Paper Criminals Confess Serious Crimes


July 13, 2003, 08:58 AM
Paper Criminals Confess Serious Crimes
Gun Revolt in Canada
by Pierre Lemieux
On June 20, Dr. Joseph Gingrich, a Saskatchewan dentist, sent a sworn affidavit to the Prime Minister of Canada, admitting that he owns a 303 rifle, that he does "NOT have a firearms license," that this "firearm is NOT registered," that he " did NOT send a Letter of Intent to Register . . . before 31 December2002," and that he has "NO intention of ever registering this firearm and/or acquiring [a] firearms license."[1]

Why would a peaceful citizen confess a crime punishable by a maximum of 10 years in jail — and a crime that, at the very least, will give the guilty person a criminal record for the rest of his life, prevent him from travelling to many countries, prohibit him from owning guns and hunting for the rest of his life, and handicap him in many other ways?

In his affidavit, Dr. Gingrich explains: "I refuse to surrender my right to privacy, my right to property, my right to bear arms, my right to be secure from unreasonable search and seizure, my right against self incrimination, my right to the presumption of innocence, my right to representation . . . and, my right to freedom of association. I steadfastly maintain my right to self defense . . . I will not submit to your unjust law which does nothing to improve safety or reduce crime . . . I will not tolerate the destruction of my civil rights and liberties . . . "

Joe Gingrich is right. The gun control legislation, reinforced twice since 1978, is immoral and contrary to Canadian traditions. It forces honest citizens who want to (legally) own guns into a humiliating process every five years, forces them to notify the police every time they move and, more generally, and puts them under arbitrary police powers. This so-called law is not mainly about registering every single firearm, so that it may be seized at the discretion of the state in the future, it is mainly about creating a sort of sex-offender registry for millions of peaceful citizens.

Gun control discriminates against honest citizens in favour of criminals, since the latter already have, or are getting, criminal records anyway. Canada will soon be like the United Kingdom, where only criminals (and here, powerfully armed policemen) have guns. After nearly a century of tightening gun controls, and after a few years of total handgun prohibition, the U.K. is now facing dramatic increases in gun crimes (up 35% during the last year), and growing fear among its population, including fear of reporting criminals.[2] In Canada, home invasions are on the rise, and drive-by shootings have recently appeared.

Joe Gingrich is not the only resister. Jim Turnbull, a rancher and Canadian Navy veteran, Jack Wilson [3], a miner, and Edward Hudson [4], a veterinarian, have engaged in similar, overt acts of civil disobedience. A few of them have already been prosecuted. Former Alberta legislature sergeant-at-arms Oscar Lacombe has also been charged after mounting a one-man protest. Many others, like businessman Allister Muir of Nova Scotia, former RCMP officer Bruce Hutton of Alberta, Ontario gunsmith Bruce Montague, and retired civil servant Kingsley Beattie also of Ontario, have publicly challenged the state to prosecute them for exercising a right that was, until 1977, an essential part of Canadian traditions.

Two associations, the Law-Abiding Firearms Association (LUFA) [5] and the Canadian Unregistered Firearm Owners Association (CUFOA) [6], are openly involved in civil disobedience. Within Leviathan itself, Garry Breitkreuz [7], a Canadian Alliance MP, and one of the few MPs who are not simple straw men, has been waging an efficient battle to protect our traditional liberties, or what's left of them.

Hundreds of thousands of peaceful firearm owners according to the government, a few millions according to some resisters' associations, are now paper criminals because, as Mr. Breitkreuz says, "they refuse to obtain a piece of paper from the government." Government figures suggest that 27% of Québec gun owners (the highest proportion in Canada) are disobeying the law.

CUFOA is actually leading a Mobile Rally from coast to coast, just before the ultimate June 30 deadline for registering every gun individually. Not only will our heroes challenge the state to arrest them, but Mr. Turnbull and Dr. Hudson will be openly violating an order "not to participate in any public rally or public gun protest in Canada" which was imposed as a condition of their release after their arrest in Ottawa last January.[8] Says Ed Hudson, "We will knowingly ignore the bail conditions because they violate our free speech rights."

Quoting Gandhi and Thoreau, these protestors stress that they are involved in peaceful civil disobedience. But in other circles, the anger is more in line with Patrick Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death!"

The Shorter Oxford Dictionary on Historical Principles defines tyranny as: "Arbitrary or oppressive exercise of power; unjustly severe use of one's authority; harsh, severe, or unmerciful action." Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th-century French political scientist, forecasted a more subtle, quiet, democratic tyranny. "[T]he supreme power," he wrote, "covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform . . . men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power . . . compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."[9]

The resistance against the iniquitous Canadian firearms legislation by a courageous minority is an important landmark in the war against Tocqevillian soft tyranny. But what can you do against a state that has spent close to a billion dollars to register and monitor at least two million peaceful Canadians, and which will spend more to crush future resistance? All lovers of liberty, even if they lack the courage of Dr. Joe Gingrich, Dr. Ed Hudson, Jim Turnbull, Jack Wilson, Al Muir, or Oscar Lacombe, will hope that David crushes Goliath.

As the London Daily Telegraph wrote when it introduced its celebrated, on-going "A Free Country" series, Libertad o muerte!


[1] See Dr. Gingrich's affidavit at

[2] "Gun Crime Soars by 35%", BBC News, at (visited June 29, 2003).

[3] See Mr. Wilson's affidavit at

[4] See Dr. Hudson's affidavit at

[5] At (visited June 29, 2003).

[6] At (visited June 29, 2003).

[7] See (visited June 29, 2003).

[8] See my "The Gun Protest Ban Against Dr. Edward Hudson," Laissez Faire Electronic Times, March 3, 2003, at

[9] Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. II (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899), Chap. 6; available at (visited June 29, 2003).


Pierre Lemieux is co-director of the Economics and Liberty Research Group at the Université du Québec in Outaouais, and the author of Confessions d'un coureur des bois hors-la-loi (Montréal: Varia, 2001). E-mail:


from The Laissez Faire Electronic Times, Vol 2, No 27, July 14, 2003
Editor: Emile Zola Publisher: Digital Monetary Trust

Four-Volley salute for Canada!

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Art Eatman
July 13, 2003, 09:31 PM
That's guts. Wonder how many of us would take such a stand?


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