The Sporting Clubs of Niagara
Volume 20, Number 3
Wow! I had just about given up hope that the Conservative government was going to take any further action on the firearms file. Then on July 23 Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney announced that when the House of Commons reconvenes in September the Conservatives will be introducing a bill to deal with several of the existing problems in the current Firearms Act.
The exact text has yet to be made public and in all likelihood is still being drafted which is good because it has given pro-gun groups an opportunity to provide more input. In fact, TSCON has already submitted a list of recommendations which we think should be included.
Parliament sits again in late September and we hear that this bill will be one of the first proposed in the new session. We expect the government to fast track the bill as it is important that it be dealt with early for the following reasons.
The next federal election is scheduled for October 2015 so when the House adjourns in June 2015 it will not sit again until after the election and any legislation not passed by then will die on the order paper.
This bill is going to drive the anti-gun forces nuts and they will be fear-mongering like crazy just as they did when the long gun registry was scrapped. Of course their warnings invariably turn out to be false. In fact, since the demise of the long gun registry the homicide rate has declined to its lowest point since the 60's. Nevertheless there will be some blowback regarding the bill from the usual suspects like the Coalition fo Gun Control, the RCMP, the CFO’s and the NDP and Liberals. By fast tracking the bill, when the election rolls around in October the average voter it will have forgotten it.
The following article contains the key points in the bill as well as some of the concerns we raised in our recommendations.
You now need to contact your local Conservative MP as well as Safety Minister Blaney, voice you support for the bill and urge them to pass it as quickly as possible. Remind them that both your financial support and your involvement in assisting in the next election will be determined by how far the bill goes in making life easier for law-abiding gun owners. The election is expected to be very competitive and many ridings will likely be decided by a few hundred votes so your vote is critical to them.
In the meantime enjoy the rest of the summer and have a safe shooting season and hunting season this fall.
Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act
On July 23, 2014 Safety Minister Steven Blaney announced that the Conservative government would be introducing the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act in the fall.
The exact text of the act is not available but here are the major points that will be included in it along with some concerns that TSCON raised in its recommendations.
1.Merge the Possession Only License (POL) and the Possession and Acquisition license (PAL)
Comment ‑ This proposal makes sense but must include all classes of firearms including prohibited classes
2. End the Authorization to Transport (ATT) system for target shooting
Comment ‑ This is an excellent idea as it takes authority away from the CFOs. However, it must include ALL lawful transport purposes (e.g. picking a gun up from the post office, transport to a gunsmith, etc. ), not just transport to shooting ranges.
3. Restrict the ability of Chief Firearms Officers (CFO's) to make arbitrary decisions
Comment ‑ Ideally CFO's should be eliminated. That is unlikely to happen so this directive must be wide ranging enough to go beyond the intent of just preventing the CFOs from imposing arbitrary licence and ATT conditions under Section 58(1) to other aspects like range inspections.
4. Create a grace period at the end of a five‑year license expiry to prevent criminal charges for expired paperwork
Comment ‑ The expiration date on a piece of paper should never be grounds for a criminal conviction and a jail sentence.
A true solution to this problem is a lifetime licence. If a person never breaks the law their licence never expires so no one could be charged with having an expired licence. Currently the RCMP utilizes what is called 'continuous eligibility screening" which literally checks the validity of an individual's licence every day. If a person is arrested or convicted their name is entered in the police database and this creates a 'hit' when the name is run through the system. This 'hit' would initiate an immediate licence revocation.
With 2 million licence holders in Canada, 400,000 licences a year (about 1500 per day) must be reviewed and reissued. Instead of focussing on the 99.9% of licence holders who have not broken the law, why not focus on the .1% of licence holders who have?
Lifetime licencing would save millions of dollars a year with NO increase to the risk to public safety.
5. Create mandatory firearms safety courses for first time gun owners
Comment ‑ On first inspection this seems like a good idea. However, it has the following flaws:
i) The courses are far too expensive. Some instructors are charging up to $330 for a two day course. This plus a licence ($60 or $80), club membership ($100 to $1000+) and a firearm excludes many potential shooters from getting into the sport.
ii) There is a shortage of instructors and the wait to get into a course may be months. This situation will worsen as people who could challenge the test will have to take the course. Instructor courses need to be made widely available to increase the number of instructors and decrease wait times.
iii) There should be exemptions like the military and police who have firearm experience but have never owned a firearm. Why should an army veteran who served in Afghanistan, fired machine guns, rocket launchers, sniper rifles and handguns for 20 years have to sit through a two day course to learn to load a single shot Cooey .22?
iv) For some people it is just not practical. Far north residents may live 500 km from the nearest instructor. Other people may work steady weekends when the vast majority of courses are conducted. An alternate system for people in these situations needs to exist.
6. Strengthen firearms prohibitions for those who are convicted of domestic violence offences
Comment ‑ Of course violent offenders should be denied access to firearms. However, this proposal requires a safety mechanism to prevent abuse by vindictive spouses.
Judges already have the power to impose firearm prohibitions so how will this change?
7. The amnesty for law‑abiding owners of the CZ 858 or Swiss Arms family of rifles will expire on March 14, 2016. The Order Declaring an Amnesty Period (2014) will allow owners of the impacted firearms to use their property.
Comment ‑ Any proposal which keeps these firearms in the prohibited class, even if it allows current owners to keep and use them is unsatisfactory because:
i) they can only be sold to other persons in that class which great devalues the firearm due to a limited number of purchasers.
ii) the firearms cannot be passed on to heirs as few of them would be grandfathered to own them.
iii) under current legislation they can`t be used as CFOs will not issue ATTs to take them to a shooting range. They also cannot be used for hunting.
iv) when all grandfathered owners die their firearms will be confiscated by the government with no compensation paid to the estate. The concept of the government allowing valuable pieces of property to be seized with no compensation is simply an affront to democracy.
The solution is to rewrite Section 12 of the Firearms Act which deals with prohibited firearms.. The current categories of firearms may be retained (i.e. prohibited, restricted, non‑restricted) but firearms would be placed into the categories based on clearly defined criteria as opposed to the current system that seems to defy all logic.
While the entire concept 'good guns' and 'bad guns' is inherently flawed, full autos would probably continue to
be prohibited but any non‑full‑auto long gun (regardless of cosmetic appearance) which is 660 mm (26 inches) or more in length would be classified as non‑restricted. Any firearm under the length of 660 mm and designed to be fired with one hand (i.e a "handgun") would be restricted.
Such a system would remove the arbitrary nature of firearm classifications which at present is largely incoherent. Because the criteria for the various classes would be clearly defined the potential for abuse by the RCMP in reclassifying firearms (as happened with the CZ858 and Swiss Arms rifles) would be greatly minimized.
If the proposed changes in the Bill are carefully crafted and the CZ858/Swiss Arms issue is dealt with satisfactorily the Conservatives should see a resurgence of support both in terms of money and 'boots on the ground' support for the party leading into the next election. We hope minister Blaney recognizes that if properly written this bill can garner huge support for his party in the next election but a weak bill will have the opposite effect and with a close election expected that’s a chance he should not be taking.
Bruce Montague Update
Bruce lost his case at the Ontario Court of Appeals to have some of the property returned that was seized in the initial raid on his home. We`re truly not surprised given some of the idiots who pass for judges these days.
What was surprising was the amount of coverage this decision got in the media, nearly all of it siding with Bruce. For example, the National Post said “The seizure of property, particularly homes from non-violent is a punitive step that simply goes too far.” We totally agree.
Remember that Bruce harmed no one, profited nothing and made no attempt to evade authorities. For that he got 18 months in jail, lost $100,000 in personal property and may lose his home. In contrast, ex-Liberal MP and London mayor Joe Fontana forged documents, stole taxpayer money and then lied about doing it. His penalty? Four months of house arrest and a $2700 fine. Now that sounds real fair, doesn’t it?
Bruce is considering appealing to the Supreme Court and we hope he does. The more these witch hunts are brought in the open the sooner they will be stopped.
We urge you to make a tax refundable ($25 or more) donation to the Canadian Constitution Foundation which is handling Bruce’s case. Be sure to note that you are donating to the Bruce Montague case.
1830 ‑ 52 Street SE
Calgary, AB T2B 1N1
Normally TSCON doesn’t get involved in municipal politics. However, there are situations where gun owners are affected by the actions of local municipal politicians. A case in point is the recent attempt by the Niagara Region to close the former Niagara Regional Police Revolver Club. The complaints of one neighbour plus misleading information from some Region staff nearly caused the loss of the club.
For that reason we think it is important to know who opposed us and will likely do the same in the future. If they are running they are not worthy of your vote:
Brian Baty - also sits on the Niagara Escarpment Commission which ruined Bob Mackie’s archery club
Barb Greenwood - promised to vote to save the club, then voted against it
Brian Heit - the only councillor to vote against every single motion in favour of the club
Tim Rigby - complained that he was getting too many calls in support of the gun club (seriously, we’re not kidding)
Debbie Zimmerman - not running again (thankfully)
Grimsby Mayor Bob Bentley - aptly described by one of our members as “the weasel of Grimsby”. He never asked a single question about the club in 3 council meetings but voted against it anyway.
Jeff Burch (running for mayor of St. Catharines) - helped cause the shutdown of the St. Catharines Gun Club, then claimed to not know the club existed (even though it has operated in his ward for over 50 years!)
NOTE: On the other hand, two councillors who really fought for the club and are deserving of your vote if they run again are Andy Petrowski and Bruce Timms. Without their efforts the club would not have survived.
Thanks to everyone who made the CSSA’s Annual General Meeting in Niagara Falls on April 26 a huge success. Over 200 people attended and were treated to some excellent presentations, a great meal and lots of draw prizes.
Thanks for the great support Niagara gun owners!
Firearm Legal Defence Insurance
A year ago we reported on a enterprise called Firearm Legal Defence which pays legal fees, court costs and time off work in case of court action as well as providing unlimited access to confidential legal advice from a qualified lawyer through their toll‑free Legal Advice Helpline. The cost for a year of protection is $95 (plus tax where applicable) and you can get a $10 discount if you are a CSSA member.
We consulted the CSSA’s insurer and he assures us that this is a legitimate enterprise. In fact, one of our members reports that while FLD has had no claims on the insurance policies so far the unlimited free legal advice service has been used a lot and speculates that the legal advice makes for proactive and preventive actions and when police learn that a suspect has legal coverage they aren't so aggressive as it's tougher to bully someone who can fight back.
Check out: www.firearmlegaldefence.com
TSCON is not affiliated with Firearm Legal Defence and receives no financial or other benefits from the company. We forward this information as a public service only.
If you received a 2015 membership card in this mailing you are NOT a current member of TSCON.
Non-members receive only one newsletter a year. Can you afford to be uninformed about the firearm issue? Not if you care about your guns, you can’t!
Please take the time to renew right now. Maybe even throw in a few extra dollars as a donation if you can spare them.
Please remember to wear red on Fridays to show your support for our troops.
TSCON Meeting Schedule
TSCON meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. A complete meeting schedule for 2014 is posted on our website. Newsletters and gun shows will still continue as before.
TSCON Decals and Bumper Stickers
TSCON now has several styles of multi-coloured TSCON decals for sale. They are available with adhesive back to stick anywhere or static cling design for car windows or other smooth surfaces. The price is only $1 ea. so get yours for your car, gun box, etc. at the gun show.
We also have “Long Gun Registry Gone, More Bad Gun Laws Next” bumper stickers available for sale at $2 each. Get them at the TSCON table at the gun show.
Your Rights are in the Cards!
Our laminated wallet-sized printed cards declaring your right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer when you are stopped by the police are still available. Be aware of your rights. For only $1 per card it is the cheapest legal protection you can get. If you want cards mailed to you please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your request.
More info on this is on our website in archived copies of newsletter Vol. 11 #4 and Vol. 12 #1.
Gun Show Dates
Dates for our next 2014 gun shows are as follows: Dec. 12
Gun Show Location
Merritton Community Centre, 7 Park Ave., St. Catharines. If you want tables for the Sept. 5, 2014 show contact John Orth right away @ 905-562-7686.
THIS SHOW IS NEARLY SOLD OUT SO IF YOU WANT TABLES, CALL EARLY!
Notice to Gun Show Vendors
If you can’t make it to a gun show DO NOT call the Merritton Community Centre unless it is the day of the show after 3:00 PM. There is seldom anyone at the hall to answer the phone and your message WILL NOT BE PASSED ON TO US IN TIME.
If you are going to be late ON THE DAY OF THE GUN SHOW you should call John Orth ASAP at the Merritton Community Centre (905-682-0098) so he can hold your tables. Otherwise, they will be rented to walk-in vendors after the 6:00 p.m. cutoff.
Walk-Ins With Guns
If you are bringing guns to the gun show to sell it must be checked by TSCON security at the admission gate to ensure that it is in a safe condition and unloaded. The firearm must also have a trigger lock (available for purchase) or zip tie (also available) and the action must be open. Anyone not complying with this procedure will not be allowed to bring their firearms into the show.
Free Classified Ads
Classified ads for shooting related items are free for members. Please call 905-685-4480 and submit ads by the dates listed for inclusion in the next newsletter:
>Vol. 20 #4 Nov. 10, 2014 >Vol. 21 #1 Jan. 26, 2015
Remember that you have to call each time you want the ad to run. It WILL NOT be repeated without your confirmation.
For Sale: Lever action hammer locks. For most lever and single hammer guns. Won’t damage the stock or metal parts. They fit through the lever and behind the hammer, preventing the hammer from being cocked. Quantity of 3 or more can be shipped at reasonable shipping cost via Canada Post. Call for info on shipping costs. $5 ea. Cable Locks ‑ $5.00 ea.,
15" cable locks with keys. Good for pistols, lever guns and some shotguns. Two cable diameters are available all plastic coated to protect your firearm.
Metal Trigger Locks (keyed alike), 1 lock @ $6.50, 3 locks @ $15.00 Call Lorie 905‑295‑8364
or see me at the gun show
For Sale: Lee Enfield #5 MKI, Fazakerley, .303, VG, asking $350 OBO.
Winchester Model 69A, 22 S,L,LR, 5 round mag, G, asking $200 OBO Call Steve 905-641-2488
Where? St. Catharines Game and Fish Building next to the boat ramp on Lighthouse Road in St. Catharines in Port Dalhousie
When? 2nd & 4thWednesday of each month at 7:00 PM Who? Members and non‑ members alike are welcome to attend .
TSCON Web Site
Comments or suggestions?? Call Vlad at 905-371-1563 or John at 905-562-7686
General 905-685-4480 Membership 905-685‑8826 Gun Show 905-562‑7686
Mail TSCON, Box21047, St. Catharines, ON, L2M 7X2
Moved, Address Changes, Etc.
To notify us of address changes, duplicate mailings, to be removed from the mailing list or to request a copy of the newsletter call 905‑685‑8826.
"A gun in the hands of a bad man is a very dangerous thing. A gun in the hands of a good person is no danger to anyone except the bad guys." ‑ Charlton Heston, 1997
DRAW PRIZE WINNERS
The following members are winners in our latest draw. Call Gerry at 905-685-4480 to arrange to claim your prize.
Winner Prize Donated By
Alan Gent (Welland) TSCON T-shirt The Sporting Clubs of Niagara
Charles Hadfield (St. Catharines) Gun Cleaning Kit The Sporting Clubs of Niagara
Harold Jonah (Toronto) 2015 TSCON membership The Sporting Clubs of Niagara
Daniel Powell (Niagara Falls) Free PAL Test (transferrable) Firearms Education School (John Kellaway)
>>G UN S HOW<<
Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, 6:00-9:30 pm
Merritton Community Centre, 7 Park Ave.
Buy, Sell or Trade, 130+ tables of Antique and Modern Firearms, Knives, Hunting Accessories, Militaria, Books and Gun Parts
For tables or information call John @ 905-562‑7686
“Remember Bill C-68 When You Vote”