An Open Letter to the OFAH, the CSSA, the NFA, and…

and All Canadian Wildlife and Sporting Organizations

by Al Muir

On 15 May 1995 Parliament’s Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs held a hearing on  the  Liberals’  Bill  C-68.  Speaking  for  the National Coalition of Provincial and Territorial Wildlife Federations in vehement opposition to this unjust law,  Mr. Rick Morgan of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters said:

The National Coalition is opposed to the proposed mandatory licensing provisions (as) an unjustified, expensive, ineffective . . .  unparalleled intrusion into the private lives of Canadians . . .

To force legitimate, responsible firearms owners into a licensing regime . . . is costly, unnecessary and wrong . . . It is a waste of time, money and effort that will not produce measurable improvement in public safety.

Never before have responsible Canadians faced the possibility of having to justify their need . . . just to be  allowed  to  retain  ownership  .  .  .  The  issue strikes close to the centre of Canadian concepts of personal choice, rights and freedoms.

Mr. Morgan was indeed correct. Bill C-68 did produce an astounding turnaround in the public perception   and treatment of gun owners.   Where   our neighbors once trusted us, we are now all [considered] potentially dangerous.

The  mere  possession  of  a  firearm  suddenly became a  criminal act,  with  the owners only recourse  to  seek   temporary  immunity  through  a licence,  which  brings  them  under  constant  surveillance.

The Auditor General stated that those responsible for implementing the Firearms Act believed gun ownership to be a questionable activity. This bias had been directly imbedded in the  Firearms Act and the related amendments to the  Criminal  Code.

Sections 91 and  92 of the Criminal Code criminalized mere possession  of  a  firearm,  and  section  117  provided ongoing  directives  to  eliminate  more  easily  owners and classes of firearms.

Over long years of fruitless struggle, many of the gun  owner associations adopted a strategy of calling for a  series of incremental changes, which they believed would eventually overturn all the provisions of the law.

In the face of the increasingly repressive gun laws enacted over several decades – coupled with the intensifying  worldwide  restrictions  on  private  firearms  ownership – this strategy required a tremendous  leap  of  faith.  These  organizations  simultaneously came to  acquiesce fully to Mr. Harper and his minority government’s claim that its hands were tied to the point they could not make meaningful changes, not even Orders in Council.

In order to support the series of “scrap the long-gun registry” bills that Mr. Harper’s minority Government introduced, these gun organizations openly signaled their  “acceptance” of the very licencing scheme they had previously railed against.

Yet this dubious “incremental strategy” of accepting a   “good  first  step”  has  now  made  eliminating  licencing   exponentially  more  difficult.  Many  newly elected   Conservative  Members  of  Parliament  have never even heard of licencing, much less understand the  importance  of  the  Right  to  have  the  means  of armed self-protection.

Given  the  fortuitous  luck  that  saved  gun  owners from  the passage of a firearms bill under a minority government, we have, using the word loosely, safely arrived   at   a   majority   Conservative   government. Mr. Harper and the Conservatives have nothing left to hide   behind.

The  Conservatives  now  must  either deliver on their past promises to repeal the entire Bill C-68, or ignobly expose themselves in not doing so.

We pleadingly call upon the OFAH, the CSSA, the NFA, and all wildlife and sporting federations and associations to remember their original, well-founded opposition to licencing.

Join us as we fight for our Canadian heritage and culture.  Accept no less than the total repeal of the entire Bill C-68.

** Al Muir is a spokesman for CUFOA, the Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association

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