The Sporting Clubs
Volume 9, Number 4 November 2003
Message from the President
Greetings to you all. It is hard to believe but it has been nine years since Bill C-68 (now the Firearms Act) was introduced.
You would think that after all that time the furor would have died down and gun licencing and registration would be an accepted fact of life. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.
Parts of the Act are still not in place. At least 300,000 firearm owners haven't obtained licences and somewhere between 1 million (the government estimate) and 10 million (probably the real number) guns remained unregistered.
Provincial and Territorial opposition to long gun registration continues with 10 of 13 jurisdictions openly opposing it. The election of the anti-gun McGuinty Liberal government in Ontario has further clouded the issue and the level to which persecution of Ontario firearm owners with unregistered guns will occur is, at the moment, unknown.
The long but extremely welcome departure of Jean Chretien as Prime Minister also creates more questions than answers. Will Paul Martin continue to pour millions of dollars more down the gun registry black hole or will he seek to find some way for the Liberals to gracefully extricate themselves from the mess they have created. Thanks to the obscene waste of at least a billion dollars, public sentiment has certainly turned against the Registry as recent poll results have shown (see the following article for more details).
And with federal revenue surpluses down and the need for a large infusion of cash into health care and education, some programmes are going to be scaled back or cut altogether. Whether the firearms programme is one of them remains to be seen.
On the firearms activism scene, despite their best efforts CUFOA (Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners Association) members have been unable to get arrested so they can challenge the legality of the Registry in court. Several different police forces have refused to charge them and federal prosecutors have shown no great desire drag them into court either. This should come as no surprise, however. While CUFOA has a lot to lose, the government stands to lose even more. Should the courts rule against the legality of the Registry the entire system could literally collapse overnight, a nightmare most Liberal MPs don't even want to think about.
Whether you agree with CUFOA's tactics or not they have to be credited with creating a huge degree of embarrassment for the government and exposing the hypocrisy of the system.
All of these unknowns mean that TSCON is going to have another busy year.
As this is my first message as incoming President I would like to take this opportunity to thank Past President John Gayder for his hard work during the past two years. It is often a thankless task but John always tackled the job with effort and efficiency and TSCON is that much stronger for his labours.
I would also like to thank the other volunteer members of the Executive who come out to our weekly meetings for eleven months of the year to help protect your right to use your firearms.
Happy holidays and the best to you and your families in 2004.
Latest Poll Results
The past year has seen a dramatic shift in public attitudes towards the government's firearms programme. Prior to last December public support hovered in the 75% range and the average citizen was oblivious to the disaster brewing in the Firearms Registry. That ended in Dec. 02 when the Auditor-General blew the whistle on it and its billion dollar price tag.
In the last issue we printed the results of a poll by JMCK Communications which showed that only 38.8% of the population continued to support the Registry. This was a further slide from the 43% support in a Dec. 02 Ipsos-Reid poll.
Well, the news has only gotten worse for the government. A new JMCK poll conducted in late October 03 showed that support has further declined nationally to 37.7%. Even more significant was that not a single province in Canada had a majority that supported it. Quebec still showed the greatest level of support but the approval rating had dropped to 46% compared to Alberta (16%), Atlantic Canada (31%), Saskatchewan-Manitoba (33%), Ontario (41%) and Quebec (46%).
One can only imagine how low the numbers would be if the Liberals revealed the actual amount of money they have spent, which some estimate at closer to 2 billion dollars.
More Provinces Oppose the Firearms Act
While it appears that the McGuinty Liberals will fall in line with their federal counterparts in supporting the Firearms Act this is definitely not the trend. Since the last newsletter, two more provinces (New Brunswick and Newfoundland) have jumped off the support bandwagon and are refusing to prosecute gun owners who have not registered their firearms. This leaves only two other provincial governments (Quebec and P.E.I.) which continue to officially support it.
Bill C-10A Regulations Delayed
In the last edition we noted that Bill C-10A which, among other things grandfathered some handgun owners, somewhat clarified the air gun fiasco, set down new gun show rules, etc. had been passed. Unfortunately, in true government style the regulations which must be passed before the law comes into effect have yet to be approved. And since Parliament has been dissolved until mid-January the status of all these changes is still up in the air.
To those of you affected by these changes we can only recommend that you remain patient. Even better, call your local MP and ask what the holdup is.
ATFE Form 6
Those of you who take firearm across the border to hunt, target shoot, etc. are probably aware of the requirement that you fill out what is known as a Form 6 and send in to the ATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) for approval before your guns can cross the border.
To simplify the process the ATFE has come up with a new shorter form designated as ATF Form 6NIA. To obtain the form you can call the ATFE at 703- 455-7801. The form can also be downloaded from the ATFE website by doing the following:
-Log on to the ATFE website @ http://www.atf.gov
-in the search block titled "Enter Keyword here" on the left hand side of the page type in "ATF Form 6NIA"
This will bring up the form which you can print out.
Hats for Hides Programme
"The Sporting Clubs of Niagara" is pleased to announce that this year it is cooperating with the Niagara Regional Native Centre in their "Hats for Hides" programme.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that after hunters have taken their deer, moose, bear or other big game the hides often end up in the garbage because there is no use for them. The aim of the "Hats for Hides" programme is to see that the hides are put to more productive use. Hides that are turned in are tanned using traditional native methods. Some are then donated to native schools for use in student activities while others are sold to fund the programme. All hunters turning in a hide get a hunting hat with a variety of attractive crests on it, one of which is "The Sporting Clubs of Niagara" crest. There are three classes of hats, with the best being awarded to hunters who turn in pristine hides which have not been damaged in the gutting and skinning process. However, all donors will receive a hat regardless of the condition of the hide.
Hides can be turned in anytime at the Native Centre which is located at the corner of Queenston Rd. (old Highway 8) and Airport Road just east of the Garden City Skyway outside St. David's.
For more information call Bill Russ at the Native Centre at 905-688-6484.
What to Do When You Find Out Someone is Charged?
With the McGuinty Liberals now in power there is a greater possibility that you or someone you know will end up being charged with some bogus firearm violation. The following valuable advice comes from Jim Hinter, President of the National Firearms Association.
When a case comes to you, the correct thing to do is: Tell the person that you will forward his case to NFA Legal, and recommend that he make contact with NFA Legal directly by calling (780)439-1394.
Ask the person to put down all the details in writing.
Also tell that person to SHUT UP. The "story" he tells to justify himself to police, friends, relatives, media or others can cause more harm, while shutting up just might save him completely. Firearm owners often feel a need to "justify" themselves -- and to not look like a major societal menace. It makes them talk when they should not talk. We tell people, "Those people who are your friends will understand your silence -- those who don't are not and never were your friends". An ounce of "shut up" is worth TEN POUNDS of damage control.
Make contact with the NFA's National Office yourself. Get as many details as possible BEFORE doing that. Specifically, we need the name, address and telephone number of the person in trouble.
Any comments you have, or your gut feelings, may also be helpful. Then we can compare what you have been told with what we are told directly by the accused and/or his lawyer.
You and NFA Legal should NOT make any promises until we have a copy of the charge sheet, at the very least. Until then, the case is an UNKNOWN.
This can be very difficult. You are dealing with a person who has a legal problem. His problem is a great concern to him. Your first instinct is to offer help -- without knowing enough. You CAN be trapped into supporting the next Clifford Olson.
NFA Legal will evaluate the case. It may fall into any one of the classes below, or several others:
(a) Routine case, accused possibly guilty of the charges, we assist him with paper and lawyer briefing.
(b) Case can set a precedent that will help others. We supply more assistance.
(c) Case has important precedent possibilities. We supply much more assistance.
Please keep in mind that often you may NOT have all of the facts, and therefore are NOT in the best position to make a reasoned judgement, PARTICULARLY before any charge has been laid!!
Also keep in mind that the first statements YOU might make, will be the ones that person will hang on, taking them as a commitment by the NFA. You do not have the authority to commit the NFA, so don't raise false hopes! Tell him the truth - help MAY be available.
If you said "We will help you" and the charge sheet plus further investigation says the NFA should not touch the case with a ten-foot pole -- then the story that person takes "public" will smear the NFA. We then have to deal with unhappy ramifications.
If the case is one that the NFA should help with, the NFA supplies the accused, or, preferably, his lawyer, with the NFA's valuable comments on what that section of the law actually means. Those papers include tips on how to fight such a case. We also supply transcripts of favorable decisions from similar cases. Frequently, that is enough to persuade the Crown to drop the case.
It is often said that provincial court "wins" do not set precedents. That is legally true, but a whole bunch of rulings by provincial court judges will almost always influence the judge in the new case. It works.
Not all of our transcripts are provincial court level. Quite a number - and the number is constantly increasing - come from higher courts, up to and including the Supreme Court of Canada.
Gun Show Dates
The problems with the Bill C-10A regulations not being passed leaves the status of our gun shows uncertain. While we intend to continue the gun shows, the 2004 dates are tentative. Once we know the status of the shows for sure we will let everyone know via the newsletter.
Tentative dates for our 2004 gun shows are:
Gun Show Location
All gun shows are held at:
Merritton Community Centre, 7 Park Ave., St. Catharines
If you want tables for the Dec. 12/03 show, contact Ted Valliere right away at 905-935-3893. Shows are usually sold out and often we do not have tables for all our vendors. If you want tables, call early!
Gun Show Flyers
Do you own or work at a business that employs gun owners, have customers who own guns, attend out of town gun shows, belong to a sports club, church group or service organization that includes gun owners or just know the location of some public bulletin boards?
Is so, you can help us make our gun shows more successful by posting or handing out our gun show flyers.
Contact TSCON and we will make sure that you get flyers to distribute. Also feel free to photocopy and distribute flyers as widely as possible.
If you are aware of any pro-gun businesses that value gun owners as customers rather than engaging in political games let us know. We will be happy to list their names and addresses in the next issue of the newsletter.
All 2003 memberships expire on Dec. 31/03. If your mailing label does not say 04 you are not a paid up member for 2004. Help us continue our work by supporting TSCON with a membership. Complete the application and send it in with your cheque. Just $10 a year! Aren't your guns worth it?
The following people are on the Executive of "The Sporting Clubs of Niagara" for 2004. (Save for future reference)
President Gerry Gamble
1st Vice-President Bob LeGrand
2nd Vice-President James Houlden
Secretary Verna LeGrand
Treasurer Ladi Plut
Gun Show Chairman Ted Valliere
Past President John Gayder
Barry Devereux (Honourary)
Sale!! Trigger Locks
To help you comply with the safe storage laws 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 now reduced in price to 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!
T-Shirts/Sweat Shirts - Now in Blue
Our popular "The Sporting Clubs of Niagara" t-shirts and sweat shirts are now available in blue as well as gray and in a greater variety of sizes. Both are very good quality and available in the following sizes:
T-shirts M-XL $16
T-shirts XXL $18
Sweats M-XL $20
Sweats XXL $22
Get yours at the gun show or from any member of the Executive.
Hats and Crests
Also available due to popular demand are our TSCON hats and crests.
Prices are as follows:
Hats w/crest - $16
Crest only - $ 5
Hat & Crest - $20
They are available at the TSCON club table at all the gun shows or from any member of the Executive.
Free Classified Ads
Classified ads for shooting and hunting related items are free for members.
Please call 905-685-4480 and submit ads by the dates listed f or inclusion in the next newsletter:
>Vol. 10 #1 Jan. 15, 2004
>Vol. 10 #2 Mar. 17, 2004
For Sale: Gun Cabinet,: well made oak cabinet with glass front and locking storage drawers, $100 firm, call Fred 905-684-5909
For Sale: Auto Ordnance Thompson, .22 LR, semi-auto, two mags (25 and 50 rounds), prohibited, G, asking $500 Ithaca shotgun, DS Police Special , 12 gauge, 18 inch barrel, 8 shot mag, front sight missing, non-restricted, asking $400 Lee Enfield Jungle Carbine, calibre .303 British, non-restricted, G-VG, asking $200, call Jack 905-937-8397
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 905-562-7686
Moved, Address Changes, Etc.
For address changes, duplicate mailings, removal from the mailing list or if you want a newsletter call 905-685-4480.
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.
General 905-685-4480 or 905-937-2301
Gun Show 905-935-3893
St. Catharines, ON
DRAW PRIZE WINNERS
The following members are winners in our latest draw. Please call Gerry at 905-685-4480 to arrange to claim your prize.
|William Clark||TSCON T-shirt||The Sporting Clubs of Niagara|
|Bernard Nehring||Bottle of Hoppes Gun Cleaner||The Sporting Clubs of Niagara|
|Raymond Gaudreau||2004 Membership||The Sporting Clubs of Niagara|
|Zenon Malinowski||Free PAL Test (transferrable)||Firearms Education School (John Kellaway)|
G u n S h o w
Friday, Dec. 12, 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:
Breitkreuz Visits TSCON Gun Show - Attendees at our September Gun Show got a special treat when Canadian Alliance MP Garry Breitkreuz dropped in to visit. Garry circulated through the crowd answering questions and accepting thanks from grateful gun owners who appreciate his tireless efforts on their behalf. Garry is seen in the above photo with (front row L to R) Verna LeGrand, Jim Houlden, Ivan Chamberlain (2nd row L to R) TSCON President John Gayder, Treasurer Ladi Plut, Garry B., Gerry Gamble, Gun Show Chairman Ted Valliere, NFA rep Wally Butts