This is the classic example of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing with a law-abiding citizen being harassed and placed in handcuffs because of the total incompetence of one or more government bureaucrats.
It's absurd, asinine, stupid, moronic... I could go on but you get the point.
Some jackass bureaucrat at the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) made a decision on a product being imported into Canada for sale. Said bureaucrat stamped the item "INSPECTED AND APPROVED FOR IMPORT" and the shipment of bb guns was sent on to its intended recipient, Ontario distribution company North Sylva.
North Sylva then resold them to numerous sporting goods and army surplus stores across Canada, including Mississauga store owner Tony Messina and his sporting goods store North American Blade.
Tony Messina is a businessman. His business is buying and selling sporting goods, which happens to include bb guns. He does NOT sell firearms and has no desire to.
He DOES sell bb guns in a variety of configurations just like hundreds if not thousands of other Canadian businesses do, including such giants as Canadian Tire.
What has landed Tony Messina and other legitimate businesses across Canada in hot water with the RCMP is the fact he was selling bb guns that had been inspected and approved by one or more bureaucrats from the CBSA.
The bb gun the RCMP is so concerned about (and let me be clear, I am NOT saying they shouldn't be) is one that looks like an AK-47 and can be, the RCMP claims, transformed into a live-firing gun just by swapping out a few parts.
If that is indeed the case, the RCMP may have a legitimate reason for wanting to get these things off the street. Their job is supposed to be protecting the public, and sadly we human beings will often find creative ways to harm one another, and that includes taking a bb gun and converting it to fire live ammunition.
The AK-47 is classed as a prohibited weapon under current Canadian law, which means only those who have owned one or more firearms in that class prior to 1979 may legally own them in Canada.
Canadian firearms law being a bit bass-ackwards, as it were, "prohibited" does not mean "illegal", it merely means you must have the correct paperwork in order to own these firearms.
I had a conversation with a senior RCMP member a few years ago (one of the really decent RCMP members, too) who was concerned about another imported bb gun or flare gun, I can't remember which, that could easily be converted to firing live ammunition. He was very concerned about them being on the street because they had found a number of them at crimes scenes where the converted version had been the murder weapon.
As someone whose job description includes attempting to prevent murders, he felt it was his duty, his obligation even, to get these things off the street.
The RCMP has a similar concern with these AK-47 look-alikes.
Now, do I believe the RCMP's public statements that say these can be converted to live fire simply by replacing a bolt and barrel? Of course not. I suspect there will be to it than just swapping out two parts. That being said, the conversion is probably not very difficult, hence their concern for these bb guns being on the street.
While some will read this article and say I'm siding with police... well, perhaps... but if I am it's only to a point. That point would be where they place law-abiding Canadians in handcuffs when they KNOW these citizens have not committed any crime.
The items these store owners are selling, while the RCMP may not like it, are 100% legal to sell in Canada. The Canadian Border Services Agency has already said so.
That is where I get my knickers in a twist... when the RCMP treats honest citizens like criminals when the RCMP knows full well they are not.
The people the RCMP ought to be placing in handcuffs are the morons at the CBSA, if they need to place anyone in handcuffs at all.
The CBSA is, after all, the agency responsible for insuring that goods imported into Canada meet Canadian legal requirements, and a host of other regulations.
According to a CBC news report, despite the RCMP investigation into these bb guns, the morons at CBSA can't even find the paperwork for these shipments.
Messina and the other store owners have done nothing wrong. They were selling items that the government itself had declared legal for import and resale to Canadian consumers by the Canadian government.
Placing Messina and other store owners in handcuffis like common criminals is outrageous and will be, I trust, the basis for several lawsuits against these overzealous thugs from the RCMP for false arrest or whatever the most appropriate title of the lawsuit should be.
The people the RCMP should be arresting are the morons down at CBSA who let these bb guns into the country if they are, as the RCMP alleges, easily able to be converted into live firearms.
The RCMP has now seized all the inventory of these bb guns that it can find, and is now trying to track down anyone who may have purchased one of them.
Tony Messina stated the obvious when he said
"The [CBSA] should have checked things out before they actually allowed them to be sold. Somebody messed up. I'm just hoping that in the near future they can and will hire somebody who knows what's coming into the country."
Just prior to arresting one or more imbecilic CBSA employees for dereliction of duty and any other charges that may be necessary, the RCMP needs to personally and publicly apologize to every single store owner they placed in handcuffs and harassed like common street criminals.
It's just the right thing to do for an organization that already has way too many black eyes as far as the public is concerned...