Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Canada Firearms Centre, A Positive Experience

So this year my husband had to renew his PAL (Possession and Acquisition License) and his long term ATT.  The long term ATT (Authority To Transport) allows licensed people to move restricted firearms to ranges, gunsmiths and border crossings for a period of 5 years.  Last October, he sent in all his information and his PAL came through just fine.  Somewhere along the way, my husband, me, the RCMP, all forgot about the ATT.  We haven’t gone shooting for a few months so it hasn’t been an issue and even so, I have my ATT, so it still wouldn’t have been an issue.  I would have been travelling with him.  Even so, he needs his own.

The issue came in when we were at the Calgary Gun Show and he purchased a handgun (a restricted firearm).  Life was good, he and the seller called the Canada Firearms Centre and the RCMP were very helpful.  The officer even said “Well, your short term ATT has been approved so I assume your long term was already sent out, all is well.”  My husband pointed out he has yet to receive his long term ATT. So the very nice lady on the other end of the phone changed the date of the short term ATT.  (A short term ATT is a one trip ATT with specific ‘from-to addresses’ that basically let the RCMP know a restricted firearm has been picked up, and by whom.  It’s part of the registration process for restricted firearms.  We all think it’s a pain but it’s law.)

This morning my husband re-submitted his application for his long term ATT thinking it would take awhile.  Well it did.  It took a mighty, now get this... 27 minutes!  The Canada Firearms Centre is certainly getting their ducks in a row! Alls I can say to that is wow.  That is awesome!  The Canada Firearms Centre gets more pleasant to deal with as time goes on!  Keep it up guys!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Firearms, CFO's and Rights of All

So passes another successful Calgary Gun Show.  The first day of the show, I helped my in-laws man (woman?) their booths and there was quite the crowd.  It was great and a little overwhelming!  Of course, I ditched the booth to do my own shopping which is always fun.  People always have the most interesting displays.  Like last year, we sold a couple of long guns (no registrations, win!) and again, my husband purchased a handgun which he’s still waiting for (registration complications, it was misregistered as a prohibited firearm which is a whole huge discussion that needs to be had.)

It wasn't all fun and happiness though.  Right before the gun show, the Alberta CFO decided to enact some new rules.  These rules are not law nor are they federally mandated, but they were enacted - in the opinions of law abiding gun owners - to scuttle the Calgary Gun Show.  It was done maliciously and to make life difficult for the vendors of the Gun Show.  Again, like I have asked so many times, why punish the law abiding gun owner?  Should we not be the closest ally to the police and those who make laws?

For those who don’t understand how gun shows operate, guns are generally disabled, and even if they are not, a vendor does not have the ammunition for the firearms they are selling.  It is okay and legal to disable a gun with a zap strap, trust me, it works.  I've cursed many a zap strap holding down a trigger in a removal attempt!  I swear, you can lift trucks with some of those damn things!  Anyways, vendors follow safety rules and regulations because in every walk of life there are idiots, and we don’t want to meet them at our table - or if we do, we’d rather our firearm be no more useful than a club.

What the Alberta CFO demanded was every gun be trigger locked.  Now, if we knew that even 6 months ago, it wouldn't have been a big panic.  We believe that the Alberta CFO was hoping to scuttle as many of the sales as possible at the Calgary Gun Show with this rule thinking we couldn't find enough trigger locks.  It was close, but the vendors did find all the trigger locks they needed.  I swear we were all looking in couch cushions near the end but we got thousands of trigger locks on thousands of guns when zap straps were enough (and legal).  I maintain when you can hold two cars together with plastic zip ties, it’s enough to secure a firearm.  They use them to secure criminals, you've seen it on TV, don’t lie, I know you have.

Another rule that we were told to follow was all (unloaded, trigger locked) firearms had to be pointed inward so as not to be pointed at people.  I actually have to say, huh?  When I pointed my gun that I wanted to sell inward, it was pointed at me!  I think I’m people.  I don’t know, I should check on that.  Also, I was in aisle Q.  That means there were people walking all around me so even pointing the gun “inward”, it was still pointing at people walking up aisle P (well, aisles A through P.)  I did have a rifle on the table.  If the CFO was serious, he would have said the guns must be in a rack pointed at the ceiling.  Wait, maybe I shouldn't say that.  I don’t want to give anyone any ideas.

Also, the firearms needed to be secured down to the tables.  We didn't own the tables so it’s not like we can modify them or anything.  So what?  Do we bring really long cables and secure all of the guns to our wrists?  God help us if we needed to use the washroom!  Most of us just secured the guns to each other, if at all.  It’s never been a problem before, why is it now?  Oh ya, because the CFO decided to be difficult and he wanted to scuttle the gun show.

If the rules weren't so arbitrary, I could almost stomach them.  If I felt there were for the safety of the public, I could tolerate them.  If they were to stop actual honest to God crime, I could accept them, but they’re not.  The police and politicians can’t stop criminals so they punish the law abiding, licensed gun owner, and that just irks me.

We get frowned upon for just wanting to get together to buy, sell, and trade firearms, ammunition, brass, gun parts, T-shirts, USB sticks, jewelry, and the like. For the love of God, WE ARE NOT CRIMINALS! If we were, we would not be going to all this effort, jump through all of these ridiculous hoops to stay on side with the law and with power tripping CFO's.

What would make me happy is if the Federal government would step in and protect us. Why aren't they? What's the deal? Why are our rights not being protected?  Why are the CFO's being permitted to walk all over us? The rules are there, the regulations are there, the law is written.  The CFO's have learned they can bypass them and nothing happens to them as long as it's just the gun owners, gun nuts, and gun fanatics that are being harmed.

The thing is I'm not “just a gun owner” nor is my husband.  It is our hobby, our collection.  We’re business owners, home owners, car owners, cat owners.  He’s a cyclist and I’m a writer.  He’s an accountant and I’m a photographer and the list goes on.  But for those who wish to take our rights away, they simply see “gun owner” or “gun nuts” or whatever other term you wish.  

“Gun owner” is only one facet of who we are and it's the one facet of our rights that are being stomped on. If this was a gay rights issue, all kinds of people, gay, straight, men, women would be fighting for equality, but not for us. The problem is, once our rights are gone, it'll be time for the next group. We’re just a good target right now. Not only that, we're big into free speech. That seems to be bad and I don't know why.  People are fighting us on that front as well.  “You can say what you wish as long as it fits the party line.”  Free speech doesn’t work that way, but that’s a whole other fight.

CFO’s in general are not a good idea.  That’s being proven time and again.  Province after province, CFO’s are creating rules (not laws - a cop can’t create a law) that we have to follow.  And technically, they’re not allowed to create these rules.  The problem is, if we as gun owners don’t follow the rules set out by the provincial CFO, we lose our property, our rights, and have little to no recourse.  With that, the federal government really needs to step in and get the CFO’s in line with the law or get rid of the CFO’s completely.  I would prefer the latter.  The CSSA (Canadian Shooting Sports Association) of which I am a member, has put out a petition that I think you should read.  Also, write your own letter to your MP and Garry Breitkreuz, a Saskatchewan MP who is on our side.  Written letters are far better than emails.  It gives them something physical to put in front of others are taken far more seriously.

The fact that the police are controlling us to this extent should scare the hell out of people.  It’s starting with the gun owners but who’s next?  I know a lot of people are thinking it’s “just those  gun people” but what’s going to happen when they realize how many more rights the police have taken from you, and you just didn't notice because it started with the gun owners?  It could be something innocuous like police acting as judge and jury at the roadside.  Without medical education, your car can be confiscated and your license revoked, and there’s nothing you can do and all because you have asthma and can’t do the breathalyzer.  If they’re wrong, it costs YOU money and time to prove otherwise.  It’ll be better to plead guilty and carry on with your life.

Rights are disappearing, some have noticed, others have accepted it because “why do I care, I don’t own a gun anyways.”