Court Win: Judge Sides With Gun Owners on ‘Nullification’ Notices

Court finds RCMP “nullification” tactic has no basis in law, offering new hope for 68,000 Canadians to request Section 74 hearings.

01 December 2020

3 min read

(Update Dec. 3: Updates with eight related cases.)

TheGunBlog.ca — An Alberta court sided with gun owners fighting the federal government and federal police’s regulatory attacks, marking a significant procedural win for the rights of Canadian hunters, sport shooters and firearm collectors.


Highlights

  • Judge finds “nothing” in law to support RCMP’s July 20 “nullification” trap.
  • Ruling allows Section 74 hearings challenging “nullification” to proceed, rejecting Liberal-RCMP efforts to block it.
  • Decision restores due process and offers new hope for 68,000 targeted gun owners who may decide to request Section 74 hearings.

Hello Section 74

Justice Allan Fradsham’s 15-page ruling for Ryan Stark and in eight similar cases yesterday in Calgary allows the applicants to proceed with hearings under Section 74 of the Firearms Act, as they fight to assert their legal rights and keep their guns.

Fradsham found no basis in law for the RCMP Registrar of Firearms’ “nullification” of firearm-registration certificates, a regulatory trap invented to criminalize honest citizens and confiscate their property.

“Nothing in the Firearms Act says that the Registrar can ‘nullify’ a registration certificate or declare it to be ‘no longer valid.’”

Justice Allan Fradsham

‘Nothing’

“Nothing in the Firearms Act says that the Registrar can ‘nullify’ a registration certificate or declare it to be ‘no longer valid,’” Fradsham said in his ruling for Stark.

“The only power available to the Registrar the exercise of which would render the registration certificates ‘nullified’ and ‘no longer valid’ is the power of revocation,” the decision said.

The RCMP failed to obey procedures for revocation, the ruling said.

Dunn: ‘Clarify and Challenge’

“It is under that he filed a Section 74 application to clarify and challenge the legal effect of the ‘nullification’ notice,” Stark’s lawyer, Greg Dunn of Dunn & Associates, told TheGunBlog.ca today by telephone.

First Win

Stark’s case is the first win for Canada’s 2.2 million RCMP-approved firearm users against the governing Liberal Party and Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s May 1 attacks.

Even after the procedural victory, the crackdown threatens Stark and hundreds of thousands of others with jail unless they surrender their suddenly blacklisted rifles and shotguns to the police by 30 April 2022.

The Liberal-RCMP confiscators worked to block Stark’s Section 74 hearing in provincial court, and are still trying to stop more than 120 similar cases across the country. They’re also working to defeat seven challenges in Federal Court.

David Shiroky was the lawyer for the confiscators.

RCMP Comment

The RCMP has said the “nullifications” aren’t revocations and aren’t eligible for a Section 74 review.

“As this matter is currently before the courts, it would be inappropriate for the RCMP to comment at this time,” Catherine Fortin, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa-based police, told TheGunBlog.ca today.

New Hope

The win offers new hope for the 68,000 gun owners who the RCMP specifically targeted with its unprecedented “nullification” trap.

They may decide to apply for hearings that some courts had blocked, even though the 30-day limit to apply has passed.

‘Everyone Has the Right to Due Process’

Dunn, who is also mounting a constitutional challenge by J.R. Cox of The Shooting Edge, said “everyone who receives one of these ‘nullification’ notices ultimately would have the benefit of a firearms reference hearing under Section 74 of the Firearms Act.”

“That means everyone has the right to appeal, everyone has the right to due process,” said Dunn. “That was ultimately what the government wanted to avoid, having thousands of these references in court.”

Case References via CanLII


Related

Corrections

  • Corrects spelling of Fradsham.
  • Deletes incorrect reference to Federal Court.

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