Hello everyone and Happy New Year. Let me begin by saying a big "Thank you" to all those members who in the past year invested their time and effort writing letters and sending e-mails, making phone calls and personally visiting MPs to let them know about your concerns.
We now have a government in power that appears to be at least somewhat interested in addressing the legitimate problems gun owners face thanks to the horrendous mismanagement of the firearm issue by the Liberals. It is a refreshing change to go to local MP's offices these days and get a welcome response rather than the "Why are you wasting my time?" attitude that Liberal MP's seemed to specialize in.
Other significant steps taken by the Conservatives included the amnesty for unregistered long guns and unlicenced owners, the formation of the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee (on which two TSCON members currently sit) which for a change is made up of pro-gun rather than anti-gun individuals, and the introduction of Bill C-21 which makes an attempt (although flawed) at dismantling the long gun registry.
The biggest problem faced by the Conservative Party is the minority government situation which has stalled any real legislative changes to the Firearms Act, a situation which can be rectified with the election of a majority Conservative government.
While one can never be sure of the timing it is almost a certainty that there will be another election within the year. While it seems that we say every election is the most important one, it is truer than ever this time. If the Conservatives win a majority there will be no excuse for them to avoid a major re-write of Canada's firearm laws. If the Liberals get back in it will only be a matter of time before gun ownership in this country is a thing of the past (see the story on Resolution 42). Let's be ready to support the party that supports us and is not going to waste more money or effort on the on the Firearms Act.
Good luck and & good hunting in 2007.
We have been fighting the battle against the Firearms Act for over 12 years now and yet incredibly we still encounter gun owners who are not yet convinced of the true motives of the Liberal Party as regards firearms. They are the gun owners who say "Registration isn't a bad idea", yet can't tell you what good it does. Even worse are the holier-than-thou types who spout the Liberal mantra "who needs a (pick one) machine gun, assault rifle, handgun, etc., since THEY don't own one.
Well for those people for whom reality still hasn't yet set in let us introduce you to the latest bit of Liberal wisdom which was passed at their leadership convention in Dec. 2006 titled "Liberal Party Policy Section 42 (Semi-automatic and automatic firearms)".
"Whereas automatic and semi-automatic firearms are illegal for hunting purposes. Whereas automatic and semi-automatic firearms do not support the hunting culture found in all parts of Canada. Be it resolved that the Liberal Party of Canada urge the government of Canada to support legislation to eliminate the personal use of automatic and semi-automatic firearms."
Yes, that's right folks, Liberal party policy advocates the banning of all semi-automatic firearms. And we're not talking just semi-auto assault rifles or pistols. We're talking Remington 1100 skeet guns and Model 7400 deer rifles, Beretta 391 hunting shotguns, Cooey Model 64 22's, and every other semi-auto in Canada. In their anti-gun hysteria (and I can't think of a better word to describe it) The Liberal Party of Canada ignored such basic facts as:
1. There have been severe restrictions (including a ban) on both the possession and use of automatic firearms in Canada since 1978. Current legislation prevents the owners from even taking these firearms to the gun range to shoot and that an individual who owns one of these firearms needs a special permit to transport it anywhere.
2. Waterfowl and upland bird hunters, big game and small game hunters, farmers, skeet and trap shooters and rifle and handgun target shooters all use semi-automatics to safely and legally to pursue their lifestyle.
Don't own a semi-auto and think this won't affect you? Check the Australian situation where they also banned pump action guns. Anyone who thinks the Liberals would not try the same thing here really needs to seek professional help.
Make no mistake about it - the Liberals are after ALL of the guns, folks. It is up to you to stop them.
As noted in the previous newsletter Bruce Montague's constitutional challenge to The Firearms Act has been delayed till the week of March 12, 2007. In what is turning out to be a never-ending saga of bureaucratic incompetence, the latest bit of government nonsense was their insistence that they interview all the witnesses involved before they could proceed with the Charter hearing. They even challenged the qualifications of two of Bruce's expert witnesses. This might be understandable if the witnesses were of dubious quality but this was not the case, however. They were, in fact, Professor Gary Mauser who has probably written more extensively about Canadian firearms legislation than anyone in Canada and NFA President Dave Tomlinson who arguably is more familiar with the contents of the Firearms Act than anyone else in the country (lawyers and judges included). After two days of testimony the government lawyers were forced to concede that both were, in fact, experts and their testimony will be heard at the trial. We are not sure whether these lawyers are just stupid (a distinct possibility) or if these antics are a stalling tactic designed to drain Bruce's financial resources (also a distinct possibility). Remember, the government has your money to spend on this case so finances don't worry them. The longer the case drags on the more financial assistance Bruce needs. Remember that if he wins we all win (big time!) 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
More information on Bruce's court challenge is available at:
Bruce's team has also produced a series of short video clips dealing with our rights as they pertain to his case. Featuring his daughter Katey. They can be viewed at:
Firearms Advisory Committee
The Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee will be meeting again in early February, 2007. As more information about recommendations and directions the committee is going in becomes available we will provide it to you.
While we might have a new government, the bureaucrats at the Canadian Firearm Centre continue to operate as if the Liberals were still in charge. We have heard of many instances where people receive letters threatening to have the police confiscate their firearms because their licence had lapsed. If you get one of these letters, contact us immediately so that we can provide you with up-to-date information on how to handle it.
One area where we are very unhappy with the Conservatives is their handling of the 12/6 handgun court challenges. Despite claiming to be on our side the government is continuing to pursue the confiscation of these legally owned firearms through the courts, again at considerable expense to taxpayers. Cases that were supposed to be heard in February have now been delayed till July.
All this would go away if the government would simply enact an Order-In-Council to continue to grandfather the individuals involved but to date they have failed to do so. This is one issue that you should bring up next time you talk to your MP.
It appears that Bill C-21, which was intended to eliminate the long gun registry, is dead in the water. While no official statement has been made to that effect there has been no attempt by the Conservatives to bring it to the floor of Parliament for a vote. Our sources tell us that the government might have enough votes to pass it but only by a margin of one or two and they would have to trust opposition members to vote for the bill, something that is never a sure thing. We view these developments with mixed feelings. Any pro-gun bill that is passed is a plus for us. However, as written C-21 is a bad bill which creates great potential for abuse by anti-gun provincial governments like Ontario. In some provinces it could have ended up being worse than the current system. In reality we could be better off if it is abandoned and re-written without the problems it creates in its present form.
Myths Surrounding The Dawson College Tragedy
(with thank to CSSA)
Myth #1: Semi-automatics firearms are more dangerous than other guns.
False. Semi-automatic firearms are popular with many responsible Canadian gun owners because they offer reliability, accuracy, and durability. No real functional difference exists between semi-automatic rifles and shotguns commercially available today and any other type of action commercially available before 1910. The deaths that would have occurred with any hunting firearm designed to take game animals would have far exceeded the one death caused by firing numerous shots with a low-powered target firearm.
Myth #2: Cancelling the long gun registry will negatively affect pubic safety and will allow more tragic events to take place.
False. The long gun registry had no relevance in the shooting at Dawson College. The firearms used were "restricted" and are not affected by either the current government amnesty or the proposed legislative changes to the long gun registry. Under the proposed Bill C-21, the registry of restricted firearms is to remain intact and continue in operation. The elimination of the long gun registry will only eliminate the useless lists of non-restricted firearms, not the licensing where continuous verification is most important. NOTE: The proposed Bill does not affect the licensing system. The holder of a firearms licence will still be known to the police. The police will still know whether a firearm is at a particular location by virtue of the fact that a resident has a licence.
Myth #3: The licensing system screens out all dangerous individuals
False. The screening of applicants for a firearms license involves a record check for prior criminal charges or convictions and a screening for public safety issues. Only occasionally are the references interviewed or calls made to family members or employers if the license application indicates more investigation. The system was designed to eliminate undesirables from obtaining firearms and cannot predict the future misuse of firearms by deranged individuals without additional techniques not currently envisaged. Examination of questionable individuals, initiated only after the Dawson College incident, are an example.
Myth #4: Police are powerless to remove firearms after a threat has been identified
False. Once an individual has been identified as a possible threat to public safety, even though a criminal act that has not yet been committed, the police have full authority to suspend a firearms license, seize the firearms and apply for a prohibition order, even based on hearsay evidence. If the police had been aware of the comments made on the website prior to the Dawson shootings, they would have had full authority to act.
Myth #5: The Beretta CX4 Storm is a high powered assault rifle and should be banned.
False. The Beretta CX4 Storm is a short barrelled civilian target rifle and is not used by any military in the world. It fires small pistol cartridges. Since it has a 16" barrel, it is deemed a "restricted" firearm and carries the same requirements for licensing and transport as a handgun. It can only be legally fired at an approved shooting range. A ban on this particular firearm due to the criminal misuse by one disturbed individual would be an ineffective, expensive knee-jerk reaction serving no public safety purpose.
Myth #6: Firearms owners should submit to psychological testing before being approved for a firearms license.
False. There are over 2 million licensed firearms owners in Canada. To test each and every one of these individuals would be insulting, prohibitively expensive and, ultimately, unnecessary as it is done at a particular point in time, and has little bearing on the future events that shape each person. Proper screening during the application process with continuous eligibility checks can be more than sufficient to weed out the criminal and irresponsible.
Myth #7: Guns should be centrally stored at gun ranges which will prevent firearms from being used in acts of random violence by their owners.
False. Central storage of firearms would be an irresistible magnet to criminals and terrorists. Most gun clubs and shooting ranges do not posses adequate security and the costs involved to set up such a program would be astronomical. There are estimated to be 15 million firearms in Canada. It will be physically impossible to store every one in secure, centralized locations. Without doubt, many more tragedies will occur if criminal "shopping malls" such as central storage locations are ever legislated.
Myth #8: A ban on all firearms would stop massacres such as this and protect the public against criminal use of firearms.
False. Firearms are very prevalent in our society and have proven to be a benefit to society. There are estimated to be up to 15 million firearms in Canada, owned by and estimated 5 million responsible individuals. To seize their property and restrict their freedoms due to the criminal use of a very small number is a violation of the rights of all Canadians. Similar programs in Britain and Australia proved to be prohibitively expensive and counterproductive -- their crime rates with firearms increased dramatically after their buy-back programs. It is estimated that a similar buyback programme in Canada would cost at least $2 billion not counting loss of businesses and employee buy-outs. Proponents of a complete ban state that if it saves one life, the cost is worth it but these billions of dollars have the potential to save thousands of lives if directed to areas such as medical research, increased police resources, etc.
Myth #9: We must toughen our guns laws to prevent an incident like this from happening again.
False. Although this incident was very tragic, random violence is rare in Canada. Many experts have opined that government cannot legislate against the insane acts of a disturbed mind. It is an axiom that enacting laws in the height of emotion creates bad law. That has been proven with the grossly expensive and ineffective firearms control measures enacted after the 1989 shootings at l'Ecole Polytechnique. Current firearms legislation enacted in C-68 was designed to fail since it was announced. It was based on control of legitimate firearms owners instead of criminals, as borne out in the December 2002 Auditor General's report. The time has come to re-examine our preoccupation with the regulation of inanimate objects and focus on the root causes of such destructive behaviour. True experts in the field confirm this as the best approach.
Happy 90th Tom!
We want to wish a very happy 90th birthday to Executive Director Tom Thorpe who we believe to be our oldest member. Tom is not slowing down, however. He celebrated this milestone by applying for his PAL renewal. Way to go Tom!
All 2006 memberships expired on Dec. 31/2006. If you received a 2007 membership card in this mailing or if your mailing label reads "06" or earlier you are not a paid up member for 2007. Please take the time to renew right now.
Help us to be financially prepared for the next election 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?
Your Rights are in the Cards!
We continue to hear horror stories of police abusing their powers when dealing with firearm owners including one incident where a police officer parked outside a gun club and pulled over a member leaving the club for no reason except that there might be firearms in the car (after all it was a GUN club). 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.
Our supply of "The Sporting Clubs of Niagara" t-shirts, sweat shirts and hats has been depleted but we have more on the way. They will be of good quality and available in a variety of sizes and designs at the following prices:
T-shirts M-XL $16
T-shirts XXL $18
Sweats - M-XL $20
Sweats XXL $22
Hats with TSCON crest $15
TSCON crest alone $6.
Order yours at the gun show or from any member of the Executive.
TSCON Web Site
All our newsletters as well as other interesting and informative information are available on our web site: http://www.vaxxine.com/scon
Comments or suggestions?? Call John at 905-562-7686
Confirmed dates for our 2007 gun shows are as follows:
Gun Show Location
Merritton Community Centre, 7 Park Ave., St. Catharines
If you want tables for the Feb. 16/07 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!
Notice to Gun Show Vendors
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.
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. 13 #2 April 6, 2007
Vol. 13 #3 Aug. 10, 2007
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!
General 905-685-4480 or 905-937-2301
Gun Show 905-934-6469
St. Catharines, ON
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
"We don't let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns?" - Joseph Stalin
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