I just got an email on this one on Thursday before I flew out to Toronto for a Canadian Shooting Sports Association meeting, but was pleased to see a column by George Jonas in the National Post that mentioned it among other concerns.
I’ll use the cleaned up version that Jonas used in his article for illustration. The original email was a bit angrier.
Last Monday, April 16th, 4 a.m., near the hamlet of Craigmyle, Alberta, just southwest of Hanna, John Rew, age 50, was awakened to the sound of a SWAT smoke grenade smashing through his bedroom window,” wrote my correspondent. “He was thrown face down on the floor and handcuffed instantly afterward, as a second smoke grenade exploded through his TV stand in the living room, burning a hole in the floor.
The Drumheller RCMP, Calgary SWAT, and Red Deer SWAT had come for all his firearms, in particular his registered prohibited and restricted firearms, all legally registered to him.
Although their search warrant did not include any residences, Rew agreed to lead them across the farmyard to his 80-year-old mother’s house. Her basement contains Rew’s storage facility. His mother, Betty, allowed them entry and was detained for her co-operative efforts. The masked, body-armoured, assault rifle equipped [police] got what they came for. Rew was hauled away, still in handcuffs. His alleged crime: allowing his F.A.C/P.A.L [gun permits] to expire. 2:30 that afternoon he was released, promising to appear in Drumhelller court 10 am May 25th 2007.
“The authorities shut down Rew’s oilfield business for the day, turning his 20 employees away at the gate. His sister was not allowed entry to tend to their 80-year-old mother who had been devastated by the events of that morning. Ironically, the next day, April 17, our government announced an extension of the long gun registry amnesty for another year.
My understanding is that the gentleman’s license expired some time ago, so he was in breach of the law and subject to having his firearms seized. But does that rate a 3 AM police raid complete with smoke bombs, firearms drawn and masked ERT members brought all the way from Calgary, Drumheller and Red Deer?
I have never been to Craigmyle, but it has to be smaller than Hannah and Hannah’s not a very big centre. Can you spell “overkill”?
There are also reports that this may have been generated by a disgruntled ex-employee.
Whatever. This is something that could happen to anyone. A lapsed license or a false complaint by some neighbour or whomever and you too could have an ERT team kicking your door down.
I don’t know if there is more to this story, but will keep looking into it.