Finally! A response from Lake Country RCMP Detachment Commander Sgt. Scott Rempel re: Pellet Gun Seizure

In the May 16, 2012 edition of the Vernon Morning Star it was reported that RCMP had seized a pellet gun from a person and were going to destroy it, despite the fact they were not laying any charges against the pellet gun owner.  This seizure arose from a complaint called in to police that someone was shooting a handgun off the north side of the dock near the Turtle Bay Pub.

As anyone who read my May 18th article “Vernon BC’s Lake Country RCMP the latest edition to Police State Canada” will already know, this action from members our national police force raised my hackles, and raised them quite well.  I wrote an open letter to the Lake Country RCMP Detachment Commander and urged everyone else to do the same.

As I wrote then,

I have absolutely no issue with the fact that the RCMP investigated the complaint of someone shooting a handgun from north side of the dock at Turtle Bay Pub.  In fact I would have been horrified had your constables not investigated.  However, once it was determined that no crime had been committed that should have been the end of the matter.

At the time RCMP Constable Kris Clark was quoted as saying

“The pellet gun they were using could’ve certainly been mistaken for a real firearm, even up close.”

He is quite correct.  Good quality pellet guns do resemble actual firearms.  The manufacturers license the designs from firearm companies in order to make a product that people will actually buy.  Imagine that.

Whether a pellet gun looks like a real firearm or not is, legally speaking, irrelevant, since pellet guns are legal to own in Canada.  Now, if you use a pellet gun in the commission of a crime, it doesn’t matter whether it looks like a real gun or not;  you’ll still be charged with a firearm offense, and rightly so, and the pellet gun will be seized by police.  Again, rightly so.

But what about when there is no crime committed?  That was what got my hackles up about this case.  From the information I could find online there was no criminal act, hence no justification for seizing the private property of a citizen.

According to Lake Country RCMP Detachment Commander Sgt. Scott Rempel there is more to the story than was reported in the press, even if it did take him over 2 months to respond to my letter.

Please leave me your thoughts on Sgt. Rempel’s response at the bottom of this article.

20120-7-25

Dear Mr. Di’Armani

Re: Concerns Expressed In Your Letter of May 20, 2012

Thank you for your letter dated May 20th 2012 and for identifying your concerns arising from the newspaper article in the Vernon Morning Star.

I am pleased to provide you with clarification with some of the facts in so far as I am permitted to do so, keeping in mind my obligation to respect the privacy of the individuals involved in the case.

On 10th of May 2012 at 6:31 pm Lake Country RCMP received a complaint from a local resident that an adult male was firing a black handgun at ducks in the water in a small lagoon next to a marina and pub patio in Lake Country.

Two members of the Lake Country RCMP responded to the call and found the male at the scene in possession of what was determined to be a pellet pistol.  The area in question is surrounded by a pedestrian walkway and close to moored vessels all within the range of the pistol.  Based on the evidence presented to the investigators they formed reasonable and probable grounds that offences under section 445.1(1) [Cruelty to animals] and section 88(1) [Possession of a weapon dangerous to public], of the Criminal Code of Canada were supported by the evidence.  As such, the officers had the reasonable belief that the pellet gun was evidence of an offence and could be seized in absence of an arrest under s.489(2)(b) and (c) of the Criminal Code of Canada.  The pellet pistol was seized by the investigators.

The male responsible for these offences was very cooperative and apologetic and was given a chance to atone for his poor judgment.  The officers used considerable discretion as peace officers in dealing with this matter in an alternative matter as opposed to formalizing a response via criminal process.  The male signed a relinquishment of claim turning the pistol over to the police for destruction.

I hope that I have been able to satisfy your concerns in this matter.  If you have further concerns or questions please feel free to contact me.  Alternatively, if you are not satisfied with my response you can file a formal complaint under Part VII of the RCMP Act with Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP at Bag Service 1722, Station B, Ottawa, Ontario K1P0B3 Tel: 1-800-267-6637 Fax: 1-613-952-8045.

Yours truly,

Signed by

Sgt. Scott REMPEL
NCO i/c Lake Country RCMP

----

Here are the relevant sections of the Criminal Code of Canada that Sgt. Rempel used in his letter:

Criminal Code of Canada Section 445.

(1) Every one commits an offence who, wilfully and without lawful excuse,

(a) kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle and are kept for a lawful purpose; or

(b) places poison in such a position that it may easily be consumed by dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle and are kept for a lawful purpose.

and

Seizure of things not specified

Criminal Code of Canada Section 489.

(1) Every person who executes a warrant may seize, in addition to the things mentioned in the warrant, any thing that the person believes on reasonable grounds

(a) has been obtained by the commission of an offence against this or any other Act of Parliament;
(b) has been used in the commission of an offence against this or any other Act of Parliament; or
(c) will afford evidence in respect of an offence against this or any other Act of Parliament.

(2) Every peace officer, and every public officer who has been appointed or designated to administer or enforce any federal or provincial law and whose duties include the enforcement of this or any other Act of Parliament, who is lawfully present in a place pursuant to a warrant or otherwise in the execution of duties may, without a warrant, seize any thing that the officer believes on reasonable grounds

(a) has been obtained by the commission of an offence against this or any other Act of Parliament;
(b) has been used in the commission of an offence against this or any other Act of Parliament; or
(c) will afford evidence in respect of an offence against this or any other Act of Parliament.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Finally! A response from Lake Country RCMP Detachment Commander Sgt. Scott Rempel re: Pellet Gun Seizure

  1. This is the same tired old story. It amounts to extortion in my opinion. They basically threaten the guy with endless legal fees, -OR- a get out of jail free card, free with every firearm turned over to the police without complaint.

  2. Two Points:
    “a complaint from a local resident that an adult male was firing a black handgun at ducks in the water in a small lagoon next to a marina and pub patio in Lake Country.”

    “The area in question is surrounded by a pedestrian walkway and close to moored vessels”

    Was it Duck hunting season? NO, even if it was, you can’t shoot at them with a pellet gun. PARTICULARLY across a pedestrian walkway. What kind of a moron is this guy? The kind of a MORON that should not have ANY type of gun in his possession. He has clearly proven that he is incapable of a rational thought process. Someone should have not only taken his pellet gun, but should have kicked his ass in the process, and charged him under the Migratory Bird Act. He should consider himself very lucky he only lost his property.

    Thumbs up to the cops on ‘this’ one! I doubt if a Conservation Officer would have been as lenient.

  3. Sounds like the police were pretty patient with this guy. Picture a guy with on what looks like a real gun shooting ducks in a public place. After what happened in a movie theatre and a temple American cops would probably be more aggressive. In typical Mountie fashion they calmly risked their lives and reasoned with this nut bar. Nobody knew this was a pellet gun when he was shooting it. He could have used it next to rob a store who knows. Good for the Mounties as they handled this professionally. The whiners should check out south of the border.

  4. I can not agree with either side unless the file is made public.The police in that area has a record of making orders and decisions but when confronted with an FOI on the file, many times there is no file opened (unlawful) or very little info to support their argument.I know of a recent issue where a guy was threatened with a gun, the police investigated, a decision was made which stated the person with the gun was a friend so it is okay to threaten as long as you are a friend. The police never attempted to look for the gun. Ducks over people, maybe.

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