Discretionary Powers

Discretionary Powers

How would you like to live in a place where un-elected officials can make regulations on a whim?  Well, like it or not, you already do.

There are people appointed under federal regulations to administer federal law in provincial jurisdictions. These people are called Chief Firearm Officers (CFO). The CFO’s position was created through the introduction of the Firearms Act.  It is the CFO’s job to oversee the implementation of the rules and regulations of the Firearms Act in his or her province of jurisdiction.

The vague wording in the Firearms Act empowers CFO’s with the ability to create regulations based on their own personal opinion. Section 58 of the Firearms Act states;

  1. (1) A chief firearms officer who issues a licence, an authorization to carry or an authorization to transport may attach any reasonable condition to it that the chief firearms officer considers desirable in the particular circumstances and in the interests of the safety of the holder or any other person.

The part that concerns me the most in this section are ‘may attach any reasonable condition to it that the chief firearms officer considers desirable’. 

This gives too much power to the CFO’s, based on only their personal opinion. If the officer is against the civilian ownership of firearms, what do you think that officer would ‘consider desirable’?

What is the legal definition of ‘reasonable’? What can be considered ‘reasonable’ to one person is considered a personal attack on our Rights and Freedoms by another.

Example: a regulation implemented by Alberta’s CFO is that every handgun owner must prove they have a membership to a range or gun club. You will NOT be able to renew your restricted firearms license unless you do so.

It is important to note that nowhere in the Firearms Act does it state that a range membership is a prerequisite for ownership of a restricted gun.

This is a rule that was implemented by the CFO using the authority of Section 58 and has the full force of law. If you do not follow this rule, the CFO will force you to “dispose of your firearms”. For proof of this, read the actual letter from the CFO at the end of this article.

Can you imagine the uproar if all vehicle owners were told that they have to ‘prove’ they use their vehicle, or risk the loss of both their drivers licence and their vehicle?

Other examples of vague definitions used by the Firearms Act, used well by the CFO’s, are ‘reasonable time’ ,’reasonable grounds’ or, as Section 68 states:

  1. A chief firearms officer shall refuse to issue a licence if the applicant is not eligible to hold one and may refuse to issue an authorization to carry or authorization to transport for any good and sufficient reason.

There is NO definition in the Firearms Act or the Criminal Code of Canada for ‘good and sufficient reason’. Again, we fall back to someone’s personal “opinion” about what that phrase means.

Currently, the term ‘for good and sufficient reason’ lets the CFO enforce (BY LAW) his or her own personal beliefs or agenda. Remember that CFO’s need not explain their opinion or reasons to anyone.

What happens when bureaucrats are given unfettered power? They are happy as a pig in the mud.

What happens when you try to take that same power away? They will tell you ‘no’ and look for any way of keeping that power.

The CFO’s tried that when Bill C-19 (Ending the Long Gun Registry Act) came into force. The CFO’s wanted to keep the power of knowing who owned what gun, even though their boss, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, ordered them to cease and desist collecting records.

The CFO’s tried using a “back door” method of collecting records by forcing gun dealers to continue to use the old paper ledger book to continue the registry. It took a sternly worded letter from Minister Toews to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson to put an end to the CFO’s mutiny.

I used the word ‘mutiny’ because that is what it is when you try to hijack the ship when you do not get your way. If you or I tried to disobey a direct order (safety concerns aside) and implement our own agenda, in our job, our butts would be turfed out the nearest exit.  These CFOs never received any kind of a disciplinary reprimand for their mutiny, either.

When you fill out you PAL application, you are asked for references. Ever wonder what questions are asked of these people? This is a real eye opener as to what the bureaucrats and RCMP really think of gun owners and potential owners. These are very leading questions that presume the applicant should not have firearms, or already has criminal motivation for obtaining them.

  • Were you pressured in any way to act as a reference?
  • Tell me about any situations where [name removed] has displayed violent behaviour in the past .
  • Tell me about any circumstance where [name removed] acted in a way that caused you to feel she would become violent.
  • Tell me about any circumstance or any situation where [name removed] would approve of violence to resolve a problem.
  • Tell me about any circumstance where [name removed] has ever made statements showing a fascination with violence, such as school, workplace or any other types of violence.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add about [name removed] that I haven’t asked?
  • You have no issues or concerns about [name removed] having firearms?

The CFO’s have far too much discretionary power.

Read the law, learn what it means and know what rights you have so they cannot be taken from you.

Remember, your most important right is to remain silent.  I’m just saying…

Todd Brown
Co-founder – Concerned Gun Owners of Alberta

Listen to this article:  https://soundcloud.com/cgoa-1/discretionary-powers

Advertisements

When is a Firearm NOT a Firearm?

When is a Firearm NOT a Firearm?

When is a firearm NOT a firearm? When the government says so, I guess.

I discussed in an earlier article how a part of the firearm (frame, or receiver) is legally considered to be a firearm. For a refresher, here is the definition again; “firearm”

“firearm” means a barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person, and includes any frame or receiver of such a barrelled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm;

The key part of this definition I need you to keep in mind is;

“includes any frame or receiver of such a barrelled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm;”

If you go to Section 9 of the Firearms Act,  (this specifies who in a firearms business needs to have a valid PAL), check out what subsection 4 states:

Section 9(4)  In subsection (3), “firearm” does not include a partially manufactured barrelled weapon that, in its unfinished state, is not a barrelled weapon
o   (a) from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged; and
o   (b) that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person.

NOW I AM CONFUSED!

In the official definition of a firearm, a firearm includes any frame or receiver of such a barrelled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm, but in Section 9(4) anything that CANNOT discharge a bullet, shot, or projectile capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person, is NOT a firearm.

The first 4 words in the definition of ‘firearm’ is “means a barrelled weapon”, BUT according to Section 9(4) ,’ a partially manufactured barrelled weapon that, in its unfinished state, is not a barrelled weapon’.

HUH? What exactly is a ‘barrelled weapon’ then?

Any barrelled weapon (firearm) that is not complete is not a firearm (barrelled weapon)?

What part has to be missing for the ‘barrelled weapon’ (firearm) to be in an ‘unfinished state’?

While you try to wrap your head around this tid-bit, keep in mind that it is legislation like this that keeps lawyers employed.

Todd Brown
Co-founder – Concerned Gun Owners of Alberta
Listen to this article:  https://soundcloud.com/cgoa-1/when-is-a-firearm-not-a-firearm

Weapon vs Firearm – Definitions from our Criminal Code, Part 2

Weapon vs Firearm – Definitions from our Criminal Code, Part 2

The legal definitions for “Weapon’ and ‘Firearm’ are deceptive, or lies at worst, but are misleading at best. In the last article I explained how the two definitions are entwined to make sure that all guns are legally categorized as ‘weapons’.

Now I want to explain how the definition of ‘FIREARM’ is an attempt by the government to “suck and blow” at the same time.

In the definition of ‘firearm’, two distinct definitions of the same word are being forced down our collective throats.

Again, the definition of ‘firearm’ from the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC);

“firearm”
« arme à feu »
“firearm” means a barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person, and includes any frame or receiver of such a barrelled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm;

Now I am going to break this down into two parts. In the first part, “firearm” means a barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person… which I already covered last week.
HOWEVER, the second part reads as follows:

and includes any frame or receiver of such a barrelled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm;

Do you know what a frame or receiver is? It is the part that everything else that makes a gun function attaches to.

The Canadian government thinks that this is the most dangerous part of the gun? Well, maybe when you throw it! On its own it is nothing more than a paper-weight!

So… when exactly is a ‘firearm’ a gun?

One over-simplified explanation (for me), would be the following:

firearm: an assemblage of parts, that when assembled is capable of discharging a bullet or projectile in a controlled and directed manner.

However, current Canadian legislation mandates that the frame or receiver IS the gun. Now, since the anti-gunners always like comparing guns to cars, why don’t we do that too?

When is a car… a car? Let’s take one apart.  There would be the body, seats, interior carpet, engine, drive train, wheels and then finally, the frame, the part that everything else attaches to.

If you had to choose, which part or group of parts is ‘the car’? Can you even consider one part or group of parts ‘the car’?  Of course not.

So which is it? Is a ’firearm’

“a barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death”

or is it

“any frame or receiver of such a barrelled weapon”?

How can a part of a ‘firearm’ be the whole ‘firearm’, when all parts are needed to make the gun function.

As the late David Tomlinson was so fond of saying…

“It doesn’t have to make sense.  It’s government policy.”

Todd Brown
Co-founder – Concerned Gun Owners of Alberta

Listen to this article:  https://soundcloud.com/cgoa-1/weapon-vs-firearm-pt2

Weapon vs Firearm

Weapon vs Firearm – Definitions from our Criminal Code

I despise the term ”weapon” especially when the government, and their lackey’s use it. Here is why.

I would like to address something that ALL news media, most of our politicians, and a large part of the gun owning community does that is categorically wrong.

It is the use of the term ‘weapon’ when referring to a gun. First I would like you to see the definition of ‘weapon’ from the Criminal Code of Canada:

“weapon” means any thing used, designed to be used or intended for use
(a) in causing death or injury to any person, or
(b) for the purpose of threatening or intimidating any person and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a firearm;

Now, I do not know how many of you own guns, but I would like to categorically state that NONE of my guns fit the definition of ‘weapon’. I use my guns to target shoot and hunt, not for the purpose of threatening or intimidating or causing death or injury to any person.

Keep in mind that ANYTHING can be used as a weapon, a knife, a pen, a spoon, a stick, a rock… anything can be a weapon WHEN USED AS SUCH.
With the introduction of the Firearms Act( C-68), this definition was changed to include the following phrase:

“and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a firearm;”

This was done to legitimize the introduction of Section 91 and 92 of the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC), because now that a gun is legally defined as a ‘weapon’ , there is legal cause to control all guns.

Section 91 and 92 from the CCC state:

  1. (1) Subject to subsection (4), every person commits an offence who possesses a firearm without being the holder of
    (a) a licence under which the person may possess it; and
    (b) in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, a registration certificate for it.
    92. (1) Subject to subsection (4), every person commits an offence who possesses a firearm knowing that the person is not the holder of
    (a) a licence under which the person may possess it; and
    (b) in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, a registration certificate for it.

Now that simple possession of a gun is against the law, the next step is to create regulations to control the possession of any gun,…and the Firearms Act is legally born.

However, it was bill C-68 that legislated the changes to make the Firearms Act legal. There is one more change that needed to be made to close any loopholes, and that is the definition of ‘firearm’. The current CCC definition:

“firearm” means a barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person, and includes any frame or receiver of such a barrelled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm;

This concretely defines a gun as a ’weapon’ in the first 4 words, “means a barrelled weapon”. As I stated at the beginning, NONE of my guns, and 99.9% of civilian guns in Canada are not used as weapons, and therefore CANNOT be defined as weapons.

The guns used in Canada that CAN be defined as weapons, are those that are used by our police forces and the military. The gun Ian Thompson used WAS a weapon when he scared off his attackers, then CEASED to be a weapon when the threat was neutralized.

As a gun owner I would prefer to refer to my guns as ’Firearms’, but to do that, the word ‘weapon’ in the definition of ‘firearm’ would have to be changed to the word ‘device’, so the definition would read:

“firearm” means a barrelled device from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person, and includes any frame or receiver of such a barrelled device and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm;

I also recommend that the last phrase in the definition of ‘weapon’ (“and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a firearm;”) be struck completely.

With these 2 definitions changed, there would be no reasonable need for sec.91 and 92 CCC, and in turn, most if not all, of the Liberal Firearms Act.

This is why I despise the term ‘weapon’ being used to described my, and all civilian guns.

It is deceitful at best, and a blatant lie at worst.

Todd Brown
Co-founder – Concerned Gun Owners of Alberta

Hear this article;  https://soundcloud.com/cgoa-1/weapon-vs-firearm

A look at the Common-sense Firearms Act

From the files of ‘This Is My Opinion’

A look at the Common-sense Firearms Act

There are lots of talking points in the Common Sense Firearms Act that the Conservative Party tabled in parliament. The reality of the new legislation does not warrant the hype.

The one thing that I will give a ‘2 thumbs up’ to is the merging of the Authorization To Transport (ATT) paperwork being merged into the Restricted Licence as a condition of the licence. This will cut down on beaurocracy and the need for gun owners to have to carry an extra document or get permission to do something that they have already have been vetted to do,….which is owning and transporting restricted guns.

I have not seen anything in the proposed legislation that directly affects the status of the Swiss Arms or CZ-858 rifles, but I also have not seen any regulations concerning these guns that will inevitably be attached to this legislation either. As with most things, the devil is in the details, or in this case, the regulations.

I am all for education, but I see no advantage to not being able to challenge the test for the safety course, and the Firearms Safety Course was already a requirement for the application to get a firearms licence.

As far as prohibiting people convicted of domestic violence from owning firearms,……correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t that always the case?

I did notice that , in an attempt at clarification, the words ‘restricted, non-restricted, and prohibited’ were added in at a large number of places. Other than making the legislation more wordy, I feel that this effort is, by and large, wasted.

Trying to restrict the CFO’s power to make arbitrary decisions in this legislation has been given a very large and open, back door. The thought is admirable, but the solution will be more of a problem. Here is the proposed amendment to section 58 of the Firearms Act;

  • However, the chief firearm officer’s power to attach a condition to a licence, an authorization to carry, or an authorization to transport is subject to the regulations.

The problem here is in the last 5 words; ‘is subject to the regulations’. Without being able to see the regulations, I have to ask;

1 What are the regulations?

2 Who is writing these regulations?

3 Are these regulations subject to change under section 117 of the FA by the Governor in Council?

If these ‘regulations’ are created after the legislation is passed, we could have a problem, especially if these regulations are subject to change under section 117 of the FA by the Governor in Council, is the case. This would allow any future government to make changes to the regulations at will. The ability for the CFO’s to make arbitrary decisions has to be written right into the legislation, so any changes has to be from an act of parliament, not an Order in Council.

The proposed 6 month grace period for licence renewal is also a great idea, and would cut down on paperwork criminals, if it were not for the addition of this clause to section 64 of the FA:

64 (1.2) The holder of a licence that is extended under subsection (1.1) must not, until the renewal of their licence, use their firearms or acquire any firearms or ammunition

If the whole idea of the change and additions to section 64 of the FA is to cut down on ‘paperwork criminals’, this will change the current situation very little, and potentially put people into another legal quandary. The ability to buy guns or ammunition will be caught when the licence is shown to be in the grace period, but if the holder of the licence is unaware the licence is expired, and continues to use firearms for legal purposes, he/she will be put in the same position as people now, who find themselves with an expired licence. A clause like this that is buried in the legislation will add to the confusion of the FA, and WILL NOT reduce ‘paperwork’ criminals.

This proposed legislation will not have any effect on the criminal use of guns, and does not live up to the hype the Conservatives are giving it.

Know your rights, or you won’t have any

Todd Brown

Concerned Gun Owners of Alberta

Co-founder CGOA

Listen to this article: https://soundcloud.com/cgoa-1/csfa-review

From the files of ‘This Is My Opinion’ Section 8 VS the FA

While I am not a constitutional lawyer, I do want to write my opinion on a question posed to me concerning the Firearms Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Keep in mind that this is MY OPINION, but it is something to ponder seriously on.

Does section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect me from the search and seizure provisions in the Firearms Act?

My short answer is NO. Here is why;

Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states: ”Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.” The key word here is ‘reasonable’. In the FA this word ‘reasonable’ is used a multitude of times, in many places. Be aware that ‘reasonable’ is a subjective term that is open to interpretation to the person using it. What can be ‘reasonable’ to one person, would be against the ideology and ‘unreasonable’ to another person (eg. Living under Sharia law).

With that in mind, here is a few places in the FA that ‘reasonable’ is used in relation to warrantless search and seizure;

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 anything by means of or in relation to which that peace officer believes on REASONABLE grounds the offence is being committed or has been committed.

  1. (1) Subject to section 104, for the purpose of ensuring compliance with this Act and the regulations, an inspector may at any REASONABLE time enter and inspect any place where the inspector believes on REASONABLE grounds a business is being carried on or there is a record of a business, any place in which the inspector believes on REASONABLE grounds there is a gun collection or a record in relation to a gun collection or any place in which the inspector believes on REASONABLE grounds there is a prohibited firearm or there are more than 10 firearms and may
    (d) require any person to produce for examination or copying any records, books of account or other documents that the inspector believes on REASONABLE grounds contain information that is relevant to the enforcement of this Act or the regulations.
  2. An inspector who believes on REASONABLE grounds that a person possesses a firearm may, by demand made to that person, require that person, within a REASONABLE time after the demand is made, to produce the firearm in the manner specified by the inspector for the purpose of verifying the serial number or other identifying features of the firearm and of ensuring that the person is the holder of the registration certificate for the firearm.

And all of this is enforced by Section 113:

  1. Every person commits an offence who, without REASONABLE excuse, does not comply with a demand made to the person by an inspector under section 105.

In section 113, if the officer does not believe you, for whatever reason, your excuse becomes ‘unreasonable’ and you get charged with an offence. Now the process becomes the punishment.

So if everything an officer does under the FA is ‘reasonable’, then you have not been subjected to the ‘unreasonable ‘ search and seizure that section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that you are secure against.

The Firearms Act can indeed trump the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Know your rights, or you won’t have any

Todd Brown

Concerned Gun Owners of Alberta

Co-founder CGOA

Listen to this article; https://soundcloud.com/cgoa-1/section-8-vs-the-fa

From the files of ‘This Is My Opinion’ Ethics

After having found a mess of shotgun hulls and beer cans on a small hill top near my farm, I was disappointed and felt a little disgraced as a gun owner to be part of a group that could do something as unbelievably stupid as shooting guns and drinking.

Then, after a little consideration, it occurred to me that this behavior was not indicative of myself, my friends, or anyone else I knew in the gun community. I probably will never know who would do something as irresponsible as drinking and shooting guns, but it was the act of someone who drinks and drives, because, the only way to access this particular place is by vehicle. These people upset me, because of the potential danger of mixing alcohol with motor vehicles, guns, and the bad representation it would make to the shooting community. This potential danger is a big concern to myself, my family and the local community as a whole.

There is a big campaign to curb drinking and driving, so I am not going to waste my energy there. However, I am hopeful that, with the help of the shooting community, we can have a positive effect on the very small percentage of gun owners that do incredibly stupid thing that do reflect badly on the rest of us.

Some gun owners just do not give a crap what they do, but the guys that just follow along ‘because their buddy is doing it’ just might be open to some constructive criticism. I do not know who these people are, so I am going to start talking to other folks about how lack of judgement and lack of good ethics are detrimental to us all. I am going to be loud and vocal about not drinking while handling guns, the need to pick up after yourself,….how hard is it to pick up your brass, hulls and other garbage? People I know who reload(especially) hardly let their brass hit the ground for fear of losing it! When in a group of people, I WANT others to hear me as well, to hear my distain and unwillingness to put up with a lack of ethics. When the gun community starts to discuss these things, with passion, around young, new, and inexperienced shooters, it will make an impression.

We cannot legislate, or stop stupidity, but using our own peer pressure, we can educate and slow down the scenarios that put a black mark on all of us.

Ignorance is curable, stupid is forever.

Todd Brown

Concerned Gun Owners of Alberta

Co-founder CGOA

Listen to this article; https://soundcloud.com/cgoa-1/ethics