Team CSSA E-NEWS – February 18, 2015

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GUEST COMMENTARY –  WHY DIDN’T THE RCMP TELL REPORTERS THE WHOLE TRUTH IN 2013? (By Dennis R. Young | February 17, 2015)

 

A letter to Ian McPhail, Q.C., Chair of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP (Commission) – the Commission that initiated a complaint and public interest investigation into the conduct of those RCMP members involved in entering private residences and seizing firearms following flooding in High River, Alberta in June and July 2013.

 

Dear Mr. McPhail:

 

Although there are many findings and recommendations regarding poor communications during the whole fiasco, your report fails to address the reasons why all RCMP spokespersons chose not to tell reporters the whole truth about the Force’s firearms seizures back in 2013; thereby misleading the public for more than a year and a half. I refer you to nine instances I documented in my letter to you dated September 26, 2013 (see link below).

 

Your report also contradicts former Commanding Officer of “K” Division Dale McGowan when he wrote to the Alberta Property Rights Advocate on August 16, 2013 stating: “…we did not take operational direction from any elected officials or public service employees to enter in private homes and remove personal property.” Your report clearly states the opposite on page 24: “At  approximately 6:30 a.m., as the directing authority of the EOC [Emergency Operation Centre] at the time, Mr. Zebedee authorized the preparation of a search plan involving door-to-door searches. The EOC ordered a search of all town residences to ensure that people had been evacuated.” And again on page 25, “Pursuant to EOC directions, the RCMP prepared the search plan. During their briefing, RCMP members received the following directions: Search every house; Record house number and whether empty or occupied; Entry required to ensure life; For occupied homes document who is in the home, who is missing and the names of the next of kin; Searched homes to be marked with tape; Don’t go through deep water; Secure homes upon leaving; and, On loud hailer identify police.” That looks like “operational direction” to me and without it, your justification for all the unwarranted entries into 4,666 High River homes would  fail to hold water (no pun intended) as per your FINDING NO. 3: Pursuant to the Emergency Management Act, the Emergency Operations Centre authorized and instructed the RCMP’s entry without warrant and search of every High River building as part of the Emergency Operations Centre’s emergency plans.

 

Your report fails to comment on the above contradiction nor explain how Deputy Commissioner McGowan got his facts so wrong in his letter to the Alberta Property Rights Advocate in 2013.

 

Part of the communication problems you identified in your report stem from the fact that the RCMP were not being completely honest with the media and the public about their forced entries into at least 754 homes, damage to more than 1,900 homes, seizure of hundreds of guns, seizure and destruction of 450,000 rounds of ammunition and the full extent of their activities while inside the 4,666 homes they entered without warrant between June 20, 2013 and July 13, 2013. You acknowledge this problem on page 93 of your report where you stated: “This information had been known to RCMP incident command from the outset of the seizures. The failure to convey this information from the start resulted in the RCMP losing control of the issue as other voices filled the void.” And once again on page 107 where you state: “A lack of leadership was also noted by the Commission in the failure by lead RCMP members to integrate a strong communications strategy into its emergency response. This resulted in a failure to provide  timely and transparent communications with respect to contentious actions such as the forced entries into homes and the seizure of firearms there from.”

 

What benefit did these senior officers hope to gain by hiding these facts from the public for so long? Did you ask all those RCMP members in charge of the High River searches and seizures listed in Appendix 3, and if so, what was their justification? Admitting these mistakes at the start, accepting responsibility, holding the persons accountable and making a heartfelt apology for these glaring mistakes and rights violations would have gone a long way to start rebuilding the trust with High River home owners in 2013 rather than 2015. As it is now, everyone is waiting for RCMP Commissioner Paulson to hold his own officers accountable for their actions.

 

It seems that even after your report was released, the Commanding Officer for “K” Division, Deputy Commissioner Marianne Ryan, couldn’t bring herself to admit the troops under her command had done anything other than seize “unsecured firearms”. VIDEO – RCMP DEPUTY COMMISSIONER MARIANNE RYAN RESPONDS TO COMMISSION’S HIGH RIVER GUN GRAB REPORT – FEBRUARY 12, 2015

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/proposed-class-action-filed-against-rcmp-over-high-river-flood-gun-seizures-1.2233323#ixzz3RbFXPQo5

 

As you know, I have filed 42 Access to Information Act requests with federal departments and seven Freedom of Information Program requests with Alberta Government Ministries and the Town of High River. More than a dozen of these files are being investigated by the respective Information Commissioners for missing information. Many of the facts and conclusions presented in your report aren’t supported by the evidence I have amassed and the reports I have received from High River residents. I will be reporting on these inconsistencies, contradictions and outstanding questions over the next few weeks.

 

Dennis R. Young

Honourary Life Member of the CSSA and the NFA

Member of the Calgary RCMP Veterans Association

E-Mail:  dennisryoung@telus.net

 

THE FOURTH LETTER TO THE RCMP PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSIONER – SEPTEMBER 26, 2013

HIGH RIVER – WHY DIDN’T THE RCMP TELL REPORTERS THE WHOLE TRUTH?

http://www.cdnshootingsports.org/2015/02/4th_Letter_To_The_Commission_for_Public_Complaints_20130926.pdf

 

THE CIVILIAN REVIEW AND COMPLAINTS COMMISSION FOR THE RCMP REPORT INTO THE HIGH RIVER GUN GRAB – FEBRUARY 12, 2015

https://www.crcc-ccetp.gc.ca/en/chair-initiated-complaint-and-public-interest-investigation-rcmps-response-2013-flood-high-river

 

 

“Allan Rock said he came to Ottawa with the belief that only the police and military should have firearms. I believe that firearms ownership is a right, but a right that comes with responsibilities.” – The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety

 

HELP SUPPORT THE GREAT WORK THE CSSA DOES TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS.   DONATE HERE

 

 

THANK YOU SUN NEWS – Sun News Network has left Canada’s broadcasting scene. We are grateful for the support they showed our community in keeping issues like the High River fiasco and the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty alive.

 

Thank you Kory, Ezra, Brian, Faith, Bryn, Jerry, Adrienne, Matt, Marissa and so many others who became dear friends over the years. We will miss you folks!

 

For those CSSA members who wish to keep in touch, here are a few URL’s: 

 

https://www.facebook.com/kory.teneycke | www.ezralevant.com | www.brianlilley.com | www.faithgoldy.ca | https://www.facebook.com/bryn.weese | www.torontosun.com/author/jerry-agar | www.torontosun.com/author/adrienne-batra | https://twitter.com/marissasemkiw

 

 

CSSA “STICK TO YOUR GUNS” DINNER – FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2015 – CALGARY, ALBERTA – Holiday Inn, 4206 Macleod Trail South.  Cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. Superb “All-You-Can-Eat” buffet. Raffles, prizes and special guests. Tickets $69.99 per person. For information, please call Heather at 1-888-873-4339 or email: info@cdnshootingsports.org.

 

 

A CSSA MEMBER WRITES –

 

Prime Minister, after 18 long months we have finally received the report on the RCMP’s deplorable actions in High River AB.

 

As expected, there are numerous instances were the police acted illegally, improperly and in direct contravention of acceptable police practises. Prime Minister, while this report is a good first step, it raises as many questions as it answers and, as a result, it is imperative that a full judicial inquiry be called with authority to subpoena and to punish all those found to be in violation of our laws.

 

Based on their previous actions, I have little confidence that some members of this force will actually honour their oath to tell the truth, but a full inquiry will get us much closer to why this assault on the rights of Canadians occurred and who was responsible. Once this information has been obtained, it is imperative that charges be laid against the offenders and that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

 

With respect, a report that basically tells the RCMP to write a new operations manual will not suffice, the law was clearly, repeatedly and knowingly broken and those involved must be held to account.

 

T.G.

Vancouver Island

British Columbia

 

 

SUNDAY HUNTING: A MESSAGE FROM THE NOVA SCOTIA FEDERATION OF ANGLERS AND HUNTERS –

 

Finally after years of hard work Nova Scotia is considering Sunday Hunting. They are doing a survey and from what I understand it is some who don’t want it that are being more vocal than the hunting community. Please take the time to spread the word and encourage hunters to complete the on-line survey. It is short and sweet and takes less than a minute.

 

Because only one survey will be accepted per IP address, a telephone message or email can be sent by other members of the family if more than one person in a household is interested.

 

Please send this out to your email lists especially your Nova Scotia members.

 

Let’s make sure our voice is listened to.

 

Thanks,

 

Tony Rodgers

NS Federation of Anglers and Hunters

 

The survey: http://novascotia.fluidsurveys.com/surveys/OSR/sunday-hunting/

 

NS Department of Natural Resources

P.O. Box 698

Halifax, NS  B3J 2T9

 

Email: stratpolplanning@novascotia.ca

 

You may also leave a voice mail message at 902-424-7955

 

 

CANADA IN THE ROUGH – BACK COUNTRY MOUNTAIN CARIBOU

 

THIS WEEK – While sleeping beside a glacier-filled lake, Keith and the crew climb thousands of feet in elevation each day to chase mountain caribou on top of the world. With breathtaking views and amazing wildlife encounters, Keith hunts hard for an elusive big bull in one of the most remote locations on the planet.

 

See the teaser: http://www.canadaintherough.com/back-country-mountain-caribou/

 

 

ALBERTA RCMP TO BE SUED OVER HIGH RIVER GUNS SEIZURE AS WATCHDOG REPORT SLAMS LEADERSHIP (By Robson Fletcher | Metro | February 12, 2015)

 

A class-action lawsuit will be filed against the RCMP Thursday over their seizure of hundreds of firearms from High River homes during the 2013 flood, according to a lawyer representing affected residents.

 

The legal action will come as a new report is released slamming the Mounties for failing to report the weapon seizures to either a court or the public. The report also blames Alberta’s “K” Division of the RCMP for a lack of leadership during the crisis.

 

Clint Docken of Docken Klym, a Calgary law firm that specializes in class-action litigation, said he plans to file a statement of claim Thursday, shortly after the report is made public.

 

Related:

 

‘Mistakes were made,’ top Alberta Mountie admits, as High River residents sue for $5M

 

Alberta hopes to close remaining DRP flood claims by end of summer 2015

 

Thousands of disaster recovery claims remain open 18 months after Alberta flood

 

“The class is defined here as all persons resident in High River who had at least one legally held firearm seized by the RCMP from June 20 to July 10,” Docken said of the lawsuit, adding it will argue, in part, that the Mounties violated residents’ Charter rights.

 

The seizures infuriated High River residents and gun-rights advocates alike, including Dennis Young, an Airdrie resident and former RCMP officer who has followed the case closely.

 

Young said he’s not surprised the report from the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP placed much of the blame on the Mounties’ senior leadership.

 

“They lost control of their troops,” Young said. “After the first seizure of firearms, the alarm bells should have gone off.”

 

High River resident Don White, who said he had “about a dozen” long guns taken from his home, hopes the RCMP will publicly apologize.

 

While the controversy surrounding the Mounties’ actions has centred largely around the fact that they went after firearms, in particular, White said it’s the more fundamental principles of private-property rights and protection from unlawful search and seizure that are important to him.

 

“To me, it’s about having a cop smash your door down five days after the flood and take anything out of your bloody house,” he said.

 

See the article: http://metronews.ca/news/calgary/1286104/alberta-rcmp-to-be-sued-over-high-r

 

 

MOUNTIES TO LEARN A LESSON FROM GUN-GRAB REPORT, BUT THEY ALSO NEED TO LEARN GUN OWNERS ARE NOT A THREAT (By Lorne Gunter | QMI Agency | February 12, 2015)

 

The report of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP is quite clear about Mounties’ actions in High River following the devastating flood there in June 2013. Hundreds of legally owned guns were taken from private homes without proper “legal authority.” That’s a polite way of saying Mounties illegally grabbed guns from law-abiding citizens – without warrants and without crucial judicial oversight.

 

The report also finds that Mounties violated the “plain view” doctrine which holds that if officers are in a location legally and they see evidence of an unrelated crime “in plain view” they are justified in seizing it. But in High River, Mounties looked in places inside homes where no survivors could have been hiding, such as inside boxes, between mattresses and under linens in closets. Since their authority for being inside private homes without warrants was Alberta’s Emergency Management Act, and since the EMA only authorizes warrantless searches to save trapped survivors, the commission ruled that to the extent Mounties looked in places where survivors could not be, “the searches exceeded their authorized scope by expanding from a search for people or pets to a search for firearms.”

 

What the CRCC report fails to do is recommend stern action against those Mounties who kicked in doors and scooped up guns. The report found that many of the more than 600 guns Mounties took were legally stored, but they seized them anyway. Still the CRCC went as far as it could. It lacks the mandate to recommend any of the “Three Ds”: discipline, demotion or dismissal. Under the law governing the commission, it is pretty much limited to pointing out the force’s shortcomings and recommending members not do the same the next time a wildfire, flood, tornado, ice storm or earthquake devastates a Canadian town. It is now up to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson to determine whether punishment of officers or commanders is needed.

 

Where I might disagree with the commissioners is over their conclusion that Mounties were acting “in good faith.” Frontline officers believed they had justification to seize guns. It was higher-ups who failed to explain the legal limits of their searches. I’d be tempted to go along with that narrative if not for two troubling details.

 

In the 72 hours immediately after the Highwood River overflowed its banks, we know that “4,666 buildings were entered and searched. Of these, 754 were forcibly entered.” How do we know this? Despite the chaos and destruction between June 21 and 24, Mounties kept reasonably detailed notes regarding their searches. But we don’t know exactly how many homes Mounties entered between June 25 and July 10, when searches stopped, “because of the lack of records, it is impossible to determine how many times the damage was the result of the [RCMP-led] teams’ forced entry…”

 

Somehow with billions of litres of water crashing everywhere and scores of residents needing help to escape, it was still possible for Mounties to take reasonably detailed notes. Yet for the three weeks after the immediate emergency subsided, while the sun was shining and the town was nearly empty, Mounties didn’t keep good records of what they were doing. What were they hiding?

 

Also, Mounties failed to seek warrants for their searches after June 24 when there was clearly time to do so. On numerous occasions, courts have ruled that when police have an opportunity to seek a warrant, they must. Mounties had lots of time to seek warrants, but didn’t. Why? Were they worried a judge would stop them? I think the CRCC report will back Mounties off from ever repeating their gun-grabbing actions during future disasters. But it will be up to RCMP Commissioner Paulson to retrain his members not to see law-abiding gun owners as a threat to public safety.

 

See the article: http://www.edmontonsun.com/2015/02/12/gunter-mounties-to-learn-a-lesson-from-gun-grab-report-but-they-also-need-to-learn-gun-owners-are-not-a-threat

 

 

GUNS – KNIVES – MILITARIA – ANTIQUES SHOW AND SALE – MARCH 7 AND 8, 2015 – CHILLIWACK, BRITISH COLUMBIA. Location: Heritage Park, 44140 Luckakuck Way, Chilliwack (Exit 116 off Highway 1). Hours of operation: Saturday, March 7, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, March 8, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. General admission is $5. Parking by donation – ATM on site. RV parking available. Food Concession. For further information or table rentals, please call Gordon Bader at 604-747-4704 or Al Amundson at 604-941-8489. Check out our website at: www.HACS.bc.ca. WE SUPPORT THE CANADIAN CANCER “KIDS’ CAMP” AND CKNW ORPHANS’ FUND.

 

 

FOLLOWING OCT. 22 ATTACK, BORDER GUARDS LOBBY TO WEAR FIREARMS AT AIRPORTS (By Jordan Press | Ottawa Citizen | February 10, 2015)

 

Canada’s border guards have turned up the pressure on the federal government to allow them to wear firearms at Canada’s airports, the last ports of entry where the guards are still banned from carrying guns.

 

The security level at every port remains high following the shooting at the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill on Oct. 22, 2014. On that day, border guards at Canada’s largest airport were denied their request to carry firearms – even as armed police patrolled part of Pearson International Airport.

 

An internal security report obtained by the Citizen indicates the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) raised its threat level amid the heightened security concerns spurred by the Ottawa shooting.

 

The report says that CBSA officers at Pearson and at Billy Bishop airport in Toronto’s downtown core “requested permission to wear duty firearms” as local police “carrying automatic weapons” walked the halls of Pearson International’s largest terminal.

 

“Management denied their request,” reads the report, which doesn’t give an explanation for the decision.

 

The president of the border guards’ union said his members didn’t understand the government’s reasoning for not letting trained border guards carry firearms at airports. Jean-Pierre Fortin said up to half of border guards at Pearson International and other airports – such as Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport – are trained to carry sidearms, but their guns are kept in a secure locker.

 

“What happened here in Ottawa, during the week that there was that threat … they sent police officers to the airport to have the armed presence instead of allowing our 14 officers who were already trained” to carry firearms, said Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union.

 

“Personally, I’ve been talking with the minister (Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney) several times over the last few months, raising the matter with him,” he said. “We’re increasing the pressure on the government right now to consider that question to arm our people.”

 

Border guards are only allowed to carry firearms inside airport terminals if they are enforcing a deportation order, or arresting someone under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Border guards that do carry firearms are trained to the same level as RCMP officers.

 

Blaney’s office indicated the government had no plans to change the policy.

 

“All Canadians were shocked by the violent terrorist attack on October 22,” said spokesman Jean-Christophe de le Rue.

 

“That said, the locations in question (passenger airports) have been assessed to be low risk, are in close proximity to a police presence where armed assistance could be called upon. Our government is continually reviewing the environment to ensure the safety of our officers.”

 

The issue is one of several raised in documents obtained by the Citizen that outline the response at Canada’s border crossings, airports and marine ports in the wake of the shootings on Oct. 22.

 

Officers at the CBSA’s national targeting centre, which reviews cargo and passenger manifests to identify threats, conducted risk assessments “in order to identify possibly previously unknown persons” or shipments that could be a national security concern, according to the report. Shortly after the shooting, CBSA intelligence officers began working with the RCMP and Ottawa police.

 

Overseas staff were asked to report daily on terrorist threats, “including political dimensions,” and any “specific interventions” CBSA officers and allied countries took “in interdicting suspect travellers.”

 

“This includes information directly related to the threat activity witnessed in Ottawa on October 22, 2014,” the report says.

 

The agency directed staff to either cover up, or not wear their uniforms once they left work, even though there were no specific threats identified against CBSA offices or officials. That directive, a CBSA spokeswoman said, remained in place until Nov. 22.

 

The Canadian Armed Forces issued a similar order to its members across the country on Oct. 22. The military says that order was lifted on Dec. 11.

 

See the article: http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/following-oct-22-attack-border-guards-lobby-to-wear-firearms-at-airports

 

 

GUN OWNERS ARE SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS (By Lorne Gunter | QMI Agency | Posted February 17, 2015 | Updated February 18, 2015)

 

If you own a gun in this country, you’re a second-class citizen. Police, politicians, Crown prosecutors and even judges believe you forfeit rights the rest of us take for granted (such as respect for your private property) once you buy a gun – even if you buy it legally.

 

Before I go further, let me explain that I have never owned a gun and never expect to. My interest in gun owners’ rights is based on the belief that if the state can rob my fellow law-abiding citizens of rights just because they enjoy shooting sports, then they can rob me of my rights, too, for something I do legally but which becomes unfashionable.

 

The High River gun grab is a prime example of what I mean, but so too is the tragic experience of Bruce and Donna Montague of Dryden, Ont.

 

Bruce Montague was a highly respected gunsmith. I say “was” because federal courts have now stripped him of the right to own guns or to earn a livelihood connected with firearms.

 

Bruce’s crime? He actively opposed Bill C-68, the 1995 amendments to the Criminal Code that required all Canadian firearms owners to register their rifles and shotguns with the government.

 

Feeling the law was an unjust infringement on his basic rights, Montague let his old firearms acquisition certificate expire in 2003 rather than apply for a new possession and acquisition licence.

 

The next year, his wife Donna did the same.

 

In the fall of 2004, police arrested Bruce at a gun show in Dryden and held him in jail for 10 days until he agreed to show them where he kept his guns. They were in a hidden room that could only be accessed by pushing a nail into a knothole to move a pine-board wall panel.

 

Montague is not a simple hero. His woodland northwest Ontario home also came with an underground shooting tunnel that he used to test weapons he was repairing, including many he was working on for local police officers.

 

And he was convicted by a jury and spent six months in jail for filing serial numbers off guns, lacking a licence and altering the firing mechanisms of some guns to make them automatics.

 

Bruce knew he was provoking Ottawa and expected to suffer the consequences.

 

Not only did Ottawa send him to jail for longer than a first-time armed robber would likely spend, it also sought to strip him of his guns, a collection worth well over $100,000. Not content to send him to jail, the federal government wanted to make him penniless, too, and unable to work.

 

Bizarrely, an Ontario judge also permitted the feds to take Bruce’s ammunition because among the items found in his underground firing range were some military manuals. That, the judge said, proved Bruce was preparing for a revolution.

 

But as out of all proportion as that is, the Ontario government’s actions are far worse. They amount to state-sponsored vigilantism.

 

Even though the prosecution of the Montagues was handled by federal lawyers and judges, Ontario is now using its provincial forfeiture law to seize Montague’s home, which Ontario Crown attorneys argue is a proceed of crime.

 

Remember, Bruce never used his guns to commit a crime. His crime was administrative in nature – not getting himself licensed and refusing to register his guns.

 

But Ontario now wants to leave the Montagues homeless because, the province argues, Bruce operated his gunsmith business out of the home he and Donna built for themselves, and since he has been convicted of firearms offences, that makes his home a den of criminal activity.

 

It’s hard to imagine Ottawa or Ontario treating the owner of any other legal product this way. But gun owners have become second-class Canadians.

 

See the article: http://www.torontosun.com/2015/02/17/gun-owners-are-second-class-citizens

 

 

POP-TART GUN LAWS: FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR PASTRY IN THE U.S. (By Meagan Fitzpatrick | CBC News | January 26, 2915)

 

Pop-Tarts aren’t recommended as a source of nutrition, but in some parts of the U.S. they are a source of inspiration for legislators looking to change policies on guns and education.

 

A series of incidents have led defenders of the right to keep and bear arms to stand up for children who chew their breakfast pastries into the shape of a gun.

 

So-called Pop-Tart gun laws emerged in the U.S. in 2013, when a seven-year-old boy in Baltimore was suspended after he nibbled his snack (it wasn’t actually the Pop-Tart brand of toaster pastry) into the shape of a gun and apparently directed it at his classmates.

 

Joshua Welch was kicked out of school for two days, sparking a debate about gun rights and zero tolerance policies in schools. His second grade teacher said he was not suspended for chewing his breakfast into a gun, but for a pattern of disruptive behaviour. His parents fought to get the suspension scrubbed from his record and Joshua eventually changed schools.

 

The case prompted a Maryland state senator, J.B. Jennings, to introduce legislation aimed at ensuring no other child was disciplined for a Pop-Tart-type incident. The Reasonable School Discipline Act of 2013 sought to prohibit schools from suspending a student who had a picture of a gun or “any other object that resembles a gun but serves another purpose.”

 

Making a hand gesture resembling a gun doesn’t deserve a suspension either, according to the bill.

 

Zero tolerance too far?

 

The bill noted that after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 children and six adults were killed in late 2012, there was a heightened concern about guns and schools.

 

But Jennings said some school officials had exercised questionable judgment and overreacted to incidents like the toaster pastry case.

 

“If we wait too long, this type of reaction will become the standard response by school administrators only serving to perpetuate fear amongst our young students, not to mention putting marks on permanent academic records that are neither appropriate nor warranted,” he said on his website at the time.

 

The proposed legislation referenced other students besides Joshua who had gotten in trouble. A five-year-old girl in Pennsylvania was suspended from kindergarten for telling her classmate she would use her Hello Kitty bubble gun on her and on herself.

 

She was examined by a psychologist to ensure she wasn’t a danger to anyone and then her suspension was reduced from 10 days to two.

 

Another example was a high school student in Arizona suspended for making the desktop background on his school laptop a picture of an AK-47.

 

The breakfast pastry-inspired bill in Maryland died at the committee stage, and a similar one in Oklahoma also stalled last year. But Oklahoma Senator Sally Kerns reintroduced the bill this week.

 

Some critics of the bills were opposed because they found them unnecessary and want to keep control of discipline in the hands of teachers and school boards, not state legislatures.

Florida passed law last year.

 

Supporters, though, say legislation is needed because schools are going too far with their zero tolerance policies and are imposing excessive punishments for behaviour that shouldn’t even be punishable in the first place.

 

Florida is the one state that has successfully passed a so-called Pop-Tart gun bill. Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law last June.

 

It allows students to wear clothing that depicts a gun, to use a writing utensil or their hands to simulate a gun, to draw a picture of a gun, to make a gun out of plastic building blocks, to have a toy gun if it’s less than five centimetres in length, and to brandish “a partially consumed pastry or other food item to simulate a firearm.”

 

Now Texas could be the next state to pass a Pop-Tart gun law. Representative Ryan Guillen is championing the cause and introduced a bill last month.

 

“I saw stories in the media about kids being taken out of class over something as silly as a Pop-Tart gun. I don’t want to see that happen,” he said in an email. He was not available for an interview.

 

“As unlikely as these incidents may seem, they actually happened. The bill is a proactive effort to prevent even the chance of a Texas student losing valuable instruction time due to an act of non-disruptive, non-threatening behaviour by a child,” said Guillen.

 

A new governor and legislature was just sworn in Texas, meaning it will still be a few weeks until the bill is studied in committee and put to a vote.

 

See the article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/pop-tart-gun-laws-fighting-for-the-right-to-keep-and-bear-pastry-in-the-u-s-1.2929705

 

 

LIBERAL VERMONT LIKES GUNS – MEASURE TO ADD RESTRICTIONS GARNERS OPPOSITION FROM MANY, INCLUDING DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR. (By Dave Gram | Associated Press | February 10, 2015)

 

MONTPELIER, Vt. – One of the most liberal states in the country also is one of the most passionate about defending the right to bear arms, a fact that is coming to the fore following proposed legislation to expand background checks and add other gun regulations.

 

Hundreds of Vermont residents are expected to pack the state House chamber for a public hearing Tuesday night on Senate Bill 31, which would expand background checks from retail to private gun sales, step up reporting about people deemed psychologically unfit to have a gun and add state jurisdiction to what is now just federal enforcement of the ban on convicted felons possessing guns.

 

The bill has drawn strong opposition from powerful gun-rights groups and from Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat and lifelong hunter.

 

Why the Second Amendment fervour in a state that Election Day exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and other media have found to be among the most liberal?

 

“I think it’s a result of years and years of Vermonters respecting guns as a tool to manage wildlife and to put food on the table,” Shumlin said in an interview. “That’s what motivates us to own a gun. It’s not necessarily what motivates someone who lives in Manhattan to own a gun.”

 

Whether people grew up in a hunting family as he did “really influences how you look at this,” the governor added.

 

Hunters have nothing to worry about, said Ann Braden of Brattleboro, president of the group Gun Sense Vermont, which supports the measure.

 

“This legislation doesn’t affect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. It’s focused exclusively on keeping guns out of the hands of convicted abusers, violent felons, and drug traffickers,” she said.

 

But the gun-rights groups are adamant: “No more gun control bills,” said Bill Moore of Vermont Traditions Coalition. “We don’t need them in the safest state in the nation.”

 

There’s widespread concern among gun owners about background checks in general, said Evan Hughes, vice-president of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

 

“A lot of people in the gun-owning community see every step down the regulatory road eventually leads toward registration and confiscation,” Hughes said.

 

Background check supporters say the federal government does not keep a record of the sale – that is kept in the gun shop. But law enforcement can have access to the records.

 

FBI figures showed Vermont was the safest state in the country in 2013, with 115 violent crimes per 100,000 people. That was less than a third the national rate of 368 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

 

That’s often attributed to having no big urban areas – the state’s largest city is Burlington, population about 40,000. A sparser population and civic traditions like the New England town meeting also are sometimes cited. “I think there’s a strong sense of community in Vermont,” said Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn.

 

The bill, sponsored by the top three Democrats in the Vermont Senate, has three main components:

 

*       It would expand background checks to private sales, with an exemption for sales between family members. If one neighbour wants to sell a gun to another, they must approach a federally-licensed firearms dealer, who would run an electronic background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

 

*       It would make it a violation of state law as well as federal law for convicted felons to possess firearms. This would give state and local police new power to enforce the law.

 

*       It would require that anyone found by a court to have a mental disorder making him or her a danger to self or others, or who had been found not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity, or who had been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility, to have that information forwarded to the federal background check database for exclusion from being allowed to buy a gun.

 

See the article: http://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2015/02/10/in-liberal-gun-loving-vermont-new-restrictions-face-fight

 

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

 

The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes Canada’s firearms heritage, traditional target shooting competition, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor competitions and youth programs that promote these Canadian heritage activities.

 

To join or donate to the CSSA, visit: http://www.cdnshootingsports.org/membership.html

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