Gun Owners to Converge on Parliament


January 1, 2003, 11:33 AM

Gun owners to converge on Parliament

David Vienneau

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

A small band of gun owners plan to celebrate the new year by taking aim at Canada's controversial firearms registry program and getting arrested on Parliament Hill.

"We're here on a mission of civil disobedience and civil disobedience first and foremost civil, which means it's totally open and peaceful,'' Ed Hudson of the Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners' Association told Global National yesterday.

"We think we will be arrested and that is not going to bother us. The whole point of the civil disobedience is to show the lunacy and the inane nature of this firearms act."

The protesters plan to converge on the Hill Wednesday where they say they will set their firearm's licenses on fire to protest the licensing and registration requirements of the Firearms Act. They also plan to want to nail "a declaration of non-compliance" on the front doors of the Parliament buildings.

"We plan to make ourselves known and to be blatantly obvious,'' said Bruce Montague of Dryden, Ont. "We want to defy this law. We want to be arrested and charged."

But they don't intend to become violent. Montague said while they may be carrying their guns the purpose of the demonstration is to garner public support not to make themselves look foolish.

"It's definitely peaceful," he stressed. "There will be absolutely nothing threatening, nothing whatsoever."

Hudson, of Saskatoon, said he and Montague were among five protesters driving from western Canada and northwestern Ontario. They expect to be joined by a similar number from the Atlantic problems. The group has been in contact with the RCMP and the Ottawa police to explain their intentions, Hudson said. A meeting is planned for today (Tuesday) to clear up any potential misunderstandings.

"They don't want to create big problems, they want to make a point,'' RCMP Const. Natalie Deschenes said before confirming today's rendezvous.

But what happens if they show up on Parliament Hill carrying their guns?

"We're still talking to them. We're still negotiating,'' Deschenes said. "We'll adjust accordingly."

Under the 1995 law, all gun owners were to have registered their firearms by tomorrow. But that deadline was set aside last week because of an enormous backlog and delay in processing applications. Justice Minister Martin Cauchon said gun owners may now send or fax letters of intent and then complete the necessary paperwork within six months.

The government froze funding for the controversial registration program following the release of a damning report by Auditor General Sheila Fraser which found the cost of the registry would exceed $1 billion by 2005. The original estimate was $2 million.

"That report was the best Christmas present we received," Hudson said. Alliance MP Garry Breitkreuz "has been telling the people of Canada that this bill is completely wasteful but no one has been listening to him. It took someone like the auditor general to get the attention of the Canadian people."

© Copyright 2002 Global National

Canadiens with cajones:neener:

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January 1, 2003, 01:31 PM
Maybe "Parliament Hill" will become Canada's Bunker Hill!

Shake off the the Crown my northern brothers...It will do you well...

January 1, 2003, 06:03 PM

Jan. 1, 2003. 05:09 PM
Gun registry protest on Hill ends in arrest
Group defies December 31 deadline for registering firearms


OTTAWA — One gun-owning protester was arrested and several others tried unsuccessfully to draw police charges as they flouted Canada's firearms legislation at a New Year's Day protest on Parliament Hill.

Jim Turnbull, head of the Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners Association, was arrested for handling a receiver — an unloaded part of a handgun.

To chants of "shame" from some 150 protesters huddled near the Centennial Flame, RCMP escorted Turnbull, 70, to a police car, searched him and drove him away. Six other members of the group who handled the receiver were not arrested.

Turnbull, a retired auctioneer from Jarvie, Alta., said earlier in the day he hoped he would be arrested.

An RCMP spokesman said Turnbull was arrested for having a firearm at a public gathering, not for possessing an unregistered weapon under the 1995 Firearms Act.

Protesters called it a minor victory.

"To me it means that the RCMP realize quite clearly that the Firearms Act is a paper tiger that signifies nothing and it's not worth arresting me today standing here, telling you that I own firearms without a licence," said Ed Hudson, a member of the association from Saskatoon who brought the receiver onto Parliament Hill.

"The RCMP realizes that it does not make the citizens of Canada safer to arrest me and the fact that they are leaving me alone makes the point that I want to make: the firearms act is a toothless paper tiger."

Earlier, Turnbull and eight gun enthusiasts and members of his association burned their gun registration certificates and a copy of Bill C-68, the Firearms Act, vowing never to register their weapons.

Their protest drew strong criticism from other citizens who travelled from as far as Chatham, Ont., to say they believed in gun control as a way of making Canada safer.

Under the act, all Canadians were required to register or declare their intent to register by midnight Tuesday night.

Turnbull's group placed a copy of their organization's declaration in front of the centre doors to the Parliament buildings. It states, among other things, their intention not to register and calls the law a "colossal waste" and a violation of their Charter rights and freedoms.

Paul Marsh, an RCMP spokesman, said he would not speculate on whether Turnbull would have been arrested had his guns been registered.

"He was arrested only for carrying a weapon while attending a public meeting," he said. As for the others who held the receiver, "they've been directed to identify themselves at the police office if they feel that there's still a case for them to be arrested."

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