Al Flaherty’s Sent This Letter to Government on Gun Ban Review

23 Oct 2018

3 min read

(Update: 26 Oct. 07:25 Toronto time: Adds that letter was retracted yesterday.) — Al Flaherty’s Outdoor Store, one of Canada’s largest independent gun stores and the last firearm retailer in Toronto, sent the following letter to the federal government as it considers banning many firearms from lawful shops, hunters and sport shooters.

Domenic Saverino, the store owner, was invited to a round-table discussion with government representatives to discuss the possible prohibitions and eventual confiscations, and how to stop violent criminals from obtaining and using firearms.

He sent this memo to express his concerns and proposals. He shared it with yesterday by e-mail.

Update 26 Oct.: Saverino retracted the letter on Oct. 25 in response to comments from the firearm community. You can read his response at, a discussion board.

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Letter to the Federal Government

Domenic Saverino, Owner

Al Flaherty’s Outdoor Store
Toronto, Ontario


Thank you for your consideration.

As Toronto's remaining firearms store, we feel that we have been made a target by Toronto City Council for their own individual political gain. There has been a call to ban the sale of handguns in the City of Toronto. This is an empty rhetorical slogan that does nothing to curb gun violence in our city and is ignorant to the fact that individuals buy firearms just outside our city limits.

We have been servicing the sporting-arms community in Canada since the 1940s.

The call to ban handguns in Canada will target legal gun owners and do nothing to discourage violent crime in our city.

There has been false information put out in the media that has inflamed emotions and made gun stores and the legal firearm community a scapegoat for political gain. The CBC falsely reported that 50 percent of all gun crimes in Canada are committed by legal gun owners, and released a follow up article less than two weeks later talking about how the numbers were inaccurate. Upon closer examination it is evident that these numbers are based on the interpretation of a firearm as any weapon that cannot be identified, a paintball gun or pellet gun, and a failure of qualification for seized firearms as being “domestic” if the origin could not be traced.

The recent public-safety survey that the federal government recently released is worded in a manner that leans towards a ban on firearms. The representation of a firearm as an “assault weapon” in the survey forces the individual to respond favourably to a gun ban without detailing that these types of firearms with high-capacity magazines are not permitted in Canada. In addition, the nature of the questions lean towards a gun ban by offering fewer options to respond favourably towards the current gun laws. Respondents were asked why they felt things should be changed, but no option was provided for those who felt otherwise to explain why they believed the current system was sufficient.

By banning firearms the government will be accelerating the illicit trade of firearms smuggled from the U.S. The effort to legalize cannabis in Canada was a move towards eliminating the illegal sale of drugs in Canada and in so doing rendering it under the control of the government. Banning handguns would do the opposite, thereby creating an environment where criminals will thrive.

So what should be done to reduce firearm crime in Canada?

Enforce current laws regarding the safe storage of firearms. This would entail random checks on individuals to ensure that firearms are stored acceding to the current legal measures.

Random inspections on individuals based on a lottery system for a given region.

Theft From Businesses and Individuals

Create stiffer penalties for gun crimes and not simply a “slap on the wrist” punishment.

Straw Purchasing

Work with businesses, not against gun stores to cooperate with Police to report suspicious gun purchases and grant police the authority to suspend licences from individuals that buy guns for straw purchases. Investigate to ensure that those individuals have the proper storage devices and let them know that they will be randomly inspected at a future date.

Have clear policies for how to handle businesses with concerns about clients to ensure the business is not left to fend for themselves.

Provide the hardware required to validate PAL at the point of purchase.

Make it more difficult to copy a PAL by including a hologram.

Mandatory suspension of a PAL upon committing a firearm-related offence. Introduce a specific charge for attempting to purchase firearms and ammunition with a knowingly suspended licence.


Stiffer penalties for smuggling firearms. Smuggled firearms destined for the black market are firearms intended to cause chaos and harm, there should be clear and appropriate sentences for people engaged in these crimes and there should be no plea bargaining permitted. An accused providing information towards another investigation does not remove the harm they have caused.

Thank you.

Domenic Saverino

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