(Canada) MLA Breaks Down, Registers His Firearms


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Drizzt
March 31, 2003, 05:03 PM
Edmonton Sun (Canada)


March 29, 2003 Saturday, Final Edition

SECTION: News; Pg. 29

LENGTH: 312 words

HEADLINE: MLA BREAKS DOWN, REGISTERS HIS FIREARMS

BYLINE: JERRY WARD, LEGISLATURE BUREAU

BODY:
Tory MLA Tony Abbott has bit the bullet and registered his firearms.

"I did what I'd hoped I would never have to do - that is, very reluctantly, I registered my guns," the Drayton Valley-Calmar MLA said yesterday.

Abbott said he had earlier refused to register a rifle and a shotgun with Ottawa's firearms registry, citing concerns over infringements on his property rights. But that changed after Abbott got a visit earlier this month from RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve Harrington of Drayton Valley.

"He said he'd received numerous calls and complaints from people asking for me to be charged because I went public about not registering," Abbott said. "I was trying to make a statement to the feds. I was doing it to support my constituents but I wasn't going to allow it to get to the point where I was putting my family or my job in jeopardy."

Abbott registered his guns online, at no cost, on March 8, more than two months after the deadline.

However his colleague, Wainwright Tory MLA Doug Griffiths, remains defiant.

Griffiths said he won't register his four firearms - two shotguns, a .22-calibre rifle and a .22-calibre handgun - to protest mandatory gun registration.

"He's a young fella, single and no family and he said he's willing to go to jail or whatever it takes and he's not going to register his guns and go all the way," Abbott said. "So I am certainly backing him and thanking him for his ability to go a bit further with it than I did."

Griffiths said one of his guns was reclassified as a restricted or prohibited weapon and he refuses the federal government's orders to sell it, destroy it or turn it over to Mounties.

Wainwright RCMP have yet to speak with Griffiths, nor have they received any complaints from the public, said Sgt. Steve Visnoski.

In June 2000, the Supreme Court upheld the Firearms Act as constitutionally valid.

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