Back in 2009, when we were fighting for the passage of Bill C-301, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police came out in favour of the bill and against civilian gun owners.
Many gun owners were displeased with that attitude of distrust for Canada’s most law-abiding citizens. We looked for a solution.
After pondering what we could do about their antics a few innovative thinkers came up with a simple idea.
It’s an elegant and simple project. Let me explain.
Almost every shooting range in Canada is run by a non-profit group formed by hunters and fishers. We band together to create a resource we can all make use of and, as part of our commitment to community service, we rent our shooting ranges to local law enforcement at very reasonable rates.
Those same law enforcement agencies insist on making us the scapegoats for “gun crime” and any other perceived evil they can lay at the feet of law-abiding gun owners.
It’s high time that abuse ended.
The Civilian Range Project is this:
We are the creators and maintainers of our shooting ranges. Police forces shoot on our ranges because we allow them the privilege. And it is a privilege.
It is now time to rescind that privilege, effective immediately.
Until the RCMP and other police forces stop treating law-abiding gun owners like common criminals we will no longer rent our civilian ranges to them. Period.
Canadian law enforcement of all stripes must find some other place for their members to train using their firearms.
RCMP, municipal police, prison guards, border guards, wildlife enforcement officers and sheriffs do not have access to government-run shooting ranges. Very few such ranges exist.
Every single member who carries a duty firearm MUST qualify with that firearm each year. That means they must shoot somewhere.
Until now each of these government agencies arranged and paid for access to our civilian shooting ranges.
It is time these government agencies at the local, provincial and federal level learned that if they insist on treating us like “the enemy” we will no longer treat them like friends.
They are no longer welcome on our shooting ranges, effective immediately.
Will this require a sacrifice from gun clubs?
It is very easy to become addicted to the money that flows from contracts with government policing agencies. It may mean we raise our membership rates a little to cover the shortfall or more fundraising dinners.
We cannot allow ourselves to be bought off with 30 pieces of silver.
We are worth far more than that.
Our shooting ranges are worth far more than that.
Our lives, the very essence of who we are that the RCMP and other policing agencies are so quick to demonize to advance their anti-gun political agenda, are worth more than that.
It’s time we valued ourselves correctly.
We have an immense amount of power at our fingertips. The real question is whether we possess the fortitude, the strength of will, to exercise that power in a simple, legal, and effective manner.
Canadian law enforcement is no longer welcome on our civilian ranges. Period.
This will generate press coverage.
This will generate political attention.
This will get the attention of the head of every policing agency in the nation, provided we have the will to do one simple thing.
Deny police agencies access to our civilian shooting ranges.
We must amend the rules of our shooting clubs to include one simple qualifier:
No range member may use our facilities while in uniform, while on duty or while using agency-owned firearms. ONLY civilian-owned firearms are permitted.
You can imagine the outrage we will face from our police members and from police agencies themselves.
They will threaten. They will cajole. More than likely our friends at the Provincial Chief Firearms Offices will threaten to revoke our range operation approvals.
That, of course, is an empty threat. They can’t shut us down for safety reasons and then give themselves access to that same “unsafe” shooting range, can they? Well, not without proving themselves colossal hypocrites, anyway. All of which would work in our favour in the Court of Public Opinion.
We can expect a staring match for months.
We simply cannot blink. We cannot let our greed for government money override our principles. We must find alternative ways of funding our clubs or reduce our need for that income.
Police agencies, however, MUST train and qualify their members annually. They have NO CHOICE.
Can they hold out for a while? Absolutely. But they cannot hold out for an entire year. They wouldn’t have anyone left qualified to carry a duty firearm.
We break no laws by implementing the The Civilian Range Project.
Our shooting ranges are private property owned and operated by our non-profit groups. We can rent them to whomever we please. We can refuse to rent them to whomever we please.
When someone punches you in the face repeatedly do you ask him over for dinner?
This is a simple plan. It only takes a single motion on the floor of our next general meeting. We can pass this plan and implement it at our facilities in a single day.
We rely on no votes but our own. We simply require each and every member of our gun clubs to vote for our self-interest for a change, and to forget the government handout.
Police forces and politicians do their very best to marginalize and ostracize us. The latest in a long line of examples is the Nanaimo RCMP SKS issue.
It’s high time we fight back with the single best tool in our arsenal: our shooting ranges.
We own them.
We control who uses them.
They need them.
Today is the day to leverage that ownership and control of our civilian shooting ranges; to explain to Canada’s policing agencies in very clear terms that we ought to be their friends, not the enemies they believe we are.
They can treat us like enemies as long as they like, but with every choice comes consequence.
They must find somewhere else to shoot.
We are NOT the enemy of police. We never were.
We are Canada’s most law-abiding citizens.
Somewhere along the way our nation's police forces decided we were merely criminals-in-waiting, not their greatest allies. They ought to learn the lesson Detroit Police Chief James Craig learned; that mere citizens owning firearms is a good thing.
When and only when our nation's police forces treat us with the respect we have earned will they be welcome at our shooting facilities again.
Put the ball in their court. See how fast they blink. You will, I'm sure, be amazed.
Download the complete Civilian Range Project documentation, draft motion and signage.