Gun Owners and the Charter of Rights After 35 Years: Some Links

Today is the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The document’s legal and political significance and symbolism are as important as they are controversial for all Canadians, especially those of us who buy, sell, own, use or work with guns.

  • The Charter sought to protect fundamental freedoms by adding a bill of rights to the constitution, and limited those rights in its first sentence.
  • Our rights to “life, liberty and security” get mentioned all the way down in Section 7, and in some cases have been interpreted to exclude the right of self-defence.
  • Section 2 says Canadians have “freedom of peaceful assembly,” but when gun owners gather, the government calls out police snipers.
  • Section 8 says we’re protected against “unreasonable search or seizure,” but gun owners are subject to warrantless searches, break-ins and confiscations by police.
  • When we’ve used the Charter to challenge the Criminal Code and Firearms Act, we’ve lost.

This is a vast and essential subject that touches on fundamental principles of life, justice and the law, from the presumption of innocence to privacy and property rights to licensing and registration to personal and national security.

Here are a few links:

Charter of Rights and Freedoms

From Morton’s Introduction

… the Firearms Act contains as many as 28 distinct Charter violations. If the Supreme Court applies the same Charter rules to law-abiding firearm owners as it has to impaired drivers, drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, single parent welfare recipients, abortion providers, murderers, refugee claimants and owners of child pornography, that is—if it applies the law of the land with an even hand—then it will be forced by its own precedents to declare the Firearms Act unconstitutional and thus of no force or effect.

Other Links

Self-Defence

Property Rights, Right to Bear Arms

High River (2013), Slave Lake (2011): RCMP Break-ins and Confiscations

Bruce Montague: Arrested, Charged and Convicted After PAL Expired

Licensing, Registration and Violence

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