When we brought you the story last week of the Armi Jager AP 80 and the letters of confiscation sent to owners of those rifles, I really didn’t think I would hear the arguments from the Harper government that we are hearing now.
Truly I am shocked.
Just to refresh the story here, the RCMP started sending out letters just before Christmas advising owners of the Armi Jager AP 80, advising them that their previously legally registered and purchased weapons were now prohibited in Canada and they must surrender them to the police.
Failure to do so would of course result in legal action, a visit from the police.
The reason for banning this particular rifle from Canada is that it looks like the dreaded AK 47.
This rifle does not operate like the AK 47 and you cannot change the parts to make it fire the larger rounds. The Armi Jager is a .22 caliber rifle, that’s a small round, incredibly small compared to the 7.62 mm rounds of the AK 47 which can put a huge hole in anything it hits.
The owner of the firearm at the centre of a recent court case bought the rifle in the 1980s and registered it when the long gun registry came into effect. He didn’t hear anything about it being banned until 2008.
Since bringing you this story I’ve heard from others who only heard a year ago- 10 years after registering that their rifle was prohibited.
Others gun owners have written to say that they have received similar letters about different rifle being deemed illegal years after they bought them and registered them legally.
Now they are having their weapons confiscated, they must surrender them or have them taken from them and all of this is happening just before the Harper government scraps the long gun registry.
We asked Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to come on the show and answer some questions about what is happening. He is the man in charge of the RCMP, the organization that runs the gun registry.
Toews office said he was busy today. I’m not surprised they haven’t wanted to say much on this topic since we broke it last week.
But the minister did appear on Newswire with Jacqui Delaney this morning to talk about his most wanted list, so Jacqui asked a few questions about this gun registry mess.
Toews dismisses the idea that the RCMP and the gun registry folks are overstepping their bounds and says this is all about classification and a court judgement. Really?
This isn’t a new firearm, this is an old rifle being redefined for it’s looks.
Let me ask all those people who voted for the Conservatives to scrap the gun registry – is this what you voted for?
To me it looks like the RCMP is trying to grab as many guns as it can before the registry is gone.
Not to Toews though. He defends grabbing guns. There are a few problems with this.
Firstly, having the police be the ones to determine what is restricted and what is not, then be the ones to enforce the laws is a bad situation. We elect lawmakers to make law and there are police forces and courts to enforce. Here we have police bureaucrats deciding what to ban and what to allow and then prosecuting those on their list.
Secondly, and we’ll have more on this in a moment, there is the issue of confiscating personal property and not offering compensation for it and that is wrong.
This is what is happening.
I don’t think this is what the people that backed the Conservatives on this issue for the last dozen years or more were expecting.
It’s time to wake them up.
And that’s the Byline.