It is with great sadness that I report that on February 28, 1999 TSCON Vice-President Jim Finley passed away after a hard fought battle with cancer. Jim was a founding member of "The Sporting Clubs of Niagara". His encyclopedic knowledge of gun control and flair for remembering quotes and figures was astounding! Jim's gentlemanly way and dedication to procedure set an early example for efficiency and decorum that continues at all TSCON meetings to this day. Jim was a driving force for freedom and common sense. He will be missed but not forgotten.
For those of you who were angered and disappointed at the Provincial Government for caving to the Greens and banning the spring bear hunt (see following article in this issue), I would like to remind you that the Harris Tories are still our ONLY FRIENDS at the provincial level. NO OTHER PARTY exists in Ontario to protect gun owners and hunters. If anybody other than the Tories form the next Provincial Government then the decay and destruction of our rights will occur at an even faster rate.
On a more positive note: our highly successful Gun Show will continue! The Justice Department is still not be able to get their Gun Show Regulations off the ground. This is the sixth delay. They can only unconvincingly say they will be ready "sometime in the Fall...". Also, 2nd Vice-President Paul Blushak has taken over stewardship of the gun show from John Orth who has stepped down due to other commitments. Our next show will be Friday, April 9, 6:00-10:00 P.M. at the C.A.W. Hall in St.Catharines. See you there!
This is my last message to you as President of TSCON. It has been my pleasure to serve as President for the past two years. I have one last thing to say (again): If you have not already done so, get off your ass to save your guns and your hunting sports before it is too late! If not you, who? If not now, when? Come out to a meeting. If you are too busy, then send money. BUT DO SOMETHING! It is one thing to lose your rights after having at least TRIED to save them. BUT IT IS UNFORGIVABLE TO JUST LET THEM RUST AND WITHER AWAY!
John A. Gayder
More On the Spring Bear Hunt Ban
As many of you are aware, the Ontario Conservative government recently banned the spring bear hunt in response to a very expensive campaign conducted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). They did this despite the fact that there is no conclusive evidence as to how many bear cubs are really orphaned each year when female bears are mistakenly killed. IFAW did an excellent job of distorting (lying about?) some very rudimentary research that in no way made accurate estimates of possible orphans.
Putting IFAW's slimy tactics aside, I have found the response of some gun owners and hunters rather naive. Many have stated that they don't find bear-baiting and tree stand hunting sporting and so do not object to the ban. These people should keep in mind that it is exactly this attitude that groups like IFAW try to cultivate. If you think IFAW will stop now that they have achieved the spring hunt ban I have some good lakefront property in the Sahara to sell you. Knowing they cannot achieve their goals all at once these groups move forward in small steps. Next to come under attack will be game farms, then hunting with dogs, then hunting with decoys (can't take advantage of stupid ducks), then camouflage clothing, then large gauge shotguns, then guns altogether, then bows, etc. etc. etc. In the end you will be left with the option of throwing (small calibre) rocks at your favourite game. Get the picture!!
Notice that in this strategy these groups never give up anything. They don't swap the bear hunt for, let's say, handgun hunting, which could be legalized. Their method is simply take, take, take until we have nothing left to give up. Then they have won and you are left to pursue tiddlywinks or stamp collecting.
And just so you non-hunters don't get comfortable, the next target for these groups is fishing. Organizations like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are already calling for a ban on sport fishing. There have been many documented cases of these groups harassing hunters and fisherman, some even in the local area.
Just remember this; before you condemn the (law-abiding) activities of others, stop and consider that your hunting activity may be next down the line, and by the time that happens the people you didn't support won't be around to support you.
Firearms Act Still Off to a Shaky Start
Reports continue to surface of long telephone delays while waiting on the phone to speak with the Canadian Firearms Centre. Even worse, stories of conflicting answers to questions continue! Ask a question one day and get answer "A", call again tomorrow and get answer "B"! The CFC's assertion that they have already had success in "blocking firearms sales to criminals" is baloney. There is not a shred of hard data to prove it. But then again, since their complicated and often contradictory law makes it almost impossible for ANYBODY, including legitimate sportsmen, to transfer a firearm - maybe that's what they mean.
Delays in the CFC's ability to register firearms at the point of sale have caused them to implement an illegal "workaround" or "patch". When buying a firearm you will now be given a Transfer Authorization Number (TAN) over the phone so you can take possession of your purchase. Warning: This procedure is illegal! There is NO basis for it in law. They have pulled it out of thin air to hide the fact that the Firearms Act is a poorly written and unworkable mess. If you take possession of a firearm based on their having given you a TAN, you have left yourself open to criminal charges! Would they actually charge you? You decide.... Remember, there is no "statute of limitations" for criminal charges in Canada. You could be charged for this offense 20 years from now.
NOTE - We have just been informed that all crossbow licensing procedures have been put off indefinitely. Big surprise!
TSCON Going to the Supreme Court
Yes ma'Lordship, I say it is true! TSCON has joined a coalition of mostly western Canadian sporting organizations going to the Supreme Court as Intervenors against the Firearms Act. Our reason for doing so was based on the concern that although most of the Provincial Governments are fighting C-68, they are doing so strictly on the basis of Provincial jurisdiction. Although they correctly feel the Firearms Act intrudes on their right to regulate private property as guaranteed in the BNA Act, it is unlikely they will challenge the fact that the law was passed based on all kinds of shamelessly false information. Remember the fudged RCMP statistics? That is where CORFOS comes in! The Coalition Of Responsible Firearm Owners and Sportsmen will mount a challenge based on showing that the law has been passed based on falsehoods and innuendo.
Supreme Court cases cost money, folks! If you can, please send us a donation for this exciting and worthwhile effort. Send your cheque or money order clearly marked "SCC Case" to our address or contact any member of the TSCON Executive.
New Local Firearms Officer
Locally, the Niagara Regional Police Service have chosen Constable Mike McAllister as their new Firearms Officer. He has recently returned from extensive training in the administration of the Firearms Act.
Mike is known for being fair, and a gentleman of good humour. He has the difficult job of trying to make the complicated and insulting Firearms Act work here in Niagara.
We urge readers to treat Mike with respect and courtesy. He is aware the Firearms Act is not popular. Do not take your frustrations out on him for the mistakes, flaws and shortcomings of the Firearms Act and its attendant bureaucracy, but rather take your insult and frustration out in the next election. Use firmness and tact to ensure that your rights are respected, and that the complex procedures found in the Firearms Act are followed in a timely fashion. Mike can be reached at (905)-688-4111 extension 3302 and would be pleased to answer any questions you have about the Firearms Act.
"You can be sure to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" - Ben Franklin
Gun Loss Advisory
This is another in the continuing series of "Gun Loss Advisory" notices provided to us by Mr. Edward Burlew, a lawyer from Thornhill, Ontario who specializes in firearms law and is an active shooter.
Police are now laying charges in situations that most hunters believe is safe storage
Mr. Hunter took several guns with him hunting. He kept them in his pickup bed. The guns were cased, covered, but not trigger-locked and not locked in hard cases. Ammunition was carried in the bed and in an unlocked box. The pickup bed was covered with a locked cap, bolted down and an additional wire and lock held the cap door closed in addition to the lock. Mr. Hunter slept in a hotel. During the night thieves broke the cap door off at the hinges. The lock held fast and two guns were stolen.
The police arrested the thieves, impounded Mr. Hunter's truck without a warrant and seized his remaining guns and ammunition. Mr. Hunter faces criminal charges of unsafe storage of guns and ammunition and unsafe transportation for leaving his guns unattended. The police say he should have had trigger locks or locked hard cases and the ammunition should have been in a locked box.
This may sound ridiculous to you. Mr. Hunter has a good defence and should be found not guilty. The police say "let the judge decide". Mr. Hunter's guns are seized until trial. He must hire a lawyer and travel from home to the court where the theft took place. The trial will be nine months after his truck was broken into. This is not fair but it is true. This happened in September 1998. Names are changed, the essential facts are true.
Protect yourself from this type of police harassment.
If you leave your gun in your vehicle, trigger lock it, action lock it or take the bolt out and lock the bolt up. Keep your ammunition in a locked box. This is beyond what the law requires but do this to avoid becoming a test case for the police to see how far they can push the law.
This charge was laid under Bill C-17 as passed by the Conservative government under Prime Minister Kim Campbell. Bill C-68 will make this more stringent. Every year, over 3,500 Ontario residents are convicted of unsafe storage. Many are innocent but they do not fight a wrongfully laid charge. Most charges can be fought. Do not plead guilty. Do not surrender your rights without a fight. Do not make statements to the police after your arrest. Call a lawyer, get advice. Better yet, put an extra trigger lock on your gun and a lock on your ammo box. That is a lot cheaper than a lawyer.
NOTE - Mr. Burlew has written two other excellent advisories, "No Warrant, No Entry" and "Your Right to Silence - Duct Tape is Your Friend". However, they are too lengthy to run them in the newsletter. However, copies are available at the Gun Show or call any member of the Executive.
Some Thoughts on Wills
Make sure you have a valid will. Get one today if you don't. We are hearing horror stories of people who die without wills and then the police wrongly confiscate their firearms from the family of the deceased. The National Firearms Association has an excellent pamphlet entitled "Firearms and Inheritance" which spells out exactly what the police can and cannot do with your firearms after your death. Protect your firearms! Contact any member of the TSCON executive for your copy to staple to your will.
Right to Privacy - What Does the Government Have on Your File?
Bill C-68 puts a great deal of emphasis on individual record keeping and calls for criminal penalties for incorrect or incomplete paperwork. The current handgun registration system contains, at best guess, a 30 to 40 percent error rate. But these are the records the government will use against you if, for instance, you do not re-register the same number of restricted firearms their computer shows you to own.
Before the 'gun police' come knocking at your door, it may be a good idea to find out exactly what the RCMP has on your record so you can clear up any errors before they become serious.
The best way to accomplish this is through a 'Privacy Act' request. Since the information is personal, they must release it to you and there is no fee involved.
Here is how you go about filing your request. First, you have to determine which department of the government has the information files you wish to access. You then send the request to the Access to Information/Privacy Coordinator. In this case, it would be the RCMP since they control the information under the old (prior to Dec. 1, 1998) registration system. The address should read as follows:
Superintendent Robert Lesser
Coordinator, Access to Information and Privacy
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
2200 Vanier Parkway
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0R2
Next, be sure to include your name, address and phone number.
**Note - Also include your date of birth. The RCMP is returning requests which do not include a date of birth in what appears to be a stall tactic.** They are supposed to respond within 30 days, so keep track of when you mailed your request. In fact, it may be advisable to send the request by registered mail, just in case they should "lose" it.
The wording of the request should be similar to the following:
Under the Privacy Act, I herewith request a copy of any records, data, registration documents and such like that are stored or filed within the RCMP or any sub-agency of the department that specifically relate to firearms of any type that may be registered or recorded in my name.
Where such forearms are recorded, will you please provide a brief description, serial number, make, certificate number and date of record of such information.
This action will allow you to double check their records, correct any errors and ensure you will not be questioned when they get around to comparing their data bases. If thousands of these requests are submitted, it will certainly cause them some grief as well. What a shame.
TSCON has proper forms that are available on request.
This from the Cornwall Standard Freeholder of December 17, 1998. The story described the method used by police to demolish seized firearms.
"Police Destroy Weapons"
By Len Hooper
"Handguns, rifles, shotguns, even a German 9 mm semi-automatic Ruger (Uzi), were sliced up by an electric saw into inch-long pieces to ensure they could never be rebuilt again...or individual pieces used in other weapons."
I have been around all types of firearms for 30 years now, but have never heard of the one described. Thanks to Mr. Doug Pearson of Cornwall for spotting this flub. Your TSCON T-shirt is in the mail.
Have you spotted a story in the media that painfully illustrates how little most journalists actually know about firearms? Send us a copy of it and you may win a free TSCON shirt!
Want to help with projects designed to protect your rights at the local level? Please contact any member of the SCON executive. Our weekly meetings are now being held at the St.Catharines Game and Fish building next to the boat ramp on Lighthouse Road in Port Dalhousie, every Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm. Our thanks go out to the executive of the Game and Fish for making this fine facility available to us.
DO NOT REGISTER UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE: For long guns you now own this is Jan. 1, 2003. The same thing goes for any restricted firearms you now own. You must register any firearm you ACQUIRE after December 1, 1998.
REGISTER ALL FIREARMS AS "FRAME ONLY" OR AS "UNKNOWN": It is extremely dangerous to fill out any data on the application to register a firearm yourself. Have one of the government's "verifiers" do it. Insist they register it as "Frame Only" as barrels, slides, magazines, triggers, sears, safeties, etc. are all uncontrolled spare parts not capable of being registered. You do not have to strip the gun to do this. INSIST and do not be bullied. There is nothing in the new law which says you must. However, you must let the Canadian Firearms Centre know WITHIN 30 DAYS if the gun is ever made to be capable of being fired. 30 days is a long time... Tell them you'll let them know on day 29.
If you are unsure about any of the above information call a member of the SCON Executive and we will explain the procedure.
The onus is on the BUYER to register any firearms acquired after December 1, 1998.
If you wish to buy a gun after December 1, 1998 and then give the government $25 to register it, even though they cannot in all likelihood track this purchase, we suggest you contact the CFC yourself for details how to do it. Many people feel it is stupid to fall all over themselves in a scramble to obey such a complex and contradictory law. If they want you to obey it, they should have made it easier to do so.
All our newsletters as well as other interesting and informative material are available on our web site. We can be reached at:
Comments/suggestions?? Call John at 562-7686
Hey, 1998 Members!
1998 memberships are now expired. Fill in the enclosed card, send in your cheque or money order and continue to help us in the fight to protect your firearm rights.
1) a quarterly newsletter with the latest updates on the firearms issue
2) "members" draw prizes
3) discounted table rates at our gun shows
4) room discounts at the Days Inn hotel in Kingston
5) a free 3 month subscription to the "Canadian Access to Firearms" newspaper
All monies are used locally to protect the interests of local sporting citizens. "Canadian Access to Firearms" Subscription
There has been some confusion regarding this subscription. To avoid having the paper sent to members who do not want it we only request the free subscription if you ask for it. If you are interested please call us and we will add your name to the request list. Also, if you have requested the paper but have not received it, please notify us. We have noticed that our requests tend to be answered sporadically and occasionally we have to ask more than once. It is, however, a very good publication and certainly worth getting.
Free Classified Ads for Members
Members can place free classified ads for shooting and hunting related items. Please submit ads by the following dates to appear in the latest newsletter:
<Vol. 5 #2 May 1/99
<Vol. 5 #3 July 15/99
To place your ad call 685-4480 by the dates shown.
Moved, Address Changes, Etc.
For address changes, duplicate mailings, removal of a name from the mailing list or if you want a newsletter call 685-4480.
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:
March - Call for Nominations to the Executive
Early April - Elections held
Late April - Elected Executive takes office
We are, therefore, issuing an invitation to all 1999 members to submit nominations for the 1999-2000 Executive.
There are 29 positions to be filled on the Executive so you may nominate up to 29 persons who are currently members.
Please mail your nominations to "The Sporting Clubs of Niagara" by March 31, 1999.
Nominations must be received in writing. They cannot be received verbally.
Address the nominations as follows:
THE SPORTING CLUBS OF NIAGARA
P.O. BOX 21047
ST. CATHARINES, ON L2M 7X2
ATTN: EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS
General - 937-2300 685-4480
Memberships - 934-6882
Gun Show - 892-9001
FOR SALE: Mod. 1895 Mannlicher Carbine,
8x56R, exc, $100 or offer; Olympic Arms AR-15, .223, heavy barrel, as new condition, $500; call Gerry 905-685-4480 after 4:00 P.M.
WANTED: Remington 870 pump gun at a reasonable price. Prefer shorter barrel with choke tubes but will consider others; call Gerry 905-685-4480 after 4:00 P.M.
A Word About Our Advertisers
You will notice in each issue a variety of ads from various businesses and individuals. These are all people who have decided, through their advertising dollars, to support our organization.
Some, like John Kellaway, Silverdale Sports Centre and Frontier Gun & Sport have supported us starting with our very first issue over four years ago. Others like Niagara Saw, M & D Sales and Frontier Gun & Sport (again!) also generously donate prizes for our Member-Only draws and door prizes at our gun shows.
Without the financial assistance of our advertisers it would be a much more difficult task to bring you these newsletters which, we hope, provide you with the knowledge to help protect your rights, property and recreational activities.
All of our advertisers are supporters of the shooting sports and we hope you will respond in kind by patronizing their businesses and recommending them whenever possible.
Congratulations to the following members who are winners in our latest draw. Please call Gerry at 685-4480 to arrange to pick up your prize.
Winner Prize Donated By
Kerry Mason 1999 TSCON membership The Sporting Clubs of Niagara
Reg Unruh Stihl pocket knife Niagara Saw
Les Bucher T-Shirt The Sporting Clubs of Niagara
Nick Kaciuba hunting equipment Frontier Gun and Sport
***NOTE***Several previous draw winners have not claimed their prizes. Would you please call 685-4480 so we can arrange for you to receive it.
Don't Give Up!