Toronto police have just put “paid” to the often repeated denial that the Federal Firearms Act – AKA Bill C-68 – would be used to confiscate firearms from legitimate firearm owners.
While drug dealers and gang bangers are prowling the streets of Hogtown, Toronto’s finest are riveted to their computers, looking for gun owners who have allowed their firearm ownership licenses to expire.
What we are now seeing is the natural progression of legislation that was written with the intent to harass and penalize honest gun owners.
Toronto’s gun confiscation program is being sold under the name of Project Safe City
They used to be legal firearms, but now they’re either unregistered or outright banned, and they’re wanted by police before there’s a chance burglars put them in Toronto’s underground and underworld markets.
Since March 1, Project Safe City swept 400 unregistered weapons — 150 of them handguns — from homes throughout the city. No charges were filed.
It’s part of a plan to ensure that neglected firearms don’t fall into criminal hands, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said yesterday.
Police are reviewing thousands of gun ownership files to determine which weapons have lapsed registrations and which are now banned, he said.
Owners can surrender the weapons for destruction or, if they can be registered, police will hold them until the owners comply with gun laws, Supt. Greg Getty said.
In good faith, Canadian gun owners complied with the new federal law to license themselves in order to legally own those firearms that they had freely held, in some cases for generations. They also complied with the new law to register their existing firearms, so the government and the police would have a detailed list of everything that they owned.
What many and probably most gun owners did not recognize was that they now owned their firearms conditionally at the whim of the politicians and the bureaucrats. And if they inadvertently or through some misunderstanding, at the end of the license’s expiry date failed to renew the paperwork, they became instant criminals in possession of illegal firearms who could be criminally charged and have their firearms confiscated.
This is what the Toronto gun owners have experienced – police officers at their doors telling them that they have illegal firearms in their homes. Illegal, not because of misuse by their owners or by the fact that these people are a danger to the public, but because their paperwork has expired.
Toronto police superintendent Greg Getty arrogantly says that the individuals who had their guns confiscated agreed to their destruction because the “didn’t want them”. It would be interesting to know just how they were approached.
I can only imagine the intimidation factor when you find a couple of police officers on your doorstep telling you that you are the holder of illegal firearms which they are there to confiscate.
It would seem obvious that those officers continued into the house to personally collect those guns as the police were eager to inform the media that some of these guns were illegally stored. Police being police, I can’t imagine them letting the gun owner go off by him/herself and bring the gun back to the officer at the front door. No, they would want to be taken to where the firearm was located and retrieve it themselves. And if it wasn’t “safely stored” under their definition I am sure they would have pointed out to the hapless citizen that they were in breech of the law on that account.
I would also be surprised if they explained to the person that under the terms of the government amnesty they were protected against prosecution and could in fact renew their Possession Only License (POL) very simply and at no cost and would not have to go through the much more onerous process of obtaining a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL).
After all, the real intent of these raids was to confiscate and destroy the firearms they found, - if at all possible – not to return them to their owners. Because, in the view of the police and their political masters, these firearms were a danger to the public just by being there, and it was just a convenience that the owners, by allowing their licenses to lapse, made that possible.