Becoming the hunted


The hunting season has a special flavour this year, for I am a daily criminal. No joke: my crime is potentially punishable by 10 years in jail according to the Criminal Code, as amended in 1995.

by Pierre Lemieux
Ottawa Citizen

The hunting season has a special flavour this year, for I am a daily criminal. No joke: my crime is potentially punishable by 10 years in jail according to the Criminal Code, as amended in 1995.

Several months ago, when my firearms licence expired, as it does every five years, I filed all the required documents but with a little tweak. I refused to answer question 6(d): “During the past two (2) years, have you experienced a divorce, a separation, a breakdown of a significant relationship, job loss or bankruptcy?” I wrote, “My love affairs are none of your business.”

This is verbatim. I filled the form in English, in order to put it for everybody to see on the World Wide Web. If you are as interested in my life as the state is, check my completed form at

I had provided the same answer on the similar forms I had to fill in 1995 and 2001. At that time, the bureaucrats issued my licence anyway. The bureaucrats are the Sûreté du Québec (the Québec provincial police), which administers federal firearms controls on behalf of the Canada Firearms Centre. Not that they are worse than their counterparts outside of Quebec; they are probably not.

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But things have obviously changed. This time, after I submitted the renewal documents, they did not reply, nor even acknowledge receipt. I conjecture that they have become much more self-righteous and assured of their ultimate victory against our traditional liberties, now that they have a law-and-order government in Ottawa. Without a gun licence, I am now a daily criminal.

Note that the firearms licence is something different from the so called “gun registry.” Even if your guns are legally registered — indeed, especially if they are legally registered! — you cannot keep them if you don’t have the personal gun licence that expires every five years.

Hunting or walking armed in my forest, I often think of my French-Canadian ancestors and especially the coureurs des bois — those who, in the 17th and 18th centuries, spent months travelling in the woods to trade fur with the Indians.

Some of them, like Pierre-Esprit Radisson (1636-1710) and Médard Chouart Des Groseilliers (1618-1696?), were also voyagers and explorers. Returning from one of their expeditions, Radisson and Des Groseilliers were fined and saw their furs seized by the French governor. They defected to New England, where they persuaded merchants to finance them, contributing to the creation of the Hudson Bay Company. Too bad Radisson and Des Groseilliers are not with us today. They would no doubt view our rulers with the same contempt they had for the French governor. And they would not beg for a gun licence.

I live on a 24-acre piece of forest land, in the middle of nowhere: last telephone pole on an unpaved road, broadband Internet by satellite only, and just the wild forest out of my office window. But this does not change my paper crime. Even on my own land, in my own house, in my own bedroom, I cannot keep legally acquired guns without, every five years, telling the state about my love affairs, and submitting to other indignities.

They will claim their interest in my love life stems from the fear I will shoot a girlfriend, or commit suicide (as if my body did not belong to me). How altruistic of them! Strangely enough, they don’t ask questions about my race, or if I am into drugs or alcohol, all of which are more important statistical factors in crime. Similarly, when granting gun licences, they don’t take into consideration the fact that, compared to the general population, police officers’ suicide rate is often higher, lawyers’ suicide rate is six times higher, women with breast implants are three times more likely to commit suicide, and so are compulsive gamblers, say, in government casinos.

Who has any interest in my not having guns? I can think of only two sorts of guys: thugs and tyrants.

Pierre Lemieux is an economist in the Department of Management Sciences at the Université du Québec en Outaouais.


Original source: / Ottawa Citizen

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