The Sporting Clubs of
Volume 15, Number 3 August 2009
If I were a real optimist I would claim that I am becoming clairvoyant. Realistically however, I am probably just becoming an old guy who repeats himself a lot.
In either case, while a year has passed very little has changed as far as Canada's political landscape is concerned. In fact it was in issue 3 of last year's newsletter that I wrote "It seems that in every President's Message I talk about the possibility of a looming federal election and this is no exception."
Despite the fact that less than eleven months have passed since the last general election, I find myself once again addressing that possibility and there is excellent chance that we are going to be going down that expensive road once again.
While Canada has probably weathered the recession better than any other developed nation we are still cursed with politicians who see political opportunism as more important than the welfare of the country's citizens.
It is for that reason that Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe could very well engineer the downfall of the Conservatives and send us back to the polls for the third time since 2006.
The general consensus seems to be that the recession is winding down and Ignatieff knows that as the economy improves his chances of being Prime Minister become more remote. For this reason he may well roll the dice and hope to steal an election victory before the economic recovery is in full swing.
While the Liberals cannot engineer the government's fall by themselves it is very possible that Layton and Duceppe (Canada's versions of 'useful idiots') will support them just to show that they are not completely politically impotent.
Of course this plan is not without its risks. Despite the slumping production and rising unemployment, recent polls still show the Conservatives holding a small lead over the Liberals, no mean feat considering the state of the economy. If Ignatieff gambles on forcing an election and loses, the odds are pretty good that his political career is toast. In fact, doubts have already begun to surface about his political acumen. Prior to Ignatieff's June bluster about forcing a summer election the Liberals had actually moved ahead of the Conservatives in the polls but that lead evaporated when it became obvious he was bluffing. In addition, Ignatieff has become the invisible man during the summer, not the best strategy for someone aspiring to lead the country.
Of course all of this would just be comic opera except that as gun owners we have a huge amount to lose should Iggy and his gun hating friends gain power. It is a sure bet that at a minimum, bans on handguns and assault rifle lookalikes are in their plans now. And even if the Liberals only win a minority government it is certain that the NDP and Bloc will support them in whatever gun control schemes they hatch so this, like the previous two elections, could be make or break for us.
All we can do now is wait to see who backs down in this political game of chicken.
Meanwhile on the legislative side the things the issue is more confusing than ever but I will try to explain the present situation later in the newsletter. Suffice to say that it is a mess, plain and simple, not because nothing is happening but because too much is happening and it is making it hard for MPs and people in general to get a grip on the situation.
I am also including updates on Bruce Montague's case, the extension of several firearm amnesties, the 12/6 handgun challenge and a scary story that will (further) shake your confidence in the legal system, if that is possible.
As a final note, this is the one newsletter that goes out not just to our members but to everyone on our mailing list (over 5700 households). If you are not a current member, think about joining us. The cost is only $10 a year (the same as it was when we started in 1995). Because of member support we have, over the years, been able to assist literally hundreds of gun owners with legal problems and other inquiries and with your assistance we will be continue to do so.
Oh, what a tangled web...
In the last newsletter we outlined the key points of Bill C-301, the private member's bill put forward by MP Garry Breitkreuz that would have, among other things, scrapped the long gun registry. There was not a single item in that bill that would have decreased public safety but with a fervour that made the Communist witch hunts of the 1950's look like a birthday party some opposition MPs dredged up outlandish assertions that would have been laughable if they weren't such blatant lies. Claims that people would be toting machine guns through school yards and other such tripe were flying fast and furious. The fact that the PM's office appeared to be pressuring Garry to make changes to the bill didn't help things go any smoother.
Then out of the clear blue another bill to scrap the gun registry (S-5) appeared from, of all places, the Senate. It was however, simply a rehash of Bill C-21 which was introduced in 2007. It gave FAR to much power to provincial CFOs and in reality just swapped one federal registry for 13 provincial/territorial ones. Why this was brought forward is still something of a mystery. No one on either side supported it and thankfully it has faded away.
Then in early May a third bill (C-391) surfaced. It was also a private member's bill, this one sponsored by Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner. Unlike Bill C-301, it was much narrower in scope, simply stating that it would scrap the long gun registry. This appears to have been done deliberately as some opposition MPs who had indicated that they opposed the registry refused to endorse C-301 because of some of the other items it contained. Since C-391 was brought forward sonewhere between two and five NDP MPs have stated that they would support it.
The story doesn't end there, however. In late June the opposition members of a Commons subcommittee that determines which bills should go before Parliament secretly attempted to stop Bill C-391 from coming into the House of Commons, fearing it might have enough votes to pass. Their plan was to kill the bill behind closed doors at an in camera (closed) meeting of the subcommittee. This strategy hit a snag when the committee met in open session. The Liberal, Bloc and NDP MPs did not read the notice of the meeting and assumed it was in camera, and therefore stated openly that they had no basis, under the standing orders, to deem the bill non votable.. When the opposition members finally became aware the vote was being taken public, they halted the vote half way through and forced it into a closed meeting.
That has left the bill in limbo, but if an election is not called there is an excellent chance it will come forward in the fall session of Parliament. Should that happen, because the bill has a limited scope it has a better than average chance of passing. Dismantling the long gun registry would be a big step in the strategy to eventually see the entire Firearms Act scrapped.
In an effort to drum up support for C-391, Candice Hoeppner's office has sent out a petition to gather signatures of persons urging the government to scrap the long gun registry. Unfortunately the signed sheets have to be returned to her office by Sept. 8 so we will not be able to gather signatures at the September gun show. However, we are distributing them to local gun clubs, gun shops and gun shows. If you want copies call 905-685-4480 and we will get them to you. They require no postage to mail in.
Current Amnesty Extended to May 16, 2010
Just before the last newsletter went to press we received notice that the expiry date for the amnesties for unregistered long guns and expired POLs and PALs was likely going to be extended to May 16, 2010. Those extensions have now been confirmed.
We have printed the content of the amnesties in the past couple of newsletters and they are available on our website. However, if you have any questions you can always call TSCON for further information.
Bruce Montague Update
Bruce's case is now entering its fifth year and there is still some time to go before it is resolved. It is a tribute to their commitment that Bruce and his wife Donna have been able to maintain their stamina and sanity throughout this ordeal and we should remember that they are doing this not just for themselves but on behalf of all Canadian gun owners.
Just because not much information has come out recently does not mean that things are not happening, however.
First of all, to protect the integrity of the case Bruce has to be careful what information he makes public as you can rest assured it is being monitored by the Crown.
Second, the judicial system moves at glacier speed so delays like this are not at all unusual.
At the moment most of the work on the case is paperwork being done "behind the scenes". Bruce has let us know that his case management team and lawyer have been working very hard over the past six months in preparation for the Ontario Court of Appeals hearing. This preparation is technically called "perfecting the appeal" and it involves making many books containing thousands of pages (that probably won't even get read by anyone). We can assure you, however, that Bruce is extremely thankful for all the support, both moral and financial, that he has received to date.
It is expected that Bruce's appeal should be "perfected" by Sept. 24, 2009 at which time the courts will be able to set a time for the appeal to be heard. He expects this to be sometime this coming winter. Bruce notes that if you are in the Toronto area during the hearing it would be great if you could come out and witness this historic fight for our rights. As soon as the appeal date is set we will let publish it.
We encourage you to send Bruce a donation in whatever amount you can spare. Make cheques payable as follows (please note the new address):
"Bruce Montague Scrap C-68 Fund" c/o Roger Nordlund, Trustee
RR#2 Site 211 Box 7 Dryden, ON P8N 2Y5
More information on Bruce's court case and
constitutional challenge is available at:
Bruce is always grateful for the support he receives. If you want to drop him a note to let him know you appreciate what he is doing for gun owners he can be reached at: Bruce Montague
RR2 Site 216 Box 46 Dryden, ON P8N 2Y5
Speaking of justice moving at glacier speed, the 12/6 handgun case continues to drag along. At a long awaited court hearing in May it was expected that the case might be finally be resolved but for some reason the judge unexpectedly delayed it until Jan. 2010. We will continue to pass on information as it becomes available.
Everything in this story is true although names have been omitted for obvious reasons.
I was away in the U.S. for a few days last April and when I returned my wife informed me that I had received a call from a gentleman who had encountered a gun related problem. He was not a member of TSCON and had, in fact, found out about us in an internet search.
This fellow lives with a woman and her adult son. One day he was lying on the couch in their residence when the woman=s son attacked him. In the attack he was beaten about the head and received several facial cuts. He called the police to report the incident and they came to investigate. The son was charged with assault and placed in custody.
The victim owns two non-restricted firearms and he was concerned about them being in the house when the son returned so he asked the investigating officer if it would be possible for the police to hold the guns until the issue was resolved. The officer then asked to see the guns whereupon the victim took him to where they were located in the house. To the victim=s shock the officer then charged him with unsafe storage and took him into custody.
(Just to assert the facts the victim had a valid firearms licence, the guns were registered, they were not in proximity to ammunition and were properly secured with trigger locks). Before taking the victim to jail, however, the officer offered to drop the charges if the victim agreed to not pursue the assault charge, still can't figure out what one had to do with the other either.)
Upon his release from jail the victim contacted a lawyer who advised him to plead guilty to the unsafe storage charge despite the fact that it was obviously bogus. Fortunately he did not take the lawyer's incredibly bad advice.
It was at this point that he hit the internet and found TSCON and the NFA.
As we do in all cases like this we first advised him to find a lawyer who has a clue about firearms law and also provided him with the sections of the Firearms Act dealing with safe storage which clearly showed he was not guilty.
Fortunately the story has a somewhat happy ending for the victim. Several weeks later he was contacted by the Crown prosecutor who, unlike the police officer, had apparently actually read the Firearms Act and was told that the charges had been dropped and that he could retrieve his firearm from the police.
There are several valuable lessons to be learned from this incident:.
1. Sadly, this is not the first case of this sort that we have police officers are woefully ignorant.
2. Immediately invoke your right to silence. Say nothing until you have consulted a lawyer.
3. Find a lawyer who knows firearms law. Most of them don't and because of that will give you bad advice and then charge you for it. We know of several cases where lousy lawyers incorrectly advised clients to plead guilty.
4.Keep the phone numbers of TSCON, the NFA and the CSSA handy and immediately consult them before proceeding further. Often they can provide you with the information needed to prove your innocence. At the very least you will be directed to a lawyer who knows firearm law. Remember, once you plead guilty to a firearm charge (even if you were innocent) the chances are excellent that you will lose your firearms and will be permanently denied a firearms licence.
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 Newsletter - Call for Nominations September 16 - Election meeting held September 23 - Elected Executive takes office. We are issuing an invitation to all year 2009/10 members to submit nominations for the 2009-2010 Executive. Nominations must be postmarked by Sept. 9, 2009. Nominations must be received in writing. They cannot be received verbally. Address all nominations to: THE SPORTING CLUBS OF NIAGARA P.O. BOX 21047 ST. CATHARINES, ON L2M 7X2 ATTN: EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS
If you received a 2010 membership card in this mailing or if your mailing label has no date or reads '08' or earlier you are NOT A PAID UP MEMBER OF TSCON. Non-members receive only one newsletter a year. Can you afford to be uninformed about the firearm issue? Not if you care about your guns, you can't! Please take the time to renew right now. Maybe even throw in a few extra dollars as a donation if you can spare them.
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.
We have received a new supply of "The Sporting Clubs of Niagara" t-shirts, sweat shirts and hats (hats available in 4 colours). They are good quality and available in a variety of sizes and designs. Get them while the supply lasts. Prices as follows: T-shirts M-XL$16, XXL$18, Sweats - M-XL$25, XXL$27. Hats w/TSCON crest $15 TSCON crest alone $6 Buy them 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
Please remember to wear red on Fridays to show your support for our troops.
Gun Show Location
Merritton Community Centre, 7 Park Ave., St. Catharines If you want tables for the Sept. 11/09 show, contact Rick McConnery right away(905-227-0724). 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 2009 gun shows are as follows: Sept. 11, Dec. 11
Notice to Gun Show Vendors
Late arrivals - If you think you are going to be late to the gun show you should call Rick McConnery ASAP at the Merritton Community Centre (905-682-0098) so he can hold your tables. Otherwise, he will 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. 15 #4 Nov. 10, 2009 >Vol. 16 #1 Jan. 15, 2010 Remember that you have to call each time you want the ad run. It WILL NOT be repeated without your confirmation.
Winchester Model 9422, .22LR, big loop model, VG, asking $325
Ruger Single Six revolver (3 screw model), .22LR, blued, 12" barrel, good, asking $400
Daisy VL caseless ammo rifle, collectible, .22LR, fair, best offer
Daisy Powerline Model .45, .177 cal. pellet pistol, good, $25 Call Mike 905-945-1961
Lee Enfield Jungle Carbine, .303 cal., with Tasco scope, 10 shot, VG, $450
Marlin Semi auto rifle, .22 rimfire, 15 shot tubular magazine, VG-EX, $180
Call John 905-935-0796
Barnett Thunderbolt crossbow, includes silver Tasco ProPoint red dot scope, bolts, field tips, etc., VG-EX, asking $200
Call Gerry 905-685-4480, member of the Executive. Large quantities available!
General 905-685-4480 or 905-937-2301
Gun Show 905-227-0724
St. Catharines, ON
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.
" No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. - Thomas Jefferson" Mahatma Gandhi
DRAW PRIZE WINNERS
The following members are winners in our latest draw. Call Gerry at 905-685-4480 to arrange to claim your prize.
Winner Prize Donated By
Stefan Wieclawek (St. Catharines) TSCON T-shirt The Sporting Clubs of Niagara
Glen Gilmore (Wainfleet) Gun Cleaning Kit The Sporting Clubs of Niagara
Lawrence Kirkham (Ridgeway) Pocket Knife The Sporting Clubs of Niagara
John Nagy (Grimsby) Free PAL Test (transferrable) Firearms Education School (John Kellaway)
Friday, Sept. 11, 2009, 6:00-10:00 pm
Merritton Community Centre
7 Park Ave., St. Catharines
Buy, Sell or Trade, 100+ tables of Antique and Modern Firearms, Knives, Hunting Accessories and Gun Parts
For tables or information call Rick @ 905‑227‑0724
“Remember Bill C-68 When You Vote”