the law by possessing the unregistered firearm as long as they were eligible to possess that type of firearm. Also, this only applies to unregistered long guns. Restricted and prohibited firearms are not covered by the amnesty.
It would also appear that the amnesty makes it unnecessary to carry your registration certificates with you any longer as possession of even an unregistered firearm is no longer a violation of the law.
If you have any questions as to how this affects you please give us a call.
With great fanfare on June 19, 2006 Stockwell Day announced the introduction of Bill C-21, which newspapers and even some pro-gun groups immediately heralded as the impending end of the much hated Firearms Act (Bill C-68). Well, if we may quote Winston Churchill, with a lot of luck it might be "The end of the beginning", but no certainly no more.
Is it what we had hoped for?
Well, more learned people than us have described it in the following terms:
"Registration has always been the 'sacrificial anode' of the Firearms Act and is still being used as the red-herring to divert attention away from the real destroyer of firearms ownership - Licensing. This legislation continues that tradition." (Responsible Firearm Owners Coalition of British Columbia)
"I don't like the way C-21 "feels". My gut level intuition tells me the Conservatives have done just enough (barely) to say "we kept our promise, now go away! (Canadian Institute for Legislative Action)
"On several occasions Mr. Day has promised publicly to "keep licencing" and note his suggestion of a "lifetime licence". We are incredulous that the new Conservative government would even consider retaining licensing in any form! We have stated unequivocally that licensing is the most dangerous part of the Firearms Act". (Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners Association)
"This wording (in Bill C-21) sets up a very complex method of transferring an ordinary rifle or shotgun, and creates very real problems".(National Firearms Association)
The Bill as written should be of particular concern for Ontario gun owners as it passes the responsibility of approving firearm transfers from the Canadian Firearms Centre in New Brunswick to the Chief Firearms Office (OPP) in Orillia. The OPP has never been very sympathetic or cooperative with Ontario gun owners and a bad situation has only gotten worse under the McGuinty Liberals. At present it is not unusual for people to wait several weeks for approval to transfer a restricted firearm so one can only imagine how long the wait will be once long guns are thrown into the mix. It's a sure bet McGuinty and his weasel of an Attorney-General, Michael Bryant, will not be allocating any more manpower to the CFO to speed up transfers.
Bill C-21 completely ignores the issue of licencing (which at least 1 million otherwise law-abiding gun owners have failed to obtain) and does not speak one word about the criminal misuse of firearms which is the real problem. In fact, it looks very much like it was written by the same band of bureaucratic idiots who crafted C-68, which is truly a scary thought.
When you speak with or write to your MP you should be asking why these key issues have been ignored.
Firearms Advisory Committee
Now that Bill C-21 has been put before Parliament it will be dissected and recommendations for changes will be made. Unlike the last User's Group which the Liberals loaded with anti-gunner's (why people who hate guns were on the User's Group is still a mystery) we have been told that this Advisory Committee will be made of entirely of pro-gun personnel. On the surface this sounds like a constructive approach. We are, however, greatly troubled by the makeup of the group. For example, representation from grassroots organizations like TSCON, RFOCBC, CUFOA, RFOA, etc. is virtually non-existent. Why Stockwell Day's office would ignore a plethora of knowledgeable people, some of whom have worked unpaid for upwards of twelve years fighting C-68 is beyond us, unless he wants a more malleable group which is more likely to go along with what the government proposes. We have heard that game and fish organizations will be represented, yet will they be willing to defend the rights of handgun and prohibited firearm owners, collectors and target shooters? We seriously doubt it. In addition, Mr Day has already made comments to the effect that the Conservatives will keep licensing, keep safety courses, keep storage laws, keep the current prohibited list and use the license list to assist the police, etc. and then say that they will consult gun owner's groups, which seems to be like buying a fire extinguisher after your house has burned down.
Perhaps we are being overly pessimistic but so far the Conservatives have given us little to be optimistic about as they are doing a lot of talking but very little walking. We hope our intuition is wrong but don't bet on it.
Meetings with MPs
As indicated in the President's Message, this summer TSCON Executive members met with local MP's to voice our concerns and we must say that both Rick Dykstra and Dean Allison were both very receptive. Local gun owners have donated thousands of dollars and thousands work hours to the Conservatives and Rick and Dean are very appreciative of that fact. Please take a minute to call, write or e-mail them, thank them for their efforts on our behalf but remind them that for many of us our ongoing support for the Conservative Party is going to be determined by how serious they are about fulfilling their party platform promise to replace the entire Firearms Act with legislation we can live with (and Bill C-21 ain't it!).
In that same vein, most of you who are Conservative Party members have probably received phone calls asking for donations. We ask that you withhold any financial support and tell the caller that when the Conservatives fulfill their promise to replace the entire Firearms Act with legislation that treats gun owners fairly you will be more than pleased to donate. We know they are hearing that a lot and they need to keep hearing it so that our support is not taken for granted. Remember, money talks!
12/6 Handgun Update
We are extremely disappointed that the Conservatives done nothing whatsoever to rectify the 12/6 handgun situation.
Several TSCON members are now into their third and fourth court hearings with no resolution in sight. This problem would go away now if Justice Minister Vic Toews or Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day would issue an Order-in-Council to protect those who were promised grandfathering under Bill C-10A. Now is the time for polite but blunt phone calls, letters and e-mails to the Ministers concerned demanding that they get off the pot and stop this travesty. They need to hear from gun owners that we expect them to follow the will of Parliament and fulfill the promise it made to these people.
On April 30, 2006 Bruce Montague's legal team submitted documents formalizing the constitutional challenge to The Firearms Act. A trial by jury has been also been scheduled to begin Sept. 25 in Kenora Superior Court.
Bruce was in Niagara Falls in July and we met with him. He is very upbeat and anxious to get to court.
While he has some money in reserve at the moment, legal fees will chew that up pretty fast so he needs all the financial assistance we can provide for him. Please send a donation in whatever amount you can spare. Make your cheque payable to the:
"Bruce Montague Scrap C-68 Fund"
RR#2, Site 211, Box 7
Dryden, ON P8N 2Y5
Also check out information on the challenge at:
UN Gun Grabbers Stalled (for now)
(With thanks to RFOCBC)
From The N.R.A.
As we slept safe in our beds, the U.S. National Rifle Association (NRA) kept us all up-to-date on the goings-on at the U.N. Small Arms Conference that occurred in New York from June 26th to July 7th. Canada fully participated in this conference but, ominously, we have not yet been able to access the speech given by Canada to the assembled delegates.
Although most often reported in the media as a 'failure', gun-owners should view the final result of this conference as, at least temporary, victory.
It is rumoured that Canadian bureaucrats are in the forefront of plotting yet another round of conferences. Is it actually noticeable that we now have the Conservatives 'in charge' of our national interests? Or, just like the Conservatives of Kim Campbell's era, are the present crop really just Liberals wearing blue jackets?
Visit the NRA website at www.nra.org to view complete coverage.
We Need Help!
This coming November will mark the 12th anniversary of the formation of "The Sporting Clubs of Niagara". During that time we have run dozens of rallies and presentations, sent thousands of letters to politicians, held nearly 50 gun shows and helped literally hundreds of gun owners with legal and paperwork problems. Now we need your help. Some Executive members have passed away, others have dropped out and the net result is that fewer and fewer people are doing more of the work. We are at a critical junction in the fight for gun owners' rights and desperately need help to continue the fight.
If you can spare an hour or two a week to attend our meetings and help us out it would be greatly appreciated. Without greater participation from the membership there is a great likelihood that we will be unable to carry on as we have. Financial support is important but we need bodies in the seats to carry on the battle. Meetings are Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM. Hope to see you then!
If your mailing label reads "05" or earlier or you received a 2007 membership card with this mailing you are not a paid up member for 2007. Please renew right now!
As several articles in this newsletter indicate, we are at a critical junction in the direction our gun rights are taking. With the current minority government an election could be called anytime in the next six months and we want to be financially prepared.
Our main revenue sources are memberships and gun shows, and the short time before a possible election reduces our income potential.
Help us to be financially prepared by renewing your 2007 membership. Maybe even throw in a few extra dollars as a donation if you can spare them. Membership is still just $10 a year! Aren't your guns worth it?
Call for Nominations
As per The Sporting Clubs of Niagara constitution, elections for the Executive shall be held each year. The timetable to be followed is outlined below:
August - Call for Nominations
September 13 - Election meeting held
Late September - Elected Executive takes office.
We are issuing an invitation to all year 2006/07 members to submit nominations for the 2006-2007 Executive.
Nominations must be postmarked by Sept. 6, 2006. Nominations must be received in writing. They cannot be received verbally.
Address all nominations to:
THE SPORTING CLUBS
P.O. BOX 21047
ST. CATHARINES, ON
ATTN: EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS
Your Rights are in the Cards!
Our laminated wallet-sized printed cards declaring your right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer when it appears that the police are overstepping their authority when questioning you in dubious circumstances are proving extremely popular (which is a little scary when you think of it).
We are only asking for $1 per card to defray the cost of production. If you want cards mailed to you please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your request.
More info on this is on our website in archived copies of newsletter Vol. 11 #4 and Vol. 12 #1.
New Gun Show Chairman
After several years of running the gun shows, John Orth is taking a break as Gun Show Chairman and has been replaced by Carson Moore. We would like to thank John for all his hard work which contributed greatly towards making our shows successful.
Notice to Gun Show Vendors
re: late arrivals - If you think you are going to be late to the gun show you should call Carson Moore ASAP at the Merritton Community Centre - 905-682-0098 so he can hold your tables. Otherwise, he may rent them to walk-in vendors after the 6:00 p.m. cutoff.
Gun Show Location
Merritton Community Centre, 7 Park Ave., St. Catharines
If you want tables for the Sept. 8/06 show, contact Carson Moore right away at 905-934-6469 Shows usually sell out and often we do not have tables for all our vendors. If you want tables, call early!
Gun Show Dates
Confirmed dates for our 2006 gun shows are as follows:
Trigger Locks for Sale
The Sporting Clubs of Niagara has trigger locks for sale. They aren't fancy and they take a few seconds to put on and take off but they are legal. Locks are only $1.00 each! Pick them up at the club table at the gun show or call any member of the Executive. Large quantities available!
Free Classified Ads for Members
Classified ads for shooting related items are free for members. Please call 905-685-4480 and submit ads by the dates listed for inclusion in the next newsletter:
Vol. 12 #4 Nov. 1, 2006
Vol. 13 #1 Jan. 7, 2007
For Sale: 12,000 Excel 255 gr. FP cast bullets for 45 Long Colt, $35/1000. Good for cowboy action. Call Gerry 905-685-4480
For Sale: Boito 12 ga. O/U, 28", vent rib, I/M chokes, 3", double triggers, rubber butt pad. Some surface pitting on barrels which have been professionally refinished, VG condition, asking $275. Call Gerry 905-685-4480
For Sale: Remington 1100 LT-20, 20 ga., 28", vent rib, modified, 2 3/4", VG condition, asking $375. Call Gerry 905-685-4480
For Sale: Lakefield Mossberg 500, 12 ga., 26", F/M/IC C-Lect polychoke, 3", rubbber butt pad. Barrel exterior was pitted but has been nicely refinished in matte black, VG, asking $200. Call Gerry 905-685-4480
For Sale: Browning Auto-5, Belgian (manufactured in the early 1950's), 12 ga., 29 1/2", full, 2 3/4", bluing wear on the metal and finish wear on the wood but no cracks of major chips, includes a scope mount and a 1" red dot sight. F-G, asking $275. Call Gerry 905-685-4480
For Sale: Ruger M77, 7mm Rem Mag, 24", minor surface rust on barrel, includes a 3-9x32 Bushnell scope, ammo included if purchased locally, G-VG, asking $500. Call Gerry 905-685-4480
TSCON Web Site
All our newsletters as well as other interesting and informative information are available on our web site:
Comments or suggestions?? Call John at 905-562-7686
General 905-685-4480 or 905-937-2301
Gun Show 905-934-6469
Where? St. Catharines Game and Fish Building, next to the boat ramp on Lighthouse Road in Port Dalhousie.
When? Wednesdays, 7:00 pm.
Who? Members and non-members alike are welcome to attend.
Moved, Address Changes, Etc.
To notify us of address changes, duplicate mailings, to be removed from the mailing list or to request a copy of the newsletter call 905-685-4480.
Quote of the Month
"A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares about more than his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - J.S. Mill
Buy, Sell or Trade, 100+ tables of Antique and Modern Firearms, Knives, Hunting Accessories and Gun Parts
For tables or information call:
Carson @ 905-934-6469