Reclassification and Registries: Why you should care

August 18, 2017
Mark Johnson, Contributor, Conservative Futures
Mark Johnson has spent the last decade as a senior advisor to Conservative politicians, including two consecutive federal Ministers of Public Safety.

My name is Mark and I'm a gun owner.

That's almost how you have to start any conversation on firearms and Canada’s ludicrous gun laws. There are a lot of Canadians, mostly urban, who assume that the only people who own guns are criminals and rednecks preparing for the apocalypse. Many people start with the assumption that there is no legitimate reason for an ordinary person to own any firearms.

Conversely, people in the firearms community often pretend that everyone is as comfortable with firearms as we are. It's often taken as an article of faith that people understand why we want to get rid of useless rules that don't make anyone safer. 

The reality is that many people don't understand. Many people don't have a lot of experience with guns, or know anyone who does. This is starting to change as hunting and sport shooting become more popular with Millennials. But we are still many years from shooting sports becoming mainstream.

So, for those who often wonder why conservatives are so concerned about firearms, here are the top three reasons why you should also care.

Parliament has only cast broad definitions of what should be prohibited, restricted or readily available to licensed gun owners. The rest of this power has been delegated to bureaucrats who either propose changes to regulations, or more often simply “reinterpret” what the law means.  In one case in 2015, it was determined that a certain small calibre rifle was non-restricted, but if a plastic shell was added to the outside to make it look like an AK-47 (while not changing any internal components),
it was prohibited. It's as if putting a Ferrari body kit on a lawn mower engine makes a lawn mower a sports car – and should be taxed accordingly. If this type of logic was applied to other categories of property, people would be up in arms, no pun intended.


This is the ugly step sister of classification. Not only are bureaucrats making decisions without any sort of oversight from those who are elected by and accountable to Canadians, but they are also able to arbitrarily change their mind. We've seen a couple examples of this in the last few years. First, we saw the move to prohibit the CZ-858 and Swiss Arms rifles. These rifles had been sold as non-restricted firearms in Canada for a decade or more.  Overnight, bureaucrats decided these rifles ought to be prohibited and that anyone owning these should be subject to serious prison time.  Fortunately, the previous Conservative government took action to create a mechanism to overturn this decision. (Full disclosure: I worked in the Office of Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and worked very closely on this file.)

More recently, certain magazines (the part of the firearm that holds the ammunition cartridges) for the Ruger 10/22 rifle were deemed to be prohibited devices. Once again, these had been sold in Canada for many years. Once again, those who own them are potentially subject to serious prison time. No one would stand for the government saying that your car or your electronics are perfectly fine to own today, but tomorrow owning it might send you to prison.


This is probably one of the most easily understood problems with Canada's gun control system. In the 90s, the Liberal government spent over $2 billion to create a long-gun registry, ostensibly to track rifles and shotguns. It didn't do a whole lot and was an egregious waste of money. Many Canadians got on board with scrapping this boondoggle, which the previous Conservative government did in 2012. 

However, there is a bigger problem here. First, when the government either keeps or requires the keeping of this sort of registry, it is first and foremost an invasion of privacy. If the items are legal to own and use, why add the extra layer of bureaucracy? The fact is that law-abiding gun owners are already tracked via licensing. Second, and more fundamental in this case, it creates a possible shopping list for criminals. Hacks and data breaches of corporations and governments are all too
common. In fact, there was even an unauthorized disclosure of data from the former gun registry. This information in the hands of someone looking to steal guns to divert to the criminal market is very problematic. 

A lot of folks on the right, who aren't particularly aware of live issues around firearms, tend to think the fight is over because the long gun registry was destroyed, and some tweaks were made in the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act. This could not be further from the truth.

First, those concerned about private property rights in Canada should be very concerned about aspects of firearms law. There is a long way to go to build a system that both takes measures to keep Canadians safe from gun crime, but does not unnecessarily burden those who obey the law.

Second, the Liberals have a bad track record on respecting gun rights. Their platform has a lot of concerning language relating to banning firearms commonly used for sport shooting. What's more, they have introduced a bill to assist the Government of Quebec in building their provincial long gun registry.

Those of us who own guns, as well as those of us who value small government and property rights, need to make sure the pressure stays on the government – regardless of which party is in power

COMMENTARY: RCMP "Safe Cities" Project Targets Newfoundland Gun Owners
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) will target the most law-abiding segment of Canadian society with their “Safe Cities” project, announced August 17, 2017.
Their joint press release starts off with an interesting statement:
“Letters have been sent to owners of unregistered firearms giving them the opportunity to comply with the current legislation.”

How would the police know who own unregistered firearms? What they meant, presumably, is the RCMP sent letters to all gun owners whose Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) expired.
This letter gives firearm owners “the opportunity to comply with the current legislation.”
The second prong of their “Safe Cities” initiative sends armed RCMP and/or RNC members to “the homes of firearms owners whose restricted and/or prohibited gun registrations have lapsed.”
Under the “Safe Cities” project, police will attend the home of every expired PAL license holder and, in addition to ensuring the individual complies with the licensing requirement for firearm ownership, attending police officers will “also pass along information on how to properly store and transport firearms and ammunition.”
When police “pass along information” on these subjects, they will probably inspect the homeowner’s current firearm and ammunition storage systems to ensure those storage systems “comply with the current legislation.”
Thanks to the Firearms Act of 1995, there is little you can do to prevent those searches either.
Both the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code of Canada specifically allow warrantless inspection of a gun owner’s home. A Firearms Officer that wishes to inspect your firearms will demand
you arrange a “mutually convenient time” within 48 hours. Your refusal to do so may be considered grounds for a search warrant under the Firearms Act, Section 104 (2).
104 (1) An inspector may not enter a dwelling-house under section 102 except
(a) on reasonable notice to the owner or occupant, except where a business is being carried on in the dwelling-house; and
(b) with the consent of the occupant or under a warrant.

     (2) A justice who on ex parte application is satisfied by information on oath
(a) that the conditions for entry described in section 102 exist in relation to a dwelling-house,
(b) that entry to the dwelling-house is necessary for any purpose relating to the enforcement of this Act or the regulations, and
(c) that entry to the dwelling-house has been refused or that there are reasonable grounds for believing that entry will be refused

may issue a warrant authorizing the inspector named in it to enter that dwelling-house subject to any conditions that may be specified in the warrant.
Combined with Section 117.02 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, Sections 102 and 104 of the Firearms Act ensure police may enter your home “on reasonable notice to the owner or occupant” to “inspect” your firearms, their storage and anything else “necessary for any purpose relating to the enforcement of this Act or the regulations.”
117.02 (1) Where a peace officer believes on reasonable grounds
(a) that a weapon, an imitation firearm, a prohibited device, any ammunition, any prohibited ammunition or an explosive substance was used in the commission of an offence, or
(b) that an offence is being committed, or has been committed, under any provision of this Act that involves, or the subject-matter of which is, a firearm, an imitation firearm, a cross-bow, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or an explosive substance,

and evidence of the offence is likely to be found on a person, in a vehicle or in any place or premises other than a dwelling-house, the peace officer may, where the conditions for obtaining a warrant exist but, by reason of exigent circumstances, it would not be practicable to obtain a warrant, search, without warrant, the person, vehicle, place or premises, and seize any thing by means of or in relation to which that peace officer believes on reasonable grounds the offence is being committed or has been committed.
An expired firearms license may give police all the legal justification
required to enter your home without a warrant under Section 117.02 (1)(b).
The “offence being committed, or has been committed” is unauthorized possession of a firearm as defined in Sections 91 and 92 of the Criminal Code.
Your only defence to the crime of unauthorized possession of a firearm is a valid Possession and Acquisition License, the very thing you do not have or the RCMP and RNC would not send you a letter and knock on your front door in the first place.
It makes no difference that you did not threaten anyone. It makes no difference that you did not hurt anyone, and it makes no difference that you're a nice person. It doesn’t even matter if your firearms never left your gun safe. Those firearms remain in your possession and that criminal offence allows police to enter and search your home.
While the press release makes no mention of seizing firearms from unlicensed firearm owners, that too is a very real possibility.
*URGENT: If your Possession and Acquisition License is expired, renew it immediately. Ensure you keep a record of the date and time you sent in your renewal form. If sending your renewal by mail, require a signature for receipt. Ensure you are in full compliance with the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations.
*Take advantage of the protection assured by Firearms Legal Defence insurance. Your CSSA discount code is: CSSA002 and it is very inexpensive. For details, visit
*Know who your lawyer is and ensure they attend any inspection of your home.
(Full Safe Storage Regulations)
· (Safe Storage Basics)

Meet The Canadian Who's Now Being Prosecuted For Self-Defense
by Aaron Bandler | The Daily Wire | August 1, 2017

A Canadian man defended himself during a home invasion, and now he's being prosecuted for doing so.

Canada. Here's another similar example: (H/T: St. Catherines Standard)

The whole thing reminds me of Ian Thomson, an Ontario man who went through a similar ordeal a few years ago. In that case, Thomson woke up to four men throwing Molotov cocktails at his home. Living a long way from police the former firearms instructor fired warning shots at his assailants, put out the fire that could have burned down his home and then called police.

He was charged and also faced more jail time than his attackers.

Thomson was acquitted but not before he was forced through a lengthy court battle that has ruined him financially.

As the aforementioned column goes on to state, a law was passed under Prime Minister Stephen Harper to prevent jail time against those defending themselves, yet Michael Woodard faced charges for doing just that against three home invaders.

See the story: e=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=080117-news&utm_ca mpaign=benshapiro

Catch 22- If you can get your gun and ammo fast enough to make a difference, then you absolutely have broken the law! Typical totalitarian horse manure!
Matt Gurney: Ian Thomson acquitted after shooting at his attackers
After three men tried to burn down his home while he was inside it, Ian Thomson shot at them with a legally owned gun. He was charged with four crimes. He never should have been charged in the first place. But an acquittal on all counts will have to do.
Adrian Humphreys/National Post

It took two and a half years, but Port Colborne, Ont., resident Ian Thomson is finally done defending himself. First he fought the men who tried to murder him. Then, his own government.
Mr. Thomson had long been involved in an increasingly angry property dispute with his neighbour. Early one August morning in 2010, four masked men shouting death threats began hurling firebombs at Mr. Thomson’s home. One of his pet dogs was injured; several fires in and around his home were set.
Mr. Thomson, an experienced firearms instructor, called 911 immediately. He also armed himself with a .38 calibre revolver, stepped outside his home and fired three shots — one into his lawn, and two into a stand of trees. His attackers fled, and were later arrested. All four pleaded guilty to arson and disregard for human life, and were sentenced to between two and three years in prison.

So ended the first threat against Mr. Thomson. The next began immediately thereafter.

Mr. Thomson was charged with four crimes: careless use of a firearm, pointing a firearm and two charges of careless storage of a firearm, one for each of the pistols he had removed from his gun safe (the second, a 9mm pistol, was never fired during the incident). The first two charges were dropped — it’s hard to imagine a more cut-and-dry case of lawful self defence than firing on men trying to burn down your home while you’re inside it. But the Crown insisted on pursuing the charges of careless storage.

On Friday, an Ontario judge acquitted Mr. Thomson of both those charges.

The Crown had pursued two avenues of prosecution. First, it contended that Mr. Thomson kept at least one of his guns in his bedside table, not in a legally mandated secure locking container. As evidence, they pointed to the fact that when police arrived, they found the guns in his bedroom, as well as a box of ammunition in the bedside table.

Nonsense. The guns were out because he’d just been fighting for his life. And a box of ammunition in his bedside table is proof only that Mr. Thomson kept a box of ammunition in his bedside table. If we accepted the Crown’s logic, I would apparently be in the habit of parking my car in my bedroom because I drop my car key onto a shelf there every evening.

The judge found that video surveillance captured by Mr. Thomson’s security cameras offered convincing evidence that Mr. Thomson did not have easy and immediate access to his firearms. There was a gap of a minute between the attack beginning and Mr. Thomson opening fire — time during which Mr. Thomson claimed he was opening his gun safe to arm himself. The judge accepted this.

But the Crown had also tried a novel argument — they contended that Mr. Thomson was guilty of unsafe storage because his ammunition was not stored in a securely 
Canadian law notes that, “Every person commits an offence who, without lawful excuse, uses, carries, handles, ships, transports or stores a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition in a careless manner or without reasonable precautions for the safety of other persons.” (Emphasis mine.) But there are no further references to what would constitute careless storage of ammunition — one reason Canadian gun owners have long complained that the Firearms Act is a poorly written mess.

The law specifies that firearms must not be readily accessible to ammunition, but also notes that firearms and ammunition can be stored in the same locked container. OK, then. And no definition of “readily accessible” is provided, either.

The judge ultimately ruled that the exact details of where or how the ammunition was stored did not matter. It only mattered that a loaded firearm not be readily accessible at any time, and since Mr. Thomson’s guns were stored in a locked container, that was the case. The judge rejected the Crown’s suggestion that Mr. 
Thomson’s bedroom was too close to his guns, noting the law says nothing about proximity of firearms and ammunition. Having rejected both of the Crown’s arguments, the judge acquitted Mr. Thomson.

There’s all kinds of good news here. First and foremost, Mr. Thomson did nothing wrong and should never have been charged in the first place. But an acquittal on all counts will have to do. Second, there is further clarification of Canada’s sloppy gun laws, and a reasonable one, at that.

And best of all, a message has been sent to overreaching Crown attorneys. Canadians have the right to use firearms to defend themselves and their homes. Mr. Thomson’s victory will hopefully spare the next Canadian who defends themselves with a lawfully owned firearm the expense and ordeal of a long legal battle against their own government.

National Post
 Mr. Thomson’s victory will hopefully spare the next Canadian who defends themselves with a lawfully owned firearm the expense and ordeal of a long legal battle against their own government.
Obviously not quite !

More Insanity: Canadian man charged with attempted murder after wrestling away gun, shooting suspect
Posted on August 3, 2017 by DCG | 43 Comments
Canada now criminalizes self-defense.

From Breitbart  (by AWR Hawkins): A man in Halifax, Nova Scotia, faces numerous charges—including attempted murder—after wrestling a gun away from a home invasion suspect and shooting him with it.

According to the Herald, “Three men entered the residence with guns and a struggle took place with two men inside.” The two men inside the home managed to take away one of the guns and “several shots were fired as the suspects fled.” One of the suspects was shot and suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Kyle Earl Munroe was arrested and “charged with attempted murder and a raft of firearms offences after helping fend off [the] home invaders, one of whom he’s now charged with shooting.”

The precise charges he faces are “attempted murder, intent to discharge a firearm, intent to discharge a firearm when being reckless, careless use of a firearm, improper storage of a firearm, pointing a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm knowing that possession is unauthorized, and possession for the purpose of trafficking.”

Public Prosecution Service spokeswoman Chris Hansen stresses, “Right now they’re just pending charges,” but the point is still clear. Namely, that sitting quietly while governments pass more and more gun control is a recipe for disaster, as far as freedom is concerned. Seemingly benign laws like gun storage requirements and trigger lock requirements and more aggressive controls like firearm registration rules and magazine bans all portend a situation where a law-aiding citizen in the U.S. uses a gun in self-defense only to face prosecution for failing to jump through the proper bureaucratic hoops beforehand.

Gun controls—regardless of how seemingly minuscule in the bigger picture—pile upon each other and empower criminals while tying the hands of would-be victims.