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Old March 2, 2010, 08:30 AM   #1
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Oh, Canada!

(I did not see this posted, if it is please delete)

In all the hoopla for the Olympic Games we missed something. This recent court ruling is disappointing the many I am sure.

In oral argument before this court, the Montagues argue that whatever the course of Canada’s legislative history in relation to firearms regulation, the world changed in 1982 with the advent of the Charter. From that date forward, they submit, Parliament was precluded from abrogating existing fundamental rights and freedoms. They maintain that the right to possess firearms in the home for self defence without state intervention was one of those fundamental rights. Accordingly, as a result of the Charter, the existing firearms legislation, which regulates the right to possess and use firearms, is constitutionally invalid as an unwarranted intrusion on the Montagues’ pre-existing common law right to possess and use firearms.

[13] In support of this argument, the Montagues submit that Article 7 of the Bill of Rights, 1689, 1 Will & Mary, sess. 2, c. 2, is “the entrenchment and verbalization of the inherent right to possess firearms for self-defence”. There are several difficulties with this submission.

[14] First, Article 7 of the Bill of Rights, 1689 reads: “That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law” (emphasis added). Thus, the plain language of Article 7 of the Bill of Rights, 1689 recognized that the right to possess arms for the purpose of defence was subject to allowance by law. In other words, Article 7 recognized Parliament’s jurisdiction to constrain the right to possess firearms.

[15] Second, although the Montagues contend that the right envisaged by Article 7 of the Bill of Rights, 1689 comes within the ambit of s. 7 of the Charter, Article 7 has neither directly nor indirectly been incorporated into Canada’s constitution. In New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. v. Nova Scotia (Speaker of the House of Assembly), [1993] 1 S.C.R. 319, at para. 54, McLachlin J. (as she then was) clearly stated that provisions of the Bill of Rights, 1689 “cannot be directly transported without specific reference” and, further, “I do not think that the wording of the preamble to the Constitution Act, 1867 can be taken to refer to [a] specific article of the Constitution of the United Kingdom.”

[16] Moreover, contrary to the Montagues’ contention, the Supreme Court of Canada has addressed the question of whether the possession and use of firearms is a constitutionally protected right and has rejected the notion that Canadians have an absolute constitutional right to possess and use firearms. See R. v. Wiles, [2005] 3 S.C.R. 895, at para. 9; R. v. Hasselwander, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 398, at para. 414. Although s. 7 of the Charter does not appear to have been expressly invoked in those cases, the Supreme Court stated in Hasselwander at para. 414 that, “Canadians, unlike Americans, do not have a constitutional right to bear arms.” In Wiles at para. 9, the Supreme Court said: “[P]ossession and use of firearms is not a right or freedom guaranteed under the Charter, but a privilege.”

[17] The Montagues submit that the above-quoted comments are obiter, as ss. 7 and 26 of the Charter were not engaged in Hasselwander and Wiles or any related jurisprudence.

[18] We disagree. The Supreme Court’s comments in Hasselwander and Wiles apply with equal force to s. 7 of the Charter.

[19] The Supreme Court has also recognized that the possession and use of firearms is a heavily regulated activity aimed at ensuring peace, order and public safety: see Wiles, at para. 9; Reference re Firearms Act (Can.), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 783.

[20] Importantly, even assuming that a right to possess and use firearms comes within the reach of s. 7 of the Charter, that right, like all other fundamental rights and freedoms, is not absolute. The impugned firearms legislation does not prohibit the right to possess and use firearms for self-defence – in the home or elsewhere. Rather, it simply regulates the circumstances under which such possession and use are permissible.

[21] Finally, we note that the trial judge considered in detail the Montagues’ constitutional challenge to the impugned firearms provisions of the Code, the Firearms Act and associated regulations enacted under the latter statute. His reasons in support of his ruling dismissing that challenge are thoughtful and comprehensive. He essentially held that there is no protected constitutional right in Canada to possess or use firearms. We agree with this conclusion and see no basis on which to interfere with his ruling.
...Although s. 7 of the Charter does not appear to have been expressly invoked in those cases, the Supreme Court stated in Hasselwander at para. 414 that, “Canadians, unlike Americans, do not have a constitutional right to bear arms.” In Wiles at para. 9, the Supreme Court said: “[P]ossession and use of firearms is not a right or freedom guaranteed under the Charter, but a privilege.”
Proxima est Mors, Malum Nullum adhibit Misericordiam
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Old March 2, 2010, 08:57 AM   #2
Join Date: January 4, 2008
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That reminds me of when one of those human rights commissioners said something to the effect that 'Canada, unlike the US, does not have freedom of speech.' It is like they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. You would think Canadians would be better off displaying national pride by exceeding the rights of Americans, rather than rejecting those rights.
The only thing of value which we have at present is our arms and our courage. So long as we keep our arms we fancy that we can make good use of our courage; but if we surrender our arms we shall lose our lives as well.
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Old March 2, 2010, 10:19 AM   #3
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Without comment directly on the topic at hand, you should be reminded that many Canadians are descended from people who were forced to leave the United States because they were on the British side in the revolution. Even Flora MacDonald went back to Scotland after the revolution. And I can't help from wondering which side today's conservatives would be on were there to be another revolution.
Shoot low, sheriff. They're riding Shetlands!
Underneath the starry flag, civilize 'em with a Krag,
and return us to our own beloved homes!
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Old March 4, 2010, 01:21 PM   #4
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Another interesting tid bit of information is property rights are not enshrined in our laws. As an example, in 1978 Canada legislated a gun amnesty who's stated purpose included getting unregistered firearms registered.

I had legally purchased an AR-15, AK-47 and AKM, all semi-auto, and thus were legal and did not require to be registered up until the laws were changed in 1977/78. When I went to register the three firearms they were all seized. It took me going to my member of Parliament to have the firearms inspected by the Ontario Firearms Center. I got two back but the AKM remained seized. I received no compensation for something I had legally purchased.

After the tragedy in Tasmania, where an Australian nut case used an FAL to kill dozens of people, the Australian Government passed pretty Draconian firearms laws. But they gave fair market value when the seized now outlawed fireams. I have handguns that, because of their barrel lenght are now "prohibited". Although I can keep them I can only sell or give them away to someone with a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) endorsed to acquire prohibited firearms. As these are not issued and haven't been for a very long time (1978??) most PALs owners with prohibited are probably not far from playing bocci ball in Florida.

I have an 09 Luger that's been in the family for three generations that my family will have to turn in to the police to be destroyed when I pass since I can't deed it to my kids. I support reasonable gun control, including registering non-long guns. I support training and certification as well as really strong storage and transport rules, but knee-jerk laws enacted by latte sipping urbanites who's only idea of a gun owner is that we're all all gang bangers makes me wanna :barf:
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Old March 5, 2010, 12:11 AM   #5
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I support reasonable gun control, including registering non-long guns.
Therein lies the crux of the problem. How many times must it be proven that registration is a prelude to confiscation? Nazi Germany, England, etc. When you registered yours, the government immediately seized one and will seize the others when you pass away.

What is unreasonable gun control one day may become reasonable the next. You can make a reasonable and rational, albeit wrong, argument to ban guns entirely.
Jim's Rules of Carry: 1. Any gun is better than no gun. 2. A gun that is reliable is better than a gun that is not. 3. A hole in the right place is better than a hole in the wrong place. 4. A bigger hole is a better hole.

no guns = might makes right
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