Volume 7, Number 1 January 2001
Message from the President
The November 2000 election didn't bring the good news gun owners had been hoping for as the Liberals were returned with another majority. Without belabouring the point, it was obvious that the Canadian Alliance Party was not fully prepared for the election and that lack of preparation showed in the results. It was worthy of note, however, that Alliance platform policies continued to clearly indicate support for gun owners against the current Firearms Act (C-68). On the plus side, more Alliance MPs were elected than ever before including two in Ontario, both of whom attributed much of their success to the support of gun owners. We can only hope that this trend continues in the future.
Locally, "The Sporting Clubs of Niagara" ran numerous newspaper ads supporting the Alliance and many Executive members spent long hours working for local candidates. We thank these people for their efforts. We also participated in the National Firearms Association's "Sea of Green" sign campaign and thank those of you who had the courage to put up lawn signs (more on this later).
Where the battle will go from here is anyone's guess. As the Dec. 31/00 licencing deadline approached and the $600 million + cost became public knowledge it was interesting to note the great number of anti-C-68 editorials and letters to the editors in newspapers across the country. While it has taken a long time, many Canadians are starting to wake up to the fact that the Firearms Act is a giant money pit that is showing no tangible results. In the end, it may be the cost rather than more debatable issues that sink the government's plans.
Meanwhile,"The Sporting Clubs of Niagara" intends to keep you informed of any new developments as they occur and we ask for your continued support as we strive to meet that goal.
Our nomination for "Spin of the Year" goes to the Canadian Firearms Centre for trying to salvage a semblance of respectability for their licencing efforts. Apparently about 1.8 million people have applied for or already received licences. This is a far cry from the 3 million gun owners that the CFC said existed before they started to try licencing them. In an effort to make their numbers more acceptable, they then lowered their estimated number of gun owners to 2.2 million. Apparently 800 000 of us just got up an left the country. This doesn't even take into account the fact that more reliable previous studies indicated that there were between 5 and 7 million gun owners. The most telling point is that even if the CFC numbers were accurate, it means that 400 000 gun owners defied the law and refused to get licences. And that, my friends, is one giant failure!
In the last few months TSCON Executive members have had many, many calls about the firearms laws from gun owners who were confused, irate or both. More than one person has defiantly proclaimed to us that they weren't getting a licence or registering their guns. TSCON would be treading in dangerous legal water if we openly advised people to break the law. At the same time, we completely sympathize with the frustration and anger of gun owners. To this end, our advice is simple and clear: you should follow the course of action that you feel is right and that you can live with as long as you are aware of the consequences. What you should not do, however, is broadly proclaim to anyone in earshot that you intend to break the law. While the person you tell may be your friend and would not report you, five or six times retellings down the line your actions may reach the ears of someone who is not sympathetic to you and would not hesitate to rat you out in a minute. Do what you must but keep it to yourself!
What Can You Do With A POL?
TSCON believes that the Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) is, for most gun owners, the better choice. However, for financial or other reasons many people opted for the Possession Only Licence (POL). While the POL is no longer available, if you have received yours or are waiting for it (don't hold your breath) you should be aware that while there are things you can't do with it (e.g. buy, receive as a gift, inherit or replace lost guns, etc.), there are options you do have. For example, you can borrow guns from others if you have a POL. There is no time limit after which you have to return the guns, either, so technically you could borrow them for the rest of your life. Even after 2003 when all guns are supposed to be registered you can still borrow them indefinitely as long as the registration card goes with them. What if you borrow an unregistered gun now and still have it after 2003. By law the original owner should have registered it by Dec. 31/02. However, if you registered it in your name it would become your gun. Note that while this is illegal and we do not advocate that you do it, it would be extremely difficult for anyone to prove that it was not your gun originally, especially if the previous owner wasn't concerned about getting it back. You may also borrow guns to hunt with using your POL. If you are in doubt about your rights with the various types of licences, call TSCON and we will try to help you out.
Here is a dandy from the January 18, 2001 Globe and Mail. The story was about an armed holdup in BC by 3 teenage girls. "The gun used in the robbery was described by police as a sawed-off Remington model .870 magnum." Proof once again that the media doesn't know a thing about firearms.
Air Gun Fiasco
You may have heard about the great air gun fiasco that surfaced last November. Seems the RCMP didn't have any crooks to catch so some genius there came up with the idea of shooting a new, lightweight style of pellet in air guns to see if they would exceed 500 feet per second, the legal limit above which air guns are considered firearms. They managed to get some 34 air guns to accomplish the feat, instantly converting them to "firearms". In fact, some air pistols became "restricted" firearms and a few with short barrels even became "prohibited" (you know, in the same class with sawed-off shotguns and UZIs). This little foray into ultra-stupidity sent the CFC into a tizzy, since air gun owners would have to be licenced, millions of air guns would have to be registered and the stores selling them would be guilty of selling firearms without a licence.
Late breaking info on the air gun saga. It seems the government is wisely backpedaling .... This from Special Bulletin # 8: "In the meantime, the status quo prevails. There are no changes in the procedures that must be followed to purchase or sell air guns. If the manufacturer's specifications indicate that the muzzle velocity of an air gun is less than 152.4 metres or 500 feet per second, a person does not need a Licence to buy or possess it. As well, they do not have to go through the transfer process to get approval and to have the air gun registered."
Good to see the CFC and the RCMP have their act together.
----------------------- The following is from Liberty Free Press IT AIN'T OVER TILL THE FAT LADY SINGS... By Donna Ferolie I have been noticing a shift in the tone of discussion and attitude on the gun control debate in the last few weeks. It seems evident there is a climate of puzzlement among gun owners and the federal control bureaucracy alike as to "what now". There is a very large segment of the firearms using public who have only cursory knowledge of the new laws who have decided that non compliance is linked closely to survival in their chosen lifestyle/business (agro/rural enterprise). Similarly many urban owners are of the same mind but find themselves in different social setting where non compliance puts them at the whim of a malicious neighbor. Consequently a growing segment of responsible urban firearms users feel trapped into complying with this unworkable, broken system so they may continue to enjoy their pastime. Rumor has it that they will only "half comply" and hide the "good stuff" and register the "junk". Yet, both types of gun owners wonder if there is still ANY legal avenue left that could derail this damaging law or stop the implementation or enforcement. Following the Supreme Court of Canada's kangaroo decision based ONLY on the jurisdictional correctness of the gun law, it may interest both parties (Government and Citizen alike) that charter challenges and further individual court actions are currently being coordinated & formulated. Hang on; not every judge is against you owning your duck gun without criminal liability! These cases will show that and it is a LONG way to 2003! Don't do anything to criminalize yourself until the court decides these cases. These cases will decide if the law damages citizens through no criminal action on their part. It will also prove to be a violation of charter rights. This may offer some optimism for those who believe there are no more legal actions to launch at the 11th hour, that will get a court to find constitutional or charter fault with this abominable law and rule against it. There are at least 7 charter cases and at least as many administrative legal actions. I have been networking with members of the assembly of first nations and I have coordinated a meeting with a prominent Alberta constitutional lawyer and a prominent Ontario criminal lawyer to explore which of several Firearms Act charter violations presents the most effective challenge. Alberta's elected Senator, Ted Morton, will accompany me. We are confident that this direction will be successful. Since this meeting I have been communicating with criminal lawyers across Canada. All fully support pursuing the idea of legal actions based on the varying damages done to their respective client's property, rights and livelihoods . Once high profile charter action is launched against an existing piece of federal legislation, it will bring the enforcement and implementation to a grinding halt and under the bright light of both public and judicial scrutiny. At this point we will be launching the initial trial actions in Alberta, but millions of firearm owners will reap the benefits by launching personal actions later. If successful in one jurisdiction the rest will fall in line. Individuals (with organized funding) can and will make this work! Donna Ferolie Calgary, Alberta
Hey GM Guys!
Ever wonder what YOUR union's stance is on gun control? The following is from the April 28, 1995 CONTACT... CAW Council - April Gun Control Following requests from a few local unions opposed to Bill C-68, the federal gun control legislation, Hargrove recommended a re-affirmation of the union's support for the legislation. Both the 1994 CAW convention and the December CAW Council endorsed the legislation and this council, after thorough debate, voted once again to support Bill C-68. ------------
Don't Register Guns Yet
Contrary to rumours floating around and at least two recent erroneous reports in the St. Catharines Standard, guns do not have to be registered till Jan. 1, 2003.
This article appeared in the August newsletter. However, the option is still in effect for people looking to obtain a PAL so we are reprinting it for your convenience.
After some legal prodding the Chief Firearms Officer of Ontario is now allowing people to apply for an alternate licence to avoid having to take the PAL course. You are eligible if you meet the following criteria:
1) you have continuously owned a firearm since Jan. 1/79
2) You were born before Jan. 1/63
If you meet the requirements here's how you apply:
-call the CFO (1-800-731-4000 Ex. 7502) or 1-705-329-7691) and ask for Ann Sharman
-give Ann your name and address
-the CFO will send you an application which you fill out and return
-they will call you and you take the test orally over the phone
We have also been able to glean the following information. The test is 30 questions of which there is some multiple choice, some true and false and some for which you just give the correct answer. You must get 80% on the test and you can only try it once. If you fail it, you must do the regular test with an instructor. There is no fee to try the test. Currently, only about 5% of the people writing the test are passing it. Ann strongly recommends that anyone writing the test get the Canadian Firearms Safety Course book and study it thoroughly. Local instructors like Al Feor, John Kellaway and Gene Chambers should have them or call1-519-369-5706. They cost about $13. We are not sure if there is more than one test but have determined that everyone is asked the 4 basic rules of firearm safety (and most get it wrong), and other questions like what is the legal age to purchase ammunition (18). We would very much like to hear from anyone who has taken the test and will pass on more "study information" as we get it.
Important Note: There is no time limit for the test so take your time. Apparently some people have taken over an hour to do it. You might also want to have your study materials and/or an expert friend handy when you take it. Call TSCON if you need more information.
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 562-7686
New Location for Gun Shows
After considerable thought and research TSCON has made several decisions regarding our popular gun shows. Since the new gun show regulations do not come into effect until Jan. 1, 2003, we decided now was the time to make some changes that we have been considering for quite a while. First of all, for the next two years we will, due to demand, be running 4 shows a year up from our current 3 shows. The most important change, however, will be our new location. As of the Feb. 16/01 show we will be holding them at the Merritton Lions Community Centre in St. Catharines. While the CAW Hall is a very nice facility, the level cooperation and service we had been receiving over the last year or two was in serious decline. The number of tables available was decreasing, some of the staff was uncooperative and we have never been happy with the CAW's support of C-68 (see related story on this page). In other words, we were getting less but with no decrease in the rent. The Merritton Community Centre facility is only about a five minute drive from the CAW Hall. It is a bigger hall (well over 100 tables) so we can accomodate more vendors and customers, parking is good, the rent is lower, we are supporting a service organization (the Lions Club) and they seem genuinely happy to have us as customers. Please bear with us if we have some teething problems for the first show or two. In the end we will all benefit. Please remember that the money we make from the gun shows goes into the fight to protect your gun rights so any money we save or extra money we make in the end will benefit you. For the convenience of our out-of-town customers the new gun show flyers will have a detailed map of how to get to the Merritton Lions Community Centre.
TSCON 2001 gun show dates are:
Feb. 16 April 20 Sept. 14 Dec. 14
If you would like tables at our next show (Feb. 16, 2001), please contact Ted Valliere at 905-937-7813.
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.
Memberships Now Due
If you received a 2001 membership card in this newsletter you are not a paid up member for 2001. Isn't it worth a few dollars to join the fight to protect your rights!
General - 685-4480 or 937-2301
Memberships - 937-3579
Gun Show - 937-7813
FAX - 934-8039
Free Classified Ads for Members
Classified ads for shooting and hunting related items are free for members. Please call 685-4480 and submit ads by the following dates to appear in the latest newsletter:
>Vol. 7 #2 March 15/01
>Vol. 7 #3 August 1/01
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.
The following members are winners in our latest draw. Please call Gerry at 685-4480 to arrange to pick up your prize.
|Donald Bantten||TSCON T-shirt||The Sporting Clubs of Niagara|
|Wayne Zahara||Stihl pocket knife||Niagara Saw|
|Thomas Earle||Gun Cleaning Kit||The Sporting Clubs of Niagara|
|Bruce Grabell||Hunting Equipment||Frontier Gun and Sport|
PUBLICATION WINNIPEG FREE PRESS DATE : FRI OCT.27,2000 PAGE : D6 CLASS : Sports EDITION : Use of steel shot is creating alarming loss of wounded birds Mel Dagg Outdoors Mel Dagg BIOLOGISTS and field experts can argue all they wish but the cold hard facts speak for themselves. In an effort to control the large number of waterfowl killed while ingesting lead shot pellets, authorities deemed it necessary to introduce mandatory non-toxic shot restrictions. While bismuth, tin, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer and several other materials have been used in the new shotshells, it is steel that has been given the most publicity and the most use. Unfortunately, steel has proven to be a poor alternative for lead. Not only have gunners been required to rethink their shooting skills, but they have watched in dismay as many well hit birds glide into the distance before falling to earth. These birds are all too often lost as hunters failed to locate them or worse, failed to conduct a search because of the long walk involved. There is no doubt that steel shot will stop waterfowl just as quickly as lead when a full charge hits a target under 35 yards. The problem generally occurs at longer ranges when the shot may pass completely through the birds without generating the shocking power of lead. Thus, the birds may fly for another half mile before tumbling from the sky. While some other non-toxic shot combinations have proven to be effective, they have also proven to be more expensive and a combination of supply and cost have prevented their popularity from increasing. The large number of geese presently in the province are supplying additional fall gunning for sportsmen but the requirement for non-toxic shot and specifically the use of steel is also creating an alarming loss of wounded birds ------
-- NFA exposes Liberal secret air gun agenda "Jean Chretien has talked a lot lately about hidden agendas during this election campaign," stated Jim Hinter, National President of Canada's 120,000 Member strong National Firearms Association. "Maybe the Prime Minister is right. Here is one of Chretien's hidden agendas that we have uncovered," Hinter continued. "The Liberals are secretly changing the classification on many popular airguns - reclassifying them as firearms or prohibited firearms," Hinter charged. "This move, done in secret, forces owners of popular air rifles and pistols to apply for - and receive - firearm licences, or else become criminals on January 1 2001," Hinter stated. "This affects over a million Canadians along with thousands of Canadian businesses," Hinter stated. "People who already own air pistols, like the Crosman 357 Magnum, re-classified as a "restricted firearm" or "prohibited firearm" have already been criminalized," Hinter stated. "The real question for Jean Chretien is a simple one; When exactly Sir, were you planning to spring this little surprise on Canadians?" asked Hinter. "The Canadian Firearms Centre is already hopelessly behind in getting licences into the hands of Canadians right now," stated Hinter. "This latest move ensures that on New Years Day 2001, millions of Canadians will wake up as 'paper crime criminals'" said Hinter. -30- National Firearms Association For More Information: (403) 640-1110 AIRGUN BACKGROUNDER How did thousands of airgun owners suddenly become criminals -- and eligible for up to five years in prison? This situation all started with the federal Liberal's new and very complicated firearms control laws, which came into force on 01 Dec 1998. Those laws state to acquire a "firearm", a Canadian must register that "firearm" as it is acquired, and must be the "holder" of a licence at the time of getting it. Then the law states if the "firearm" has a muzzle velocity under 152.4 meters per second (500 feet per second), which covers most airguns, then the buyer doesn't have to have a licence, and the "firearm" doesn't have to be registered -- because it is not a "firearm" -- except under certain circumstances. So -- from 01 Dec 1998 until today, Canadians have been acquiring airguns with no paper work or licence required. That has now ended. A manufacturer decided to start manufacturing lightweight pellets for airguns. Using those pellets, many airguns can shoot pellets at over 152.4 mps (500 fps), so they are full "firearms", requiring licences and registration. And that change goes backwards in time! Almost everyone acquired an airgun at any time between 01 Dec 1998 and today -- without a licence, or without registering it -- is now a criminal, for violating Criminal Code section 91(1). It gets worse. Almost every airgun is a "firearm", and some of them are "handguns". Those that are "handguns" are also either "restricted firearms" or "prohibited firearms". The firearms control system requires all "handguns" to be registered. It says if the "handgun" has a muzzle velocity under 152.4 meters per second (500 feet per second), like most airguns, it doesn't have to be registered, and no licence is required by a buyer. Almost every person who is now in possession of a "handgun" airgun that can shoot a pellet at over 153.4 mps (500 fps) -- regardless of the date he or she got it -- is now in possession of either an unregistered "restricted firearm" or an unregistered "prohibited firearm", and is violating CC s. 91(2)(a) and (b). The maximum sentence is up to 5 years in prison. The decision by a manufacturer to produce a new product has retroactively criminalized hundreds of thousands of Canadians. This move also will affect hundreds of Canadian businesses - who are currently selling air rifles or pistols. Those businesses are now forced to be licenced and all of their staff handling airgun sales must be licenced. This represents a huge tax on those businesses. National Firearms Association: Phone (403) 640- 1110