Recreational Firearms Community of Saskatchewan

Cdn-Firearms Digest Excerpts


Subject: Letter: Tree huggers show narrow vision
Subject: Controversial Gopher-Hunting Derby
Subject: Column: City folk know about gopher problems, too
Subject: Column: Ottawa hot under collar over soldering gun
Subject: Gopher hunt draws international fire:
Subject: Ghost Gun Glitches
Subject: CFC's Austin on Air Guns in Nov 2000 & March 2002
 


Cdn-Firearms Digest       Tuesday, April 9 2002       Volume 04 : Number 674
Subject: Letter: Tree huggers show narrow vision

PUBLICATION:  The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
DATE:  2002.04.09
EDITION:  Final
SECTION:  Forum
PAGE:  A6
BYLINE:  Pat Scott
SOURCE:  The StarPhoenix
DATELINE:  SASKATOON
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Tree huggers show narrow vision
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Well, I just can't keep it in anymore. The story Gopher hunt draws international fire (SP April 2) made me furious. Sinikka Crosland and her followers are brain-washed, narrow-minded people who have probably never been out of their province and yet have the nerve to tell us in the Prairie provinces that we are "barbaric."

I bet that, if she were losing her livelihood to a small rodent, her opinion would be different -- a lot different.

If she doesn't feel like visiting our province, who cares! We don't need her anyway.

I am a hunter and my children will be raised in the "sport" of hunting. If Crosland is concerned about unlicensed hunters and ill-trained people using <firearms>, well she has that right. But tell me, how is a person supposed to gain experience of <firearms> and the sport of hunting from in front of the TV?

We hunters have a name for these narrow-visioned people; we call them "tree huggers"!

Go, Saskatoon Wildlife Federation. Stick up for yourselves, whatever the cost! And, yes, I am a SWF member.

Pat Scott

Saskatoon

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Cdn-Firearms Digest       Monday, April 8 2002       Volume 04 : Number 673
Subject: Controversial Gopher-Hunting Derby

PUBLICATION:  CTV
DATE:  2002.04.05
COLUMN:  Canada AM
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Controversial Gopher-Hunting Derby
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BLACK: Well, you wouldn't think that this little guy [video excerpt] would ever be the focus of a hunting expedition, but a gopher-hunting derby in Saskatchewan is under way, even offering a cash prize to the person who kills the largest number of gophers. And this is stirring up some controversy with animal activists. And it has become quite a derby. Joining us now is gopher derby organizer Len Jabush from the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation.

Good morning, sir.

JABUSH: Good morning, Rod. How are you this morning?

BLACK: We're doing fine.

Let's talk about this derby, first of all the semantics of it. It's already under way, April 1 it began. It goes for quite some time.

JABUSH: It goes from April 1 to June 23. And we're asking that everyone has their entries in to be registered prior to June 1 [sic] and then all the tails have to be in by the 23rd of June, two o'clock.

BLACK: So, give me a history of this. When did this start? Why did it start? How did it start?

JABUSH: Well, the biggest reason we got it going is because of the population of gophers in Saskatchewan. I'm being told that 5.4 million acres of land are infested with gophers. And this is [unintelligible] food member, so to slow down the use of strychnine which was going to hit so many untargeted animals and birds we thought we'd put on this gopher derby to kind of help out to landowners and if these little critters got to go let's put a little money back into wildlife habitat.

BLACK: Mm-hm. Give us an idea of how many gophers are actually killed during this stretch. I guess it's almost a couple of months.

JABUSH: Well, we have no way of knowing of how many will be killed but I would think that we would be up in the thousands, which is not going to make that big of a dent in the population but it will help.

BLACK: So, why hold a gopher hunt? I mean, beyond the overpopulation. Are the farmers most concerned about the gophers?

JABUSH: Yes, they are. I was just at a conference yesterday, a burrowing rodent conference, and there is a big concern. Like, the landowners that have cattle, they're concerned about legs being broke, axles broke off of machinery --

BLACK: From the gopher holes.

JABUSH: From the gopher holes. And then we have another minor problem with the pocket gopher. I guess we're basically talking Richardson ground squirrels. But the pocket gopher is also causing a problem for the landowner.

BLACK: How many people are participating in this?

JABUSH: Well, when we first started this we anticipated if we got a hundred or two hundred people, at max, we would be happy. But since we've started it we have put out in excess of 20,000 applications. We have somewhere in the neighbourhood of about 130 or 140 in our office registered now. So, if all of those applications come back in we could have in excess of 20,000 people registered.

BLACK: Wow. And you obviously hear questions and there are a lot of people out there who might be outraged that these cute little critters are being killed in this gopher derby. How do you respond to those criticisms? How do you respond to the animal activists out there?

JABUSH: Well, first of all, a lot of people are I think basically they're thinking they don't want people out and about in the countryside with firearms. Now, you got to understand that it is a federal law, you must be licensed. And if you're not licensed you have to be within arm's reach of someone that is. So, the firearms is not an option, in our opinion.

The gopher is going to be exterminated one way or another. So, we felt with the gopher derby we're getting people involved shooting. And half of the registration fee will be going to prize money, the other half will be going back to buy and restore, upgrade natural habitat for wildlife.

BLACK: And obviously the activists are going to say that this is inhumane. How do you respond to that?

JABUSH: Well, for example, when you shoot a gopher in most cases it's either an instant kill or a complete miss.

BLACK: So who wins? Who wins the contest? How do you decide a winner?

JABUSH: Whoever gets the most tails turned in, that's who will be the winner.

BLACK: Any idea of how many tails have won in the past?

JABUSH: I haven't even the slightest idea where to do with that one.

BLACK: Alright. Len Jabush, thank you for being with us this morning.

JABUSH: Thank you very much. Len Jabush, Saskatoon Wildlife Federation

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Cdn-Firearms Digest       Monday, April 8 2002       Volume 04 : Number 673
Subject: Column: City folk know about gopher problems, too

PUBLICATION:  The Leader-Post (Regina)
DATE:  2002.04.06
EDITION:  Final
SECTION:  News
PAGE:  A2
COLUMN:  Bob Hughes
BYLINE:  Bob Hughes
SOURCE:  The Leader-Post
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City folk know about gopher problems, too
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The only time in my life that I ever went <hunting> was so long ago I cannot even remember the year. My father and I left our cottage at Regina Beach one very sunny and hot morning, I remember that much, and drove out on one of the grid roads, where he parked the car on the side, and we got out.

He brought with him a rifle, I have no idea what kind it was, and we moved into a field, and he set up some bottles on a fence post and tried to shoot them off it. After a little while at doing this, we headed deeper in the field, up onto a small swell of land, and sat there until prey showed up below us, which was not long.

My father took some shots and nothing happened. He missed. He asked me if I wanted to try it. I did, even though I had never shot a gun in my life, but I was a big fan of cowboy shows on television, even if they were in black and white. I took the rifle, put it up to my shoulder, aimed at the prey, squeezed the trigger, heard a bang and felt a jolt in my shoulder that knocked me back on my butt.

It was the last time I ever went <hunting>. And that day, that beautiful morning in the summer at the beach, we returned to the cottage without so much as a single kill. We had not been able to hit one of the gophers we were shooting at, even though they seemed quite willing just to stand there on their hind legs, sniffing the clear morning air.

"Gophers," my friend Richard told me yesterday over lunch, "are the stupidest animals around. You can sit there shooting and shooting at them and missing and missing. And they have to hear the gun going off and they have to hear the bullets whistling over them, and they just stay there, their bright eyes looking, their noses twitching. Not a worry in the world."

Dads have taken kids out shooting at gophers forever in this province. At one time, it seemed almost a rite of passage that a father would take his son out to shoot at them. Farm kids used to earn small change by bringing in dead gophers which they had snared and drowned. And for as long as I can remember, nothing gets run over on the highway as much as gophers who, once they have crossed the road safely, will suddenly turn and for some reason sprint right back into the path of a car. Nobody, as far as I know, has ever suggested cars should not be allowed on the highways until they agree to give the gophers the right of way.

But now there is a steadily rising movement that is seeking to save the gophers in Saskatchewan. This all has happened because farmers in Saskatchewan have complained there are too many gophers on some of their acreages. They are saying that the gopher population is exploding to numbers that are out of control and as a result crops are being ruined.

As a result, there now is a gopher-<hunting> spree about to hit full stride and people will get prizes if they bring in the most gopher tails, which is what you have to bring in to prize headquarters to prove how many gophers you have killed.

The freezing weather that has been keeping golfers at work also has likely not done much for the gopher derby that was supposed to begin on April Fool's Day and is to last until June 23rd at 2 p.m. when the winners will be confirmed by the number of tails they bring in.

The Saskatoon Wildlife Federation, which came up with this derby idea when more and more farmers began complaining about the rodents, took some predictable heat from animal rights groups and also from some farmers and also from some city-dwellers who think the gophers are cute. Eighty-two per cent of Saskatchewan farmers are said to be reporting "gopher problems."

Contrary to the belief that city folks don't understand the gopher problem "out there" I can report that we do so know. Why, right here on the lawn outside the Leader-Post building, there are gophers. There are gophers in other people's lawns around the city. We know gophers.

And it has always been the contention that the reason the Saskatchewan Roughriders made the playoffs so many years in a row back then wasn't just because of Ronnie and George. It was because of gophers; no, not that big rat Gainer. You see, back in the good old days of Ronnie and George, the Riders held their training camp at either Campion College or the University of Regina, both of which had fields that were dotted with gopher holes. The Riders also used to practice on the infield of the race track at the Exhibition Grounds. Not until they left there and moved into their new digs at Taylor Field, moved their training camp to Saskatoon, did they start losing more than they won. The theory was, learning to dodge gopher holes made dodging defensive backs mere child's play once the season started. Why, every year Eagle Keys and Ken Preston would bring in extra receivers and defensive backs to training camp because they knew they would lose a few who would fall into the gopher holes and disappear forever.

So, don't tell us city folk we don't know nothing about gophers. We know.  They just won't let us wander around town killin' em. Go figure.

- - Bob Hughes is Executive Editor of the Leader-Post.

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Cdn-Firearms Digest       Monday, April 8 2002       Volume 04 : Number 671
Subject: Column: Ottawa hot under collar over soldering gun

PUBLICATION:  Windsor Star
DATE:  2002.04.04
EDITION:  Final
SECTION:  EDITORIAL
PAGE:  A6
COLUMN:  LORNE GUNTER
BYLINE:  Lorne Gunter
SOURCE:  Edmonton Journal
ILLUSTRATION: LORNE GUNTER
NOTE: EDITOR'S NOTE: Lorne Gunter is an Edmonton Journal columnist. He appears Thursdays.
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Ottawa hot under collar over soldering gun
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Stop, I've got a soldering gun and I'm not afraid to use it!

To be honest, I don't own a soldering gun. If I did, as with most power tools, I wouldn't have a clue what to do with it.

But Brian Buckley has a soldering gun. I imagine he's pretty handy with it, too.

Buckley owns an auto body shop in Oak Lake, Man., a community of about 500 along the TransCanada highway between Virden and Brandon.

Buckley is also a recreational gun owner opposed to Ottawa's firearms registry.

He has a valid licence to possess firearms. As required by the Firearms Act, more than a year ago he went to all the trouble and expense of registering himself as an owner of firearms.

He filled out the complicated and intrusive licensing forms, submitted his life to scrutiny by federal bureaucrats and police and did so within the deadline stipulated in the law.

He didn't want to, but he complied anyway with the legal requirement that all Canadians who wish to own firearms obtain a possession licence from Ottawa.

In other words, he put himself through all the hoops imposed by the Canadian Firearms Program to certify that he is fit to own guns.

But when around Christmas, Buckley received in the mail the forms for registering his guns (gun owners had until the end of 2000 to register themselves and to the end of this year to register their guns), he decided to have a bit of fun with the federal Liberals and their gun registry.

He decided to see whether he could register his Black & Decker heat gun and his Weller soldering gun, neither of which is obviously a firearm.

Heck, I own neither power tools nor firearms and even I know a soldering gun isn't a firearm.

I guess if a robber had a long enough extension cord, he could take his soldering gun to a convenience store and threaten to give the clerk a nasty burn if he/she didn't fork over the contents of the till. Or perhaps a robber could plug one in at a bank and then menacingly warn the tellers, "Hey, when this baby warms up in about 15 or 20 minutes, I'm gonna hold this place up like you won't believe!"

Buckley's registration certificate is hilarious. On the line that reads "Make:" it declares "Black & Decker/Weller."

"Type: HEATGUN/SOLDERING GUN."

"Action: 110 VOLT AC."

It's very clear that human beings are not processing registration applications.

Processed by computer

The forms are, apparently, being received and scanned into a computer. If they contain information on specific guns the computer has been programmed to reject, one presumes the application is denied. (But we can only presume that, the whole system is such a mess, it's entirely possible prohibited weapons are making it past this system, too.)

About a year ago, senior officers inside the RCMP admitted to Alliance MP Garry <Breitkreuz> that the Mounties had been ordered by the Department of Justice Canada to stop verifying the information on registration forms and just push through whatever came in. Buckley's soldering-gun registration proves that is exactly what's happening.

If the registry cannot even kick back an application to register hardware, how could it possibly detect a fraudulent application to register a machine gun as a hunting rifle or a short-barrelled, concealed pistol as a legal handgun?

The answer is, it can't. The registration of guns is a sham. It is based entirely on the honour system. Whatever you tell it you own, that is what it registers. The only rejections are likely of applications that contain honest mistakes, not deliberate misinformation.

Criminals aren't going to register -- honourably -- their sawed-off shotguns and machine pistols, their oversized magazines and the Saturday Night Specials they buy from smugglers.

In just the last year, the central registry has lost track of nearly 40,000 licensed owners, issued duplicate licences to at least 1,000 more, printed out hundreds of licences with the wrong names or photos on them and sent 57 registration certificates to one owner for the 16 guns in his possession -- and those are just the cases known to <Breitkreuz>.

Buckley's act of insolence has made a mockery of the Canadian Firearms Program and of Justice Canada and they are not amused.

While the Criminal Code makes it an offence to use false information to register a gun, that provision was designed to keep criminals from lying to obtain a licence and to prevent prohibited weapons from remaining in circulation. Yet, Justice Canada has asked the RCMP to see whether Buckley can be charged.

Nothing Buckley claimed on his application was false. He did not mislead. The fault is entirely with the registry's slapdash methods.

But having been shown to have no clothes, the emperor is now enraged. Apparently, it is as great an offence to ridicule the federal government as it is to commit a heist with a gun.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To read a CP article about this situation, please go here.
To see a copy of the registration certificate, please go here.

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Cdn-Firearms Digest       Tuesday, April 2 2002       Volume 04 : Number 661
Subject: Gopher hunt draws international fire:

PUBLICATION:  The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
DATE:  2002.04.02
EDITION:  Final
SECTION:  News
PAGE:  A1 / Front
BYLINE:  Darren Bernhardt
SOURCE:  The StarPhoenix
ILLUSTRATION: Colour Photo: (Gopher)
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Gopher hunt draws international fire: 'Barbaric' contest may have ramifications on tourism industry
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The controversial gopher slaying derby that officially began Monday has sparked international outrage from people who call the hunt "barbaric" and say they won't be visiting Saskatchewan any time soon. The contest, which is sponsored by the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation (SWF) and runs until June 23, is open to Saskatchewan residents. Those bringing in the most gophers tails as proof of their kill will be given cash prizes.

The intent is to make a dent in the number of gophers, which have caused havoc on the prairie landscape. But the idea has damaged the province's reputation, say those opposed to it.

"Please be aware that, until such barbaric acts become a part of your area's local history, I will not be inclined to visit your province -- for any reason," says a form letter sent from locations in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Maryland, Michigan, Connecticut, California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York and London, England, among others.

The letter was written by a group called Canadian Health Action Professionals (CHAP), which says the derby is "unacceptable in our modern society . . . where citizens are attempting to raise their children according to humane and ethical standards."

It chides the SWF for not working toward the protection of wildlife, but rather its destruction, and says children will learn some animals are disposable and their suffering acceptable. A better solution is to plant alternate crops and use a crop rotation and irrigation plan, which all "lower the suitability of the habitat for gopher occupancy," the group says.

Sinikka Crosland, of Westbank, B.C., who is part of CHAP as well as the Committee for Compassionate Living and The Responsible Animal Care Society, helped write the letter and pass it to her worldwide contacts.

Crosland is worried gophers will be injured but not killed and wander for days in agony.

She is also concerned that unlicensed and ill-trained people will be using guns.

According to the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, gophers are a non-game species, which means a person need not take a <firearms> safety training course to hunt them.

"It sounds like a very dubious situation, even from the point of public health and safety," said Crosland, who advised people to send the letters to the provincial wildlife federation because it "has some clout over the (Saskatoon Wildlife Federation)."

The heated issue has also prompted a handful of members from the Saskatchewan federation to hand in their memberships in disgust, says executive director Lorne Scott. Still, he stands by the contest and believes the criticism will abate.

Crosland has also contacted the Saskatoon federation, but doesn't feel her concerns were taken seriously.

"For instance, when I asked what controls they would put on the derby, I didn't get a response," she said.

"I politely told her to piss off," said Len Jabush, SWF business manager.  "But I did it very diplomatically."

Those complaining about the derby have no idea what it's like to be a farmer or rancher facing an invasion of gophers ravaging the land, he said.

"But talk to any of the RMs, they are very much in favour. I have not heard a negative response from any RM," he said. "And how many of these people who are concerned about this are from Manitoba and Alberta? None. Zip. That's because those provinces understand what we're going through.

"We've been getting mega calls from people in those provinces wanting to get in on the shoot."

Maybe the gopher derby could be used to entice people who have left the province to move back, joked Jabush, who believes the negative attention is helping his cause by spreading the word.

"So keep it coming," he said.

Consecutive winters with little snowfall have allowed gopher numbers to swell to the point that acres of crops are disappearing. Last year
administrators in some rural municipalities declared a state of emergency.  This year is expected to be worse.

The SWF came up with the 2002 Ken Turcot Memorial Gopher Derby, named in honour of a longtime SWF member who "lived to shoot gophers," said Jabush.  The payouts (half the registration money) depend on the amount of people who enter and pay the $20 fee. Already, the SWF has printed 30,000 applications after the initial 10,000 disappeared in the first week. Application forms are available at all rural municipality and town offices.

However, just 100 people have paid the $20 though Jabush is confident that will quickly grow.

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Cdn-Firearms Digest       Tuesday, April 2 2002       Volume 04 : Number 661
Subject: GHOST GUN GLITCHES

PUBLICATION:  The Winnipeg Sun
DATE:  2002.03.30
SECTION:  News
PAGE:  5
SOURCE:  Staff Reporter
BYLINE:  Connie Tamoto
ILLUSTRATION: photo of PAUL KRAWCHUK
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GHOST GUN GLITCHES
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The people in charge of registering Canada's <firearms> are under fire once again this month -- this time for registering guns that don't exist.  "What kind of dummies are looking after gun registration?" asked Garden Grove resident Paul Krawchuk. "First they register a heating gun, then they register guns that I don't even own."

Krawchuk received a letter from the federal government this week confirming the registration of four rifles and a .22-calibre handgun.

The 34-year-old city recycling employee owns four black powder hunting rifles, but none is registered and they aren't the same kind as the ones that Ottawa has registered for him.

"Why can't they get it right?" asked Krawchuk. "How many other guys out there are having messes like this?"

Last week, Oak Lake resident Bill Buckley registered his soldering iron as a firearm to highlight glitches in the registration system.

HANG UPS

After receiving the letter, Krawchuk said he called the <firearms> registration centre to clear up the mess, but was put on hold for at least
30 minutes -- prompting him to hang up the phone.

Canadian <Firearms> Centre spokesman David Austin said there was nothing he could do on his end to help Krawchuk, adding the only way to sort out the problem is by calling the 1-800 number.

But Krawchuk said he is not prepared to waste half his day on the phone when it's the feds who made the mistake. "I'm not going to wait on the phone for them."

Austin said phone lines at the call centre are tied up during the day and recommends calling at night or on the weekend. He said he would take Krawchuk's name and number and forward it to a customer service representative.

Canadian Alliance MP Howard Hilstrom said mistakes like Krawchuk's and Buckley's are far too common.

"It doesn't surprise me that they have this kind of confusion," said Hilstrom. "Their system is not functioning with a low enough error rate that the police or anyone else can put much reliability on it." Krawchuk said he wants the five guns supposedly registered to him to be assigned to the rightful owner.

"If a murder happens and they find that .22 and it's still registered under my name, they'll come looking for me. The SWAT team would be out on my lawn," said Krawchuk.

Last year, Krawchuk obtained a gun licence under the new law, but has yet to register his four rifles.

"I'm going to wait until the last minute to register my guns now," he said.

Canadian gun owners have until Jan.1, 2003, to register all <firearms> in their possession.

'Feds registered <firearms> that don't exist'

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Subject: CFC's AUSTIN ON AIR GUNS IN NOV 2000 & MARCH 2002

AUSTIN - NOVEMBER 28, 2000: "No policy decision has been made yet on airguns," Mr. Austin said. "No changes have been made to the list that would make them firearms. The National Firearms Association is speculating."  SOURCE: New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, Page C1, "Air gun status confusion said to be holding up sales" - November 28, 2000 (Article attached).
 

AUSTIN - MARCH 19, 2002: Canadian Firearms Centres spokesman David Austin said it's nothing new that some air guns with a high enough muzzle velocity are considered firearms that must be registered.  The muzzle-velocity figure has been in place since new federal gun-control legislation passed in 1995.  The fact that the number of air guns classified as firearms for registration is increasing also makes sense, he said. As new air gun models are introduced, more of them need to be registered. "It changes constantly. The numbers keep going up," he said. SOURCE: Edmonton Sun, Page 18, "COPS WANT MORE AIR GUNS REGISTERED" - March 19, 2002 (Article attached).
 

PUBLICATION:  The Edmonton Sun
DATE:  2002.03.19
SECTION:  News
PAGE:  18
SOURCE:  Edmonton Sun
BYLINE:  Dan Palmer

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COPS WANT MORE AIR GUNS REGISTERED
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Ottawa has identified more than 280 air guns that need to be registered as firearms, making innocent people criminals, claims a Canadian Alliance MP.  "The Liberals are going after people who are not a danger to society," Garry Breitkreuz, the party's gun-control critic, said yesterday.

<Breitkreuz> said in February the RCMP identified 286 air gun models that are classified as firearms under the Criminal Code - up from the 237 identified in May 2000. That means, like other firearms, the air guns have to be registered. Any gun with a muzzle velocity of more than 500 feet per second is considered a firearm.

Canadian Firearms Centres spokesman David Austin said it's nothing new that some air guns with a high enough muzzle velocity are considered firearms that must be registered.  The muzzle-velocity figure has been in place since new federal gun-control legislation passed in 1995.

The fact that the number of air guns classified as firearms for registration is increasing also makes sense, he said. As new air gun models are introduced, more of them need to be registered. "It changes constantly. The numbers keep going up," he said.

Austin said he couldn't confirm Breitkreuz's number yesterday, but said it sounded accurate. Austin conceded it's also possible the number of air guns that need to be registered can go up because the centre may not be initially aware of a new type of air gun.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

PUBLICATION:  The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal
DATE:  2000.11.28
SECTION:  Business
PAGE:  C1
SOURCE:  Telegraph-Journal
BYLINE:  TALI FOLKINS

Air gun status confusion said to be holding up sales; FIREARMS: Some pellet guns may need to be registered, lobby group says

Conflicting reports about whether the federal government is changing the status of 28 air gun models from non-firearms to firearms has lead to confusion and concerns about lost sales among some New Brunswick gun retailers.

"There's still so much confusion that I hesitate to comment," says Ross Faulkner, owner of The Gun Dealer, a McAdam gun shop. "We're not quite sure where it stands. Will it afffect gun stores and other stores that sell guns?  Yes, but it's too early at this point to say exactly what the effect will be."

Last week the National Firearms Association, a 120,000-member lobby group opposed to current gun legislation, announced RCMP sources had provided it with a list of 28 pellet guns reclassified as firearms by the Canadian Firearm Registry, adding that neither the RCMP nor the Department of Justice had informed gun retailers of the change.

However, David Austin, a spokesman for the Justice Department's Canadian Firearms Centre said the Centre's list of firearms, which it had released last May in CD-ROM form, remained unchanged.

"No policy decision has been made yet on airguns," Mr. Austin said. "No changes have been made to the list that would make them firearms. The National Firearms Association is speculating."

The centre, Mr. Austin said, is still reviewing the status of air guns.

Ray Laycock, the NFA's national administrator, would not say who in the RCMP had provided him with the list. However, he said, whether the airguns have been added to the ist or not is irrelevant. Under federal law, guns firing projectiles in excess of 500 feet per second are classified as firearms. In the past, pellets shot from airguns have travelled at less than that speed, but two new types of specially-designed pellets that travel faster have recently arrived on the market. So the inclusion of pellet guns on the government's list of firearms, Mr. Laycock says, is, in effect, already spelled out.

"Whether they have added them to the list or not is immaterial. It's not a question of policy - it's law," he said.

Jim Laws, owner of Miramichi Hunting and Fishing Supplies in Newcastle, is concerned about losing younger customers if pellet guns become classified as firearms. "Any kid that has a firearm underage that's caught with it would be breaking the law," he said.

"They're going to have to straighten it out one way or another - maybe it'll be straightened out [Monday]," he said, alluding to the federal election.
***
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tjfred5@nb.aibn.com

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