Volume 5, Number 2 June '99
As the newly elected President of The Sporting clubs of Niagara I would like to extend greetings to you. I am proud to say I have been involved with TSCON since its formation late in 1994 and have seen it grow from a small group of about 15 volunteers to a nationally recognized organization with over 800 members.
This evolution has, in no small part, been due to the fine leadership we have had from our previous Presidents; Ron Penfound, the late and greatly missed Jim Finley and most recently John Gayder, who has greatly expanded our influence by bringing us rapidly into the computer age. They will be a tough act to follow but with your support I hope to continue their work and increase the size and influence of The Sporting Clubs of Niagara.
Just to update you, the Supreme Court challenge, of which we are an official participant, continues to move forward. As we go to press two more participants, New Brunswick and the new Territory of Nunavut have signalled their intention to join the challenge (see complete story further in the newsletter).
We have had several generous donations totalling over $500 to support the challenge so far and if you would like to help out it is not too late to send us a donation for this exciting and worthwhile effort. Mail your cheque or money order clearly marked "SCC Case" to our address or contact any member of the TSCON Executive.
The Firearms Act continues to develop more cracks than the Titanic. In the last week the Canadian, Ontario and Toronto Police Associations have indicated that they will consider withdrawing their support of this very expensive fiasco. It appears that after four years of warnings about the collapse of this seriously flawed legislation people are starting to wise up to its capacity for eating huge sums of money with no tangible positive results.
Two recent local stories drive home the point that we have been making regarding firearm storage for the last couple of years. In both cases the police gained access to homes under rather flimsy pretences (one a concerned citizen "tip" and the other when a fireman notified police after spotting firearms visible in a house). In both cases the offenses were so minimal that the individuals could easily have been let off with warnings. However, given the panic mentality that seems to be rampant with firearms these days both ended up spending time in jail and will now have to go to court. Please, please, please store your guns safely! While many police are sympathetic to firearm owners some are completely clueless about them and will not give you a break. Don't take the chance that you will get a good one. Lock your guns up out of sight and be careful who you let see them. In that same vein, the following article on the "PWEU Squad" is well worth reading.
Let me close by sending out an urgent appeal for assistance. The firearms issue has ballooned and Executive members are getting snowed under trying to cover everything. If you are willing to help we need you. Come out to a meeting and get involved. You won't regret it!
PWEU Squad Resorts to Dirty Tricks
Unable to justify its existence by catching criminals, the PWEU (Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit) Squad has started making them up instead. Readers may recall that in September of 1998 local newspapers reported on a number of arrests that had been made as a result of "Project Pete", a massive undercover firearms operation conducted jointly by the OPP and regional police forces. We have learned the details of two of these arrests.
Dave was a military arms collector and a member of a local gun club. Dave owned an AKS rifle, and when former Justice Minister Kim Campbell added this gun to the restricted weapons list several years ago, he did not register it, but instead hid it in a secure spot at a friend's house.
Apparently, he let the fact that he owned this rifle be known to other gun club members and one of them, let's say his name was Larry, began making repeated attempts to buy it.
Larry continued to pressure Dave to sell the gun every time the two met over a period of six months. Finally, Dave relented and agreed to sell the AKS. Dave was unaware that Larry was a police informant. He was charged and subsequently convicted of selling a prohibited weapon.
The second case (which is still before the courts) also came about as a result of the underhanded tactics of Larry the police informant.
Sam was also a gun club member. He had a shotgun for sale, and Larry, who had a valid FAC, approached him about purchasing this gun. It appears that Larry did not want to buy the gun for himself, but rather for a "friend" of his, a person who did not have an FAC. Sam insisted that he would not sell a firearm to anyone without a valid FAC. He said he would sell the gun to Larry, but not to Larry's "friend".
When the time came to make the actual transaction, all three men were present. It was Larry who produced the valid FAC, but it was his "friend" who produced the money to pay for the gun. Before Sam could hand the gun to Larry (who he believed to be the lawful purchaser), the third man physically snatched it from his hands. This "friend" of Larry's was actually an undercover police officer. Sam was charged with selling a firearm to a person without a valid FAC.
There are lessons to be learned from these cases. First, be careful who you deal with. The police are using the same tactics on gun owners that they use on drug dealers. After a person is charged, they will offer a reduced sentence to him if he will rat on another gun owner. Second, if you are arrested, get a lawyer who specializes in firearms charges. Most local lawyers know SQUAT about the complicated gun laws and will only try to lessen your penalty instead of DEFENDING you. We suggest Toronto area lawyers Ed Burlew and Cal Martin. Say nothing to the police. Also call TSCON and the NFA. If you are an honest guy who has just been caught up in the complex system of firearms law we will put you in touch with the BEST legal counsel available. (If you are a punk who has misused a firearm for an evil purpose we will tell you to go to hell.) We cannot emphasize enough the importance of these calls. Most lawyers are ignorant of gun laws and will take several thousand dollars of your money to do nothing more than arrange a plea bargain. Often, people will be advised to plead guilty, even when the police case is so weak a capable lawyer would have no trouble securing an acquittal.
Finally, we are very interested in learning the details of any arrests that have been made by the PWEU squad. If you have any information regarding cases where this group engaged in entrapment, dirty tricks, or trumped up charges against people who were no threat to society, please contact a member of our executive. We will ensure confidentiality. Some police are picking on ordinary gun owners because they think we are an easier target than the drug posses and armed robbers they are supposed to be chasing. They need to be reminded that armed robbers do not have friends in government, but we do.
New Brunswick to Join Supreme Court Challenge:
(files from the NFA)
The newly elected Progressive Conservative majority government of New Brunswick has pledged to join with other provinces (and TSCON) in challenging the constitutionality of The Firearms Act.
The June 7 victory of the Conservatives marks the end of Liberal rule in that province which had lasted 12 years.
Did C-68 have anything to do with this landslide victory? Well, the Justice Minister, Solicitor-General, Tourism Minister and Natural Resources Minister were all defeated. These represented areas where firearm owners were most affected by the policies of the ousted Liberal government. As a point of interest, over the past seven months, membership in Canada's own National Firearms Association has grown by 66 percent in New Brunswick.
Gun owners CAN and DO make a difference at election time.
Late Breaking News
The new Territorial government of Nunavut has announced that it, too, will join in the challenge to C-68. For those of you who are counting, that makes 8 of the 13 provinces and territories in Canada which have stated their opposition to this legislation. It makes you wonder where the 80% of Canadians who favour the Bill live.
Gun Amnesty Extended
On June 4/99 The Justice?? Department announced that people who want to register illegal restricted firearms such as war trophies will have an additional six months amnesty to do so until Nov. 30/99.
"A Reasonable and Minor Intrusion"?
By Gary Breitkreuz Reform MP
The Canadian Firearms Centre says, "The licensing and registration system is a reasonable and minor intrusion on personal privacy when weighed against the greater benefits to Canadian society."
PRIVACY PROBLEMS AND COMPLAINTS REPORTED TO GARRY BREITKREUZ, MP
- Firearms Registry issued Firearms Licences with the wrong photo on them
- Firearms Registry sent Firearms Licences to the wrong person
- Firearms Registry sent e-mail with personal, private information to the wrong e-mail address
- Firearms Registry sent a Firearms Licence with the wrong birth date
- Firearms Registry asks firearm owners to send private information in see-through envelopes
- Firearms Registry blocked firearms sales to hundreds of honest individuals for no legal or valid reason
- Firearms Registry blocks hundreds of sales based on unsubstantiated claims and anonymous information
- Firearms Registry has no standards governing information to be put on very private Firearms Interest Police (FIP) files
- Firearms Registry has no legal right to ask for private information about bankruptcies, divorce or employment difficulties
- Firearms Act gives too much power to gov't. inspectors to "inspect" private homes and businesses
- Firearms Registry unable to control private and personal nformation in the hands of "volunteer" verifiers
- Firearms Registry cannot guarantee security of computer information on registered firearms and licensed firearm owners
- Firearms Registry uses Canada Post's Electronic Mail System to do mailings to lists of firearm owners
- Firearms Registry uses the private Canada Communication Group (CCG) to do mailings to lists of firearm owners - CCG also sells mailing lists
- Firearms Registry forces firearm owners to put private information in envelopes clearly addressed to the Canadian Firearms Centre
- Firearms Registry ignored 40 recommendations by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to improve privacy protection in the licensing and registration forms
Have you tried using the Privacy Act to see your personal information and run into a problem? Do you think the federal government is mishandling or collecting too much personal information?
If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, you need the help of Canada's Privacy Commissioner. The Privacy Commissioner has the power to investigate how the federal government handled your particular Privacy Act request. The Commissioner also investigates how federal government agencies collect, use, disclose and dispose of the personal information it holds on its clients and employees. Visit the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's web-site. Or contact him by mail, phone or FAX:
Privacy Commissioner of Canada
112 Kent Street,
(613) 995-2410 or 1-800-267-0441
Fax (613) 947-6850
The Canadian Firearms Digest
Those of you with access to the Internet may want to subscribe to the Canadian Firearms Digest. The CFD comes out roughly once a day contains TONS of tips and tricks to help gun owners keep their head out of all kinds of legal snares set for the unwary. It is also a great way to network with others about your concerns and stay abreast of the antis antics. THE SUBSCRIPTION'S FREE. Doesn't cost a cent, folks! To subscribe, send an e-mail to: Canadian Firearms Digest at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the body of the message area type: subscribe cdn-firearms-digest
While the subscription is free you may want to help out the kind technical folks who help put out the CFD. Send donations to:
Saskatoon Free Net
Box 339, RPO University
Saskatoon, SK S7N 4J8
"Right to Privacy" Request Correction
In the last issue it was noted that gun owners should be asking just exactly which firearms the government has them listed as owning, as their records are in a terrible mess. There was, however, a typo in the address given. The requests should be addressed as follows:
Superintendent Robert Lesser
Coordinator, Access to Information and Privacy
1200 Vanier Parkway
Be sure to include your name, address, phone number and 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 is advisable to send the request by registered mail, just in case they should "lose" it.
TSCON has proper forms that are available on request.
From July 1 to Aug.4 TSCON Executive will be taking a break from its weekly meetings. If you need to contact us our mailbox is regularly checked and any Executive member can be contacted by phone (see Executive list in this issue). Our weekly meetings are 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.
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
"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 #3 July 30/99
<Vol. 5 #4 Nov. 1/99
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.
General - 937-2301 or 685-4480
Memberships - 934-6882
Gun Show - 937-7813
FOR SALE: Pre-64 Mod. 94 Winchester, 30-30, oiled walnut stock, 95% blue, vg, $250 or good offer;
FOR SALE: Mod. 1895 Mannlicher Carbine, 8x56R, exc, $100 or offer; Olympic Arms AR-15, .223, heavy barrel, as
new condition, $500;
Gerry 905-685-4480 after 4:00 P.M.
The following is the 1999 Executive of "The Sporting Clubs of Niagara".
President Gerry Gamble
1st Vice-President Bob LeGrand
2nd Vice-President James Houlden
Secretary John Gayder
Treasurer & Membership Chairman Ivan Chamberlain
Gun Show Chairman Ted Valliere
Barry Devereux Honourary
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 Paul Walker 1999 TSCON membership The Sporting Clubs of Niagara John Hibben Stihl pocket knife Niagara Saw Richard Angle T-Shirt The Sporting Clubs of Niagara Corry Vanderlee hunting equipment The Sportsmans Edge
***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.