RCMP officers enforcing non-existent firearm laws

An interesting story out of Dawson Creek where RCMP officers stopped two local hunters and threatened to confiscate their rifles and charge the two with a criminal offense.

I am unable to download a link for the time being so I will post the whole article and re-do the post when the link becomes available.

Mounties Get Lesson On Gun Regulations 
Northeast News
By: Joei Warm
September 5, 2007
 
DAWSON CREEK – Local RCMP have been enforcing firearm regulations incorrectly. Thanks to an incident with a knowledgeable citizen, they learned they have been applying the transportation regulations for ‘restricted’ firearms to even ‘non-restricted’ ones.  

They discovered their mistake when they pulled two hunters over for a routine traffic stop Aug. 24 and tried to seize two hunting rifles sitting unloaded between the seats in the truck. Fortunately the passenger, Jim Parfrey, is a federally-certified master firearms instructor. His knowledge of the correct regulations led him to insist RCMP investigate the way they handle these situations. In the end, he got the firearms back with an acknowledgement from police that he was right. 

 “The law is nebulous,” said S/Sgt. Steve Grant. As soon as the error was recognized the correct information was circulated to all members. But “If it’s that complex that they don’t understand them (the regulations), then how will that help them?” asked Parfrey.  

Ironically, the Canadian Firearms website, which clearly states that the requirement for safe transportation of nonrestricted firearms is “unload your weapon”, was set up and is operated by the RCMP. “They didn’t even seem to know they had a website,” said Parfrey.  

 “There is no vagueness about the regulations,” said BC Wildlife Federation executive director Paul Adams. “I receive a couple of complaints like this every year. There is a definite need for education within the RCMP, especially with the younger officers.”  

“We can both appreciate that officers place themselves in more danger than we do but I’m not sure that two old fogies are that much of a threat,” said Pouce Coupe resident and former Northern Lights College president Jim Kassen, the truck’s driver. The men were told their firearms would be confiscated and that they would be charged with a criminal offense even after it was seen that the rifles were unloaded. 

“It was extremely frustrating being ridiculed and ordered around,” said Parfrey. He maintains the officers were angry and treated the men like criminals. “If she had just said she was uncomfortable with the firearms and wanted to put them in her  car until the matter was finished with I would have understood and handed them over,” said Parfrey. 

“There is a difference in the interpretation of events,” said Grant. “I’m satisfied the officer acted appropriately.”  

After the matter was resolved Parfrey said the RCMP shift supervisor, a “very big, well-muscled man”, told him he didn’t like the way his officers had been treated and said if he had been the one to stop them things would have gone worse. Parfrey took exception to what he saw as intimidation by the supervisor.  

Kassen thought the officer was threatening and said, “I had the feeling his superior overruled him and that he might be feeling vindictive.” He remains concerned that there may be negative consequences for the duo for standing up for their rights.  

Grant doesn’t see the situation in the same light but wants to tell those who feel their rights have been ignored or who feel they’ve been mistreated in some way that they’re welcome to talk to him. “Come in and see me.”

To begin with, the law on the transportation of non-restricted firearms is not “nebulous”. It might be if you don’t know the laws you are enforcing, but the law is actually quite clear.The regulations state in part:

Transportation of Non-Restricted Firearms
10(1) An individual may transport a non-restricted firearm only if
(a) ……………., it is unloaded;

That’s it. Period. There are further rules if the firearm is in an unattended vehicle, but this was not the case in this particular incident. So the only rule for non-restricted firearms is that they must be unloaded. (plus there are additional stipulations for muzzle loaders).

The Staff Sargeant in charge of the detachment said that he was satisfied that the officer had acted appropriately. She didn’t know the law so she made up one of her own which I guess is now considered to be appropriate behaviour. It is hard to believe that officers working in Northern B.C. where hunting is a way of life wouldn’t be familiar with even the most basic firearm laws.

Also a bit scary to hear the comments from the RCMP shift supervisor. If he had been the officer in the field “things would have gone worse”? It sounds as though it could only have gone worse if he had tasered them or done something equally violent.

Of course their big mistake was telling the police officer that she was mistaken in her knowledge of the law. That just stiffens their backs and you are immediately in trouble.

It has really gotten to the point where if you are a firearm owner you should avoid contact with the police whenever humanly possible. Unfortunate.

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4 Responses to “RCMP officers enforcing non-existent firearm laws”

  1. old whitguy Says:

    when will the rcmp actually become a police force again? the pc group that currently make up the force do not inspire confidence.

  2. Bear Child Says:

    I have been a Firearms Safety Instructor for the Canadian Firearms Act for the past 8 years for Members of my Fish & Game Club, and the general public in my area.

    Regularly, I get feed back from my students that they have been harassed by Provincial Police Officers for incidents exactly the same as described above. I have taken to handing out to my students the Canadian Firearms Centre’s pamphlet of ‘Safe Storage and Transportation’ so they can carry it in their glove compartment. They then have it available to show zealous Police Officers what the law actually says!

    It is apparent to people my age, having experience with an earlier generation of Policemen, that the current generation, of mainly urban raised Police Officers, have a definite anti-gun bias that often is often demonstrated through poor policing.

  3. Marginalized Action Dinosaur » Uh Mounties, an individual may transport a non-restricted firearm only if it is unloaded! Says:

    […] https://totalrecoil.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/rcmp-officers-enforcing-non-existent-firearm-laws/ […]

  4. More on the enforcement of non-existent firearm laws « Totalrecoil Says:

    […] of the gentlemen who was threatened with being charged for improperly transporting a non-restricted firearm has written a detailed explanation of the […]

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