Open Letter to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews: Law-abiding gun owners treated worse than criminals

April 4, 2012

The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety
Public Safety Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Minister:

On Thursday, March 29, 2012 in the House of Commons you said:

"I can indicate our Conservative government does not support treating law-abiding hunters, farmers and sports shooters as criminals."

The sad fact is that law-abiding gun owners will continue to be treated worse than criminals even after the long-gun registry is scrapped. If your statement is true, please explain why does your government still treats millions of honest, trustworthy, upright gun owners as more dangerous than the 324,723 persons prohibited by the courts from owning firearms?

For example, licensed gun owners who fail to report their change of address within thirty days could go to jail for up to two years while those prohibited from possessing firearms face no such requirement or criminal penalty. Also, the homes and businesses of licensed gun owners are subject to "inspections" but not those convicted criminals on the list of those prohibited from owning firearms.

And pity the more than 338,000 unfortunate gun owners who have let their firearms licenses expire or the millions who forgot to get a license in the first place because they wait nervously for the police (and sometimes even a SWAT team) to arrive to search their homes, seize and destroy their legally acquired property and charge them with unlawful possession of a firearm under Sections 91 or 92 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

I say "unfortunate" because even though they had no criminal intent and have not committed an unsafe or violent act, they could go to jail for two, five or even ten years simply for failing to get a piece of paper from your government.

Before you and your colleagues can honestly say that law-abiding gun owners are no longer treated like criminals, you will have to repeal those "paper crimes" from laws the Liberals rammed through Parliament in 1995 with the passage of Bill C-68.

The Leader of Reform Party, the Leader of the Canadian Alliance Party and, according to some of your own constituents, even you used to promise to "Repeal Bill C-68". The gun control regime that was in place in 1994 only cost the federal government $15 million a year to operate and was just as effective at keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals as the new and improved Liberal anti-gun owner regime in place today that continues to cost taxpayers at least four times that amount annually.

As you may remember, I worked for Garry Breitkreuz for thirteen years on the firearms file and offer the government my assistance if needed.

The evidence clearly shows that law-abiding gun owners are the least likely to be a public safety threat and yet for the last seventeen years the government has placed a very expensive target on our backs all the while ignoring the real threat to police and the public: convicted violent criminals.

It makes no sense to spend tens of millions a year to track millions of honest folk like us and not know the whereabouts of a few hundred thousand of the most dangerous persons in Canada.

Why are their rights and freedoms more important than ours?

Sincerely,

[Original signed by]

Dennis R. Young
10 Discovery Ridge Close SW
Calgary, AB T3H 5X3

cc To all Conservative MPs and Senators

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