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Old July 13, 2009, 07:53 AM   #1
Uncle Billy
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Going to Canada from New York State

I live near the border between Canada and the US so the local newspaper often has entries in the daily police reports that tell of events involving the police at the border. Our local police department is the one called by our Homeland Security agents that man the entry points if someone crossing into the US or returning from Canada having been refused entry there has legal difficulties.

The latest incident involved someone from Florida being refused entry into Canada because he had a couple of handguns and a rifle. Having been turned back by Canadian Customs at the border because of this, he was checked out more completely at US customs. Since he had handguns unlicensed in New York he was charged with third degree criminal possession of a weapon (a felony since he had been arrested before for a crime, no matter what it was) and having an invalid license plate.

The point is, don't try to enter Canada with a gun unless your possession of it fits these rules:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police: "Firearm Users Visiting Canada"

Also, don't try to enter Canada if you have a conviction for DUI or anything similar; that will get you denied entry as well.

It's also prudent to remember that New York isn't very tolerant of guns- our CCW license takes 6 months and an investigation by the Feds, the State police and local law enforcement, references, etc, etc. and is only granted to NYS residents. If you're coming to or going through New York, better read and comply with what's here:

New York State Rifle and Pistol Assoc.: "New York Gun Laws"

Reentering the US, whether simply returning after a trip in Canada or having been turned back by Canadian Customs puts everyone in the hands of Homeland Security, who have the means and the intent to find out all there is to know about you. At least you'll need a passport. If you have any outstanding warrants or anything else like that, you'll be turned over to the appropriate police agency- local police, FBI, State police. If the reason you got turned back by the Canadians has anything to do with guns, the laws of New York get applied if you're at a border crossing in NY, and that can get real serious real fast no matter how innocent you are of any REAL crime.

Just a word to the wise.
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Old July 13, 2009, 09:55 AM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Indeed.

A friend of mine used to go hunting in Canada every year. Shortly after 9/11, he was refused entry with a firearm because of a DWI/DUI (or some such thing) from the 1960s, if I recall correctly. He had been making the trip annually for like 20 years prior. I'll have to ask him about the exact details.
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Old July 13, 2009, 10:04 AM   #3
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I have no sympathy for idiots that dont know the law, or who intentionally try to break it.

Anyone with 1/2 of a brain knows that NYS and Canada are not friendly territory for firearms. And anyone with 1/10 of a brain knows that crossing international borders with firearms takes extra caution as to licenses/permits, imports and declarations of items.

I learned by the age of 5yo and being raised in PA, that you do not take guns to NYS or Canada. And that was in the 1970's, long before this terrorism crap and long before Canada really got strict about guns.
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Old July 13, 2009, 10:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
A friend of mine used to go hunting in Canada every year. Shortly after 9/11, he was refused entry with a firearm because of a DWI/DUI (or some such thing) from the 1960s,
Actually the firearm would have nothing to do with his being refused entry into Canada in the above example. Anyone with a DUI, tourist or business travler, is actually barred from entering Canada even if you aren't driving on your trip.

Long story short: I have an employee with a 20+ year old DUI who regularly made trips into Canada for us. On one of his trips, he was pulled into Customs where a background check was ran on him. They saw the DUI and told him it was illegal for him to be in their country and was told he had 20 minutes to leave Canada or be arrested, it was his choice. He left.

In order to legally enter Canada again, he is jumping through all kinds of hoops, all of which cost money. He's been working on this for the last 6 months.

I'm still amazed at this but it is their law.
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Old July 13, 2009, 11:11 AM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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Anyone with a DUI, tourist or business travler, is actually barred from entering Canada even if you aren't driving on your trip.
No kidding. Talk about your stupid laws, especially considering how many times he had made the trip previously.
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Old July 13, 2009, 12:07 PM   #6
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Canada can be tough on any violation & deny access. I know someone who was behind on child support payments & was denied access.

Also, too often a DUI is expunged from your driving record, but the arrest is not & shows up on NCIC when a check is made. A friend went on an Alaska cruise that started in LA & ended in Vancouver BC. He was chosen for a detailed Custom's Inspection and there was an old DUI arrest on the record & he had a interesting time getting off the ship.
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Old July 13, 2009, 12:39 PM   #7
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Holy crap! DUI's will bar you from entering Canada?!

Thanks for the news!! I now have ammo to use on the old lady to get her to take a trip somewhere in the USofA instead of going to Niagara Falls/Toronto, Ontario.

This has to be the first time I'm glad of having had a my DUI years ago. lol
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Old July 13, 2009, 12:50 PM   #8
maestro pistolero
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They might have been defendable if they were on their way to Alaska, somewhere they could legally possess the guns . . . even though illegal in Canada. hmm . . .
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Old July 13, 2009, 03:12 PM   #9
Kreyzhorse
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No kidding. Talk about your stupid laws, especially considering how many times he had made the trip previously.
Same way with my guy. He actually knew a lot of the agents in Customs on a first name basis and traveled across the border around 3 times a week. Just a random full background check and the cat was out of the bag. We had no idea.
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Old July 13, 2009, 03:27 PM   #10
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Wait:
He's from Florida , in New York and trying to enter Canada in posession of guns??

Calling Mr. Darwin.

AFS
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Old July 13, 2009, 03:59 PM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Wait:
He's from Florida , in New York and trying to enter Canada in posession of guns??

Calling Mr. Darwin.
Technically, if it's legal to enter Canada with handguns (of which I am not sure) then he did nothing illegal. He is allowed by federal law to travel through all fifty states with the handguns properly locked away.
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Old July 13, 2009, 04:08 PM   #12
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I have a story about an incident that happened to me a couple months ago while acrossing over from NY to Canada. I live along the St. Lawrence river right next to Canada so crossing the border is no big deal; in fact, the plant I work at is right next to the International bridge. One day, I decided to make a quick trip over to visit an engineering firm that was doing work for us when I realized as I was leaving the American side that I had a handgun in the car. I have a clean record and have a CCW permit with NY so up till this point I hadn't done anything wrong. A friend told me before that one time he had forgotten about his pistol in his car when going to Canada and said they were cool on the Canadian side and he just had to surrender it at the border and pick it up on the way back to the US. Well I didn't want to take any chances so I turned my car around. Not thinking it would be any big deal getting back into the U.S. and also feeling that being completely honest was the best thing to do, I told the Custom's agent what had happened. Well he tells me to keep my hands on the wheel and calls for a backup agent. Someone comes out and takes my picture while I was in the car, then they have me pull over, they search my car, have me clear my handgun then they check my serial number against my CCW permit. During all of this, although it perturbed me (apparently you can't say p***ed), I didn't say a thing; I was completely cooperative and even was apologetic to the agents. Now I can see the Canadians having this kind of reaction, but it usually isn't the Canadians that are the problem, it's usually our own side that gives you the biggest hassle.
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Old July 13, 2009, 05:07 PM   #13
Ed K
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It's sad a person makes mistake pays debt to sociteyand is banned from Canada, but they welcome draft dodgers deserters and other lowlifes with open arms as long as your anti American. The crazies are running the farm. We're not far behind.
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Old July 13, 2009, 05:19 PM   #14
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You will note, of course, that Canadians who have DUIs are ALSO banned from entering the US, and because the two countries share their records-check system, it cuts both ways.
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Old July 13, 2009, 05:53 PM   #15
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
You will note, of course, that Canadians who have DUIs are ALSO banned from entering the US, and because the two countries share their records-check system, it cuts both ways.
Is that for life, or for a period of time?
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Old July 13, 2009, 06:11 PM   #16
Uncle Billy
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A "no entry allowed" status can be appealed, but it's complicated and expensive, and takes a lot of time. It doesn't disappear by itself, it's forever unless you ask- the Canadians have to grant you a change in your status, so you have to apply.
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Old July 13, 2009, 08:29 PM   #17
SDC
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Is that for life, or for a period of time?
It's supposed to be for life, just like the "no guns for felons" rule.
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Old July 13, 2009, 08:34 PM   #18
Kreyzhorse
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A "no entry allowed" status can be appealed, but it's complicated and expensive, and takes a lot of time. It doesn't disappear by itself, it's forever unless you ask- the Canadians have to grant you a change in your status, so you have to apply.
You also forgot to add "Extremely painful" as well.
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Old July 14, 2009, 08:32 AM   #19
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Technically, if it's legal to enter Canada with handguns (of which I am not sure) then he did nothing illegal. He is allowed by federal law to travel through all fifty states with the handguns properly locked away.

First off it's completely illegal to enter Canada with guns. Same for Mexico.
The Federal Law grants immunity to traveling with guns only IF you're allowed to posess the guns at both ends of your trip.

There was no way he was legal in NY. So technically he could have been busted anyplace on I-95 in any State.

Learn the rules if you're doing stuff.

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Old July 14, 2009, 10:33 AM   #20
Brian Pfleuger
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First off it's completely illegal to enter Canada with guns. Same for Mexico.
No, it's not. A nonresident may cross the border with "unrestricted" firearms, basically rifles and shotguns. All that is needed is to complete a form and pay a fee.


Handguns must be pre-approved for import, but traveling through New York with the handguns would be legal under federal law so long as New York is not the final destination. The guy was turned around at the border but New York was still not his final destination so it should, technically, still not be illegal. Some particular LEO may be having a bad life and be an idiot about it but that doesn't make it illegal.

For the details:
http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/f...visite-eng.htm

Now, you're right about knowing the rules. The guy should have known that handguns require prior approval and, even then, only long barreled hunting handguns are allowed and he should have known that he had to stop at US customs to file form 4457. So, I have no sympathy for him in particular, but that doesn't change the fact that if the handguns were legal in Florida and he had them properly locked away as specified by federal law then he really did nothing illegal.
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Old July 14, 2009, 11:43 AM   #21
maestro pistolero
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The guy was turned around at the border but New York was still not his final destination so it should, technically, still not be illegal.
Not if Canada was his final destination, and he didn't do the paperwork, because then his final destination would not be a place he could legally possess the guns.
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Old July 14, 2009, 11:48 AM   #22
Brian Pfleuger
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Not if Canada was his final destination, and he didn't do the paperwork, because then his final destination would not be a place he could legally possess the guns.
One would assume that his final destination would now be Florida.... he didn't actually GO anywhere that was not legal, he never intended NY to be his final destination, he was turned around at the border and it could reasonably be concluded that his new final destination would be home, in Florida. This should be treated no differently than if he went 50 miles into NY and realized he forgot something and turned around, or his car broke down, or someone in FL got sick... he is simply no longer making the trip as planned, nothing illegal at all.

I mean, should someone be arrested on felony charges for forgetting (or not knowing) to fill out a form?
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; July 14, 2009 at 11:54 AM.
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Old July 14, 2009, 07:59 PM   #23
Uncle Billy
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The "Firearm Owner's Protection Act", a federal law passed in 1986 (wikipedia entry available here)...

"Firearm Owners Protection Act"

... in part says this:

"'Safe passage' provision

One of the law's provisions was that persons traveling from one place to another for a shooting sports event or any other lawful activity cannot be arrested for a firearms offense in a state that has strict gun control laws if the traveler is just passing through (short stops for food and gas) and the firearms and ammunition are not immediately accessible, unloaded and, in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment, in a locked container.

An example of this would be that someone driving from Virginia to a competition in Vermont with a locked hard case containing an unloaded handgun and a box of ammunition in the trunk could not be prosecuted in New Jersey or New York City for illegal possession of a handgun provided that they did not stop in New Jersey or New York for an extended period of time."

If the guy from Florida had his handguns unloaded and in a locked box in the trunk, he might not have been in trouble in New York even though the Canadians turned him around for having them in ANY circumstance. But maybe not- the 1986 law's "safe passage" conditions aren't really met- it wouldn't have been legal for him to have been in possession of the handguns in Canada which apparently was the end point of his trip, and the 1986 law provides the "safe passage" provision only if the traveller can legally possess the guns at each end of his trip and he couldn't legally possess them in Canada.

When they put his license plate into their data system (routinely done on any vehicle entering Canada) and what came back didn't match the car (he was charged in NY with a license plate violation), they surely sent him for a secondary customs inspection, which is probably where they found the guns. When they put his name into their data system they probably found out about his other conviction (one local news outlet said it was for assault), which would have turned him around at their border anyway; when he returned to the US and the US Homeland Security folks ran his name and saw the guns, they called the local authorities because they knew he was in violation of NYS law with the weapons and with the license plate.

My guess is that the handguns were loaded and under the seat (or someplace similar), where Canadian customs found them in the secondary inspection and sent him back without any delay. When he arrived at US customs (nobody gets into the US from outside it without being approved by Homeland Security which can't be avoided here because the US-Canada link is a bridge with iron guardrails and every inch under TV and infrared surveillance), his real troubles began. His conviction for assault (if the local news is correct) raised the level of criminal possession of a firearm from a misdemeanor to a felony, and his whole situation went down the toilet.


The point of all of this is this: One can get away with a LOT that's illegal if they keep their head down (so to speak) and go quietly, attracting no attention. But not at the border. When you try to enter the US- no matter who you are or what your citizenship or what the circumstances are that have you present yourself at the border seeking entry to the US- apparently you aren't protected by "just cause" provisions, and Homeland Security has access to every place your name appears or has ever appeared. The odds of pulling something off, of getting away with something even a little off is very small. It's prudent to get ALL your ducks in a row before you expose yourself to Homeland Security because they are SERIOUS and have no sense of humor or inclination to wink at infractions. AirForceShooter had it right- "learn the rules if you're doing stuff".
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Last edited by Uncle Billy; July 14, 2009 at 08:09 PM.
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Old July 14, 2009, 08:31 PM   #24
Bayou Rifle
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In addition to all the other points raised above, from the U.S. side, the traveler would have needed an export license from the U.S. State Department, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. Firearms, except for shotguns with a barrel greater than 18 inches, are Category I on the U.S. Munitions List and are defense articles requiring a license to export from the U.S. to any country. When leaving the U.S., you are exporting what ever you take with you. Leaving the U.S. with a firearm is an export and requires a license.

He's lucky that Customs didn't refer him to State for a possible civil or criminal penalty. The civil penalty can go up to $500,000 and the criminal penalty can go to 20 years.
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Old July 14, 2009, 08:52 PM   #25
Brian Pfleuger
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I am reasonably certain that the export restriction does NOT apply to sporting firearms exported to Canada for sporting purposes when the firearm is not changing ownership:

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/6626432/...mation-Federal

(See page 6)
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