Guilty until proven guilty

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Chief Firearms Officers treat sport shooters as criminals-in-waiting

CSSA/CILAThe more that Chief Firearms Offices (CFOs) across Canada try to tread on sport shooters, the more it appears they are simply interested in preserving their own jobs. It’s the other cash-for-life lottery.

Canadians are coughing up oodles of tax dollars to support CFOs in their self-serving job-creation programs. We encourage all target shooters, hunters, farmers and trappers to join the chorus and tell your federal representatives: Enough already!

Let’s take a look at how unnecessary the CFOs have become in the sport shooting big picture. Ontario Chief Firearms Officer Chris Wyatt held “court” last weekend to explain the rationale for rules that are useless and beyond annoying. Wyatt admitted that he permitted 33,000 Applications To Transport (ATTs) and has never revoked one for cause. This rubber-stamp process to transport restricted and prohibited firearms is pure folly, and was never designed to rein in real criminals. It simply puts a piece of paper in the good guys’ gun cases. Meanwhile, as infrastructure crumbles across the country, this is what the government wants to spend our money on.

Some firearms ranges web sites have posted an open “invitation” for any sport shooter to print, sign and transport their guns. CFO Wyatt stands behind these blanket invitations that “authorize” sport shooters to transport their restricted and prohibited firearms. Who does this help? Want to drive your gun across a province or two? Just print an invitation from a range on the other end and you’re golden. The range doesn’t want to see it, and the cops won’t ask you to produce it because most police officers don’t know these invitations even exist. At the risk of repeating ourselves, who does this help? It is sheer bureaucratic nonsense that CFOs pretend they were forced to require by the courts. The CFOs themselves have fabricated the need. We believe sport shooters should not have to comply with silly rules invoked by a CFO with the stroke of a crayon.

You don’t reside in Ontario? You’re still not safe from the wrath of bureaucratic silliness. The Ontario CFO is training all new range inspectors for Newfoundland and New Brunswick. The stream of asinine regulation is becoming a national flood, and it must be sandbagged.

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The British Columbia CFO is still under fire for his antics two years running at the Prince George Gun Show. One of the show attendees has written a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him to reprimand B.C. CFO Ron Hardy to task for requiring metal trigger locks on display guns. The letter writer accuses Hardy of abusing his position of authority and bullying gun show exhibitors and their customers.

“He is harassing gun owners simply because he CAN,” says the letter. “Creating law is a function of Parliament, and democratic process is followed. Gun owners are expected to follow the rules, and so to are CFC employees… he called me a liar to my face! This man is a representative of the Government to the people. It is his job to behave in a professional and respectable manner.” The writer proceeds to challenge the prime minister to take measures that will bring the CFO to heel, and the petition he circulated shows he’s not alone.

These reasons (and many others) are driving the CSSA to advocate that regional CFOs be put out to pasture. At the very least, give us public servants who are dedicated to facilitating sport shooters’ needs. It’s also why CSSA acting executive director Tony Bernardo is taking CFO Wyatt to court to demonstrate that ATTs have no credence or useful purpose.

And you can help make it happen. Donations to this challenge may be made to: “ATT Challenge”, 116 Galaxy Blvd, Etobicoke ON M9W 4Y6. Or donate by phone 416-679-9959, Fax 416-679-9910, Toll Free: 1-888-873-4339 or the Web at: www.cdnshootingsports.org

There will be plenty of legal fees to pay before we can get rid of the CFOs – if you are a sport shooter, you have something to gain. The alternative is to simply obey, and compliance is not an option. Is it?

CSSA CFO Petition
CSSA CFO Petition
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