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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Lemieux: Arresting 185,925 Canadians?

In this week's column, Pierre Lemieux returns to the muddy, confusing swamp of Canadian gun control law. His findings? As of now, almost 200,000 peaceful, law-abiding Canadians have turned into "paper criminals." They could now be prosecuted and face a maximum of five years in prison.

How did it come to this? Lemieux explains:

It is difficult to follow what is happening without grasping the complexity of the gun control law adopted in 1995 (Bill C-68). Every firearm needs to be individually registered, but its owner cannot register it without first going through the legal and intrusive loops of obtaining a personal licence. I remember the Summer of 1999 when the federal government sent students to the countryside in order to trick old gun owners into applying for special licences, called Possession Only Licences (POLs). The fact that these POLs, like ordinary firearms licences, would have to be renewed every five years, and could be revoked at any time, was carefully hidden. A large number of today’s paper criminals (131,000 according to the government) are among these victims of false representation who later neglected to renew their licences. They often don’t know that they are liable to criminal prosecution and to a maximum of five years in jail (ten years in some cases).

According to Lemieux, nothing the federal Conservatives are doing will help the innocent people caught up in this tangled legal web.

If the government arrested 200,000 people all at once, there would be an uproar, and the credibility of Canada's gun control legislation would be permanently undermined.

The alternative is a kind of waiting game. Behind the situation, Lemieux perceives that the government is hoping gun owners (and, by extension, other Canadians) will capitulate. Selective prosecution of some of these paper criminals might frighten others into falling in line. The government is hoping the stalemate works out in its favor, and it is willing to sacrifice rule-of-law in order to achieve its ends.

Read more of Lemieux's column here.

Posted by Terrence Watson on April 8, 2009 | Permalink


Excellent post, Terrence.

So why did "we" elect the Conservatives again?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-08 6:46:35 PM

Matthew, I venture that it was a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils for some and for others the belief that a Conservative majority would be able to honour their promises. I note that the Liberal leader has already stated that his party is opposed to terminating the gun registry - which includes both handguns and long guns.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-04-08 8:28:29 PM

There were far too many who capitulated to the Feds on the long gun registry. That could have been our tea party but the remaining "criminals-in-waiting" will simply be picked off slowly by the RCMP to intimidate the difficult peasants.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-04-08 10:30:38 PM

I'm sick and tired of being an "unheard minority". People just don't give a crap about gun owners, and whenever they hear about us they roll their eyes, or they start to get angry labeling us as "potential criminals" or "killers".

This is the reason that we have almost 200,000 criminals being created with the stroke of a pen, because it seems that parliament just doesn't care about gun owners.

With the creation of the Firearms Act (Bill C-68) and Bill S-5, it's interesting to note that there was pretty much no involvement of the bills refinement from the firearms community. The bills were made with no input from firearms owners under which would give us gun control that is in the best interest of Canadians and public safety. Instead we get bills that were never refined by gun owners (Bill S-5) or based on superstition, media biases, and 'feelings' (Bill C-68) that do not have Canada's best interest in mind and/or public safety.

I've owned firearms for years now and I've never committed a crime; I've never been to court; I am a good person. But every time 'Windy Wendy Cukier' starts adding new gun control laws, I feel as if I'm a criminal.

Posted by: Brent Nowell | 2009-04-09 3:19:52 PM

I am a gun owner and I just don't get what the big issue is with registering our guns. Its not like its illegal for us to own them. I find it very hard to be sympathetic to gun owners who feel persecuted for just having to register their weapons. Maybe if these same people weren't in large part the same group that supports the prohibition of cannabis I could support them. People on one hand are claiming persecution for simply having to registar the property they want to own, and in the next breath calling on the government to jail people for owning a plant.

I have several guns and I don't feel the slightest bit persecuted for having to register them. Nobody is telling me I can't own guns, or even suggesting that owning them makes me a criminal.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-04-11 7:12:37 PM

The issue, Doc, is that registration is often followed by confiscation at the first politically expedient opportunity. It happened in Germany, it happened in England, it happened in Australia, and it has already happened once in Canada, and now they're talking about doing it again--without compensation, I might add. All at the behest of a few hysterical women in Toronto and Montreal.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-11 7:37:23 PM

So what? that is not happening, we are only asked to register them. Plus the article worries about criminalizing 200,000 peaceful law abiding Canadians, to which I must point out that there are a lot more than 200,000 peaceful, otherwise law abiding citizens that use pot. Why should we worry about the 200,000 gun owners who break the law by refusing to register their firearms when cannabis prohibition is criminalizing many more of us? Why should we support gun owners rights when they are a large part of the group who advocates OUR persecution?

Before Emily Murphy and her demonization of cannabis, citizens had the right for thousands of years to own whatever plants they wanted, and plants have a lot less potential to hurt other people than guns do.

I fully support the right of citizens to own guns, I have several and use them often for hunting and varment control. I've never felt the threat of criminalization when I've shot a skunk, or bought ammo at the grocery store. In hunting season you can buy shotgun shells right at the gas stations or grocery stores around here so trying to convince people that gun owners are being persecuted is just silly.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-04-11 8:16:20 PM

It already has happened, Doc, in Canada. Bill C-68 outlawed .25 and .32 calibre handguns that were formally legal, and all such registered handguns were required to be surrendered to police for destruction, without compensation. This is an historical fact. In the case of collectors, that can be an investment of thousands or tens of thousands wiped out, not to mention the history thus lost. Furthermore, the message is plain: You have no right to protect your life or your property in this country. The penalties for breaking gun laws are also very strict. And you're comparing all of that to a law you were born into that basically says, "don't smoke this utterly useless product"?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-11 8:30:40 PM

Observe, Janet. It was not I, but Doc Greenthumb, who change the subject to his single-issue hobby horse, marijuana decrim. Without any prodding from me or anyone else whatever.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-11 8:31:35 PM

You don't use cannabis so you don't care about laws restricting me from having that freedom. I have no use for handguns, so i guess I don't really care if you can't have them. Handguns are for shooting people, that is their only purpose. I'm not going to lose any sleep if the government doesn't allow people to own them. Also I'm pretty sure collectors can still own those guns if they are disabled, or if they apply for a special permit. Again there is no persecution of gun owners in Canada. Where I live almost every household has several guns, and I've never seen one person in court over their gun ownership, but I see several dozen charged with possession of Cannabis every year even in this small town of less than 2500 people.

So in short gun owners are not persucted- plant owners are.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-04-11 8:38:08 PM

All I'm doing is pointing out the absurdity of people whining about being persecuted over their gun ownership, and in the next breath asserting that the government should be allowed to pass laws against plant ownership. Either you believe in the right to own property or you don't. Either you believe the government has the right to decide some property is too dangerous to own and should have the right to confiscate that property or you don't. I believe in the right to own guns and plants, and if the government is going to interfere with that right the onus should be on them to prove that the property in question is dangerous enough to justify that intrusion.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-04-11 9:17:38 PM

I am a gun owner and I just don't get what the big issue is with registering our guns. It's not like its illegal for us to own them. I find it very hard to be sympathetic to gun owners who feel persecuted for just having to register their weapons.
Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-04-11 7:12:37 PM

DrGreenthumb, Read your history books. Registration is the precursor to confiscation, is the precursor to control and extermination. And
"Free" people don't need permission to own guns and free people are entitled to their privacy.
The government has no legitimate business in this area at all. Nor will registration make one bit of difference to criminals, so what's the point anyway?

Posted by: JC | 2009-04-11 10:10:18 PM

Doc, you keep saying over and over again, "There is no persecution. There is no persecution." Numerous examples have been provided to you, you say yourself that you don't care if the government takes away some now-legal firearms, yet you say over and over again, "No persecution, no persecution," because it has not, up to now, affected you. We already know how narcissistic you are, Doc; there was no need to prove it.

Oh, and firearms don't alter your mind, either.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-11 10:28:51 PM

The point, JC, is that Greenthumb is aggrieved that he can't legally smoke dope and he's going to thrust that message into each and every blog into which he pokes his nose -- even if the topic of that blog has nothing to do with drugs.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-11 10:29:56 PM

Thanks Shane.

I was at a very large gun show in Calgary yesterday where I learned quite a bit more about the gun registry.

Bill S-5 which supposedly calls for the abolition of the long gun registry isn't what it seems. What it would do is scrap the "federal" gun registry and have the provinces continue the long gun registry themselves. Which puts the duties into the hands of the provincial Chief Firearms Officers. In Alberta, the CFO has been known to make up laws as he goes... For example, there is no law that states you must belong to a gun club to own a hand gun, but try getting a permit without a gun club membership. Its just another example of the governments et al, and their drive to make gun ownership so prohibitive and expensive that most people won't bother.

Don't expect this or any other government to respect our rights to gun ownership, property or self defense any time soon. They are immoral bastards.

Posted by: JC | 2009-04-12 7:21:47 AM

PS, I also learned that the Liberals went to the UN with a proposal to re-stamp any firearms crossing borders for sale with a secondary ID which would be kept by the UN themselves...then came back to parliament saying we "have to comply" after all its a "UN resolution".

The corruption never stops around here.

Posted by: JC | 2009-04-12 7:24:55 AM

On the other hand, JC, eight out of ten provinces have already opted out of the firearms registry. Your point that they are trying to discourage firearms ownership without making it illegal is well taken. Sounds like persecution to me, even if it's of a fairly benign sort (as opposed to stuffing us into cattle cars and whisking us off to a disposal facility in Nunavut).

It's still crap. That's the trouble with the common law; it's subject to constant re-interpretation and therefore there are huge holes in what we have always assumed to be our core liberties. England doesn't even have a written constitution. I'll bet they wish they had one now.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-12 9:48:06 AM

The statement "handguns are for killing people" always makes my head shake. Of course handguns are for killing people. It's sometimes necessary to kill people. I feel the need to have that option, in certain circumstances. It's not exactly a peaceful world out there.

Ask most cops who they'd rather see drive up, when they're outnumbered by gangsters, Jack Layton, or me? I'd have a 9 shot, 12 gauge ready to speak, within less than 1 minute. Jack Layton would be demanding they shield his body with their bodies. There are only so many cops to go around, after that, it's up to people like me to protect the neighbourhood.

I don't usually carry a handgun with me, but I can put one in my hand, ready to go, in about a minute from right now. Nobody could steal them, unless they force me to give up a combination, and I'm stubborn. We need more guns in the hands of people like me, not fewer. Training, and ownership, should be mandatory. This isn't about hobby target shooting, or collecting. This is about maintaining our freedom.

I'm afraid we might be the last generation of free men. Canada is too far down the road to recover, and the US is headed down the same road. I know what freedom is, and I won't hand over my property, ever.

Posted by: dp | 2009-04-12 11:00:03 AM

Well put, dp. Every community needs a handful of people willing to depend their property at all costs. It keeps the bad guys elsewhere. It might even cause them to consider an honest profession.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-12 11:26:39 AM

Shane, yes I was aware of the 8 provinces opting out. I just hope it stays that way and that the Feds relinquish control back to the provinces where it belongs. And I agree with dp about the role of law abiding gun owners. I've spoken to a few policemen who also agree. And it is the law abiding gun ownere who is the invisible line between civiliazatiom and crime / tyranny. The lefties just don't get that.

Posted by: JC | 2009-04-12 11:36:33 AM

The old high school where I live "used to" have a shooting range in the basement where students could learn how to be qualified sharpshooters, informed, safe, good gun owners, and if required: trained militia backups for the military.

It was for .22 rifles...small fry stuff. WW2 vets taught the course, they knew what they were doing. Shooting guns in the school basement was a regular part of the after school school clubs from 1940-1970 -- thirty years of accident free indoor target shooting .

As I hear it, that school shooting range was declared
"anti peace" in the 70s and shut down, a half dozen weaving looms were installed, ( * girls only ) and then that craft lapsed, and the entire shooting/weaving range shut down, locked up and forgotten. an enormous heated, well lit public space -discontinued ..
a local gun club applied to use the shooting range ( the only one for many many miles that wasn't designated for police use only ) after school hours only- but were refused because part of their application was to offer_ free safe responsible gun craft courses to all any any residents. Heat from some parents and the regional police demanded the gunclub be refused from shooting in a school..and encouraging young people to learn the arts of war-- ( this was the nuclear age here )
The gunclub were shooting at paper targets for points. not instructing anyone in shooting people or pets.Today, this indoor shooting range is locked and dusty--No shooting has happened in there in 40 years, no weaving has happened in 40 years, legit request by a responsible gun club was denied on sissy emotional basis.. and the kids swipe their Grandparents unregistered guns. take a case of beer or some weed & shoot rats in the dump, with absolutely no instruction in rational guncraft, safety or proper use and care of these tools.

If a cop pulled up to see them shooting vermin - they would certainly end up in chains - so rather than that- these youth might well try to shoot the cop cars tires out-and escape as a laughtrack played in their minds, a scenerio based on the only firearms instruction they actually did receive- that being watching TV

Posted by: 419 | 2009-04-12 11:55:28 AM


Thanks for that. It's a little sad, but still good perspective.

Posted by: JC | 2009-04-12 1:27:30 PM

It's not all bad - upside to the story is: rat populations are way down.

Posted by: 419 | 2009-04-12 5:17:58 PM

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