Ottawa, we have a problem

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But you can easily fix it

CSSA/CILAby CSSA/CILA

The will of Parliament clearly states that non-restricted firearms transfer information must not be kept since the long-gun registry has been scrapped. So, where’s the beef?

The recording of transfer information for non-restricted firearms continues, in spite of the orders passed down by our elected federal MPs to cease and desist. The registry data is obviously old, wonky and inaccurate, but a future government might still pretend to resurrect it to fool Canadians into thinking they will be safer. The NDP is on the record as saying it would kick-start the whole circus all over again. Gun records need to be treated with the scorched-earth treatment they deserve. The government should be saddened to know that 99.999 percent of gun owners believe there are long-gun registry copies hidden in the bottom drawer at every cop shop. Much of the goodwill that the government intended to bank from Bill C-19 is in the wind.

There remain multi-millions of firearms records in circulation that Parliament mandated to be destroyed. Given that the federal government has given the order to stop recording sales transactions, it seems odd that they turn a blind eye as it continues, leading one to believe they do not know. Part of the problem lies in the complexity of firearms legislation – few Canadians understand what the laws mean, and this includes the majority of MPs on Parliament Hill. They don’t complain because they don’t understand how their orders are being completely ignored by those who inhabit Canada’s Chief Firearms Offices (CFOs).

It appears that records continue to be kept even for the exempt non-restricted transfers by the majority of dealers across Canada in the CFO’s “Ledgers” resident in gun shops. The books remain the property of the CFO and subject to their inspection at any time. Not surprisingly, the dealers and distributors who must continue to serve at the pleasure of CFOs are loathe to do anything that would invite the interest or wrath of the CFO. It could be a bad career move for businesses to anger a CFO, so many continue to write down all transfers in the CFO’s ledgers, including the sale of exempt non-restricted firearms. How is this different from maintaining a firearms registry?

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Without question, firearms dealers need to maintain some form of sales records for inventory and warranty purposes, but there is no reason to continue using a government-owned book that the CFO can scoop without a warrant. When a CFO calls the ledger in to his office, all transfer information is at the tip of his fingers, which is exactly why the Conservatives scrapped the registry in the first place. There is no need to record firearms transactions that involve citizens who are previously deemed trustworthy.

We can tell with some certainty, that not one single ledger record has been destroyed, despite legislation that demands it.

Where are the MPs with the verve they should be using to protect this information? Why have the government and RCMP that monitor this situation refused to take corrective action against civil servant CFOs that simply thumb their collective nose at Parliament? Furthermore, why has there been no disciplinary action – including dismissal– against those who openly defy the will of Parliament and the laws it has passed? It sets a frightening precedent when a defiant bureaucracy can disobey the law and ignore elected officials in Ottawa with no adverse consequences. By extension, our democratic process is inviting a police state mentality with open arms.

Think we’re exaggerating? Despite the tremendous work of M.P.’s like Cheryl Gallant and Garry Breitkreuz, the feds have been no help since the Ontario CFO announced his personal plan to unilaterally demand written invitations to shooting ranges as part of the Authorization To Transport (ATT.) This power-play is backed up by the razor-sharp teeth of a mandatory three year jail term. CFO Chris Wyatt should be taken to task by the feds for trying to make his own rules as he sees fit, yet it’s the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, once again, single-handed, defending the rights of all Canadian gun owners by taking CFO Wyatt to court. At a time when Parliament should be showing CFOs who’s boss, the CSSA is using its scarce resources to at least roll back the insidious rules to where they were.

Witness, too, the CFOs hypocritical insistence that plastic zip ties not be used to disable firearms at gun shows. It doesn’t matter that zip ties are used in Canada’s court rooms and police stations when guns appear as evidence. It doesn’t matter that there has never been a mishap or foul play at a Canadian gun show. When a CFO makes stupid demands, tempers flare, and on the surface, that appears to be exactly what they want. Do they hope to push good people too far and hope an incident will occur to put a black eye on gun shows? If and when it occurs, we guarantee media reports will make no reference to the niggling entrapment that forced the issue.

The CSSA has had encouraging talks with the new Minister of Public Safety, and we are hopeful there will be positive changes coming down the pike. In the interim, however, firearms owners must continue to fight the fight. We need you to support us as much as you need us to support you.

So, let’s make a deal.

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