agreed- however the fact remains that the government was pushing to have a whole section of airguns classified as firearms because they felt they looked 'close enough'- the opposition party was able to stop them by pointing out the definition of replica already covers an airgun that looks like a real gun (replica), that they were NOT firearms legally, and that to try to make nonreplica airguns classified as replicas or firearms would muddy the waters and turn citizens who purchased the guns legally into criminals after the fact:
November 19, 2001
For Immediate Re lease
WHY DID RCMP AND JUSTICE OFFICIALS SAY THERE HAD BEEN NO CHANGE IN POLICY?
"Access documents prove the RCMP had changed the airgun registration policy
on March 6, 2000!"
Ottawa - Today, Garry Breitkreuz, the Official Opposition's gun control
critic, released documents proving officials in the Department of Justice
and the RCMP misled the media and the public during and following last
year's election. "I won't impugn the motives of these officials but their
public statements are now clearly at odds with the documents and no doubt
their comments helped the Liberals win a few key seats, particularly in
Ontario," claimed the Saskatchewan MP.
On November 17th, 2000, acting on complaints of firearms dealers and tips
received from officers working inside the RCMP's Firearms Registry,
Breitkreuz exposed the fact that a number of airguns and pellet rifles had
been reclassified as firearms and some had even been registered in
accordance with the law. Breitkreuz maintained that the Liberals were
trying to keep this quiet until after the election so as not to provoke
approximately two million airgun owners in Canada.
When Breitkreuz broke the story, officials from both the RCMP and Department
of Justice were quoted in the following newspapers:
(1) "But the head of the Canadian Firearms Registry, Mike Buisson, denied
the claims and insisted there has been no change in policy." - The Edmonton
Sun - November 18, 2000, Page 6
(2) "There's been no policy change," he [David Austin, Canadian Firearms
Centre spokesperson] said. - The Moncton Times and Transcript - November 23,
2000, Page A1
(3) "However, [RCMP] registry spokesperson Joan Oliver said she believed no
decision had been made about classing the pellet guns as firearms." - The
Moncton Times and Transcript - November 23, 2000, Page A1
(4) "No policy decision has been made yet on airguns," Mr. Austin said. "No
changes have been made to the list that would make them firearms." - New
Brunswick Telegraph Journal, November 11, 2000, Page C1
These statements were contradicted by RCMP documents obtained by Breitkreuz
after a year and a half investigation by the Information Commissioner's
office [RCMP File: 00ATIP-16792].
DOCUMENT #1 dated March 6, 2000 showing the airgun policy was changed - RCMP
Firearms Standards Committee, Records of Decisions Made, Approved Signature
J.A.J. Buisson, Superintendent, Registrar, RCMP Canadian Firearms Registry,
Dated 2000-03-06, ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY #14.
DOCUMENT #2 dated April 13, 2000 showing how officials in the RCMP's
Firearms Registry would implement the ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY #14 - Memorandum
from Cpl. L. Cyr, NCO i/c Correspondence Unit to S/Sgt. A. Drouin, NCO i/c
Legislation and Regulations.
DOCUMENT #3 dated May 8, 2000 shows the RCMP advising the Department of
Justice about ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY #14 - Letter from Superintendent J.A.J.
(Mike) Buisson, Registrar, Canadian Firearms Centre to Mr. William Bartlett,
Council, Canadian Firearms Centre with copies to Maryantonett Flumian, Chief
Executive Officer, DOJ, et al. QUOTE: "In other words, airguns will be
tested to determine whether they are in fact firearms. If so, the licencing
and registration requirements set out in the Firearms Act are applicable.
As you can well imagine, this will result in a substantially increased
number of firearms requiring registration. Certain short-barreled airguns
will change status from 'deemed non-firearm' to prohibited firearms."
DOCUMENT #4 shows hundreds of airguns listed as firearms on the RCMP's FRT
(Firearms Reference Table) as of 17 November 2000 - Non-Restricted = 377,
Restricted = 50, Prohibited = 5.
"Now, all we don't know is why the RCMP and Justice Department officials
misled the media and the public," concluded Breitkreuz.