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This Case Epilogue written February 1, 2017 is intended to provide context to this web site as it documents a Canadian constitutional challenge spanning from 2004 to 2016. Bruce Montague determined to expose the constitutional violations in the Canadian Firearms Act. After being charged, mounting a constitutional challenge and appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada, Montague's case was dismissed without reasons. With Bruce in jail, the Montagues then faced an another twist of injustice -- the confiscation of their home and property by the Ontario government. The Montagues fought the civil forfeiture of their home for years until, in the summer of 2016, the Canadian Constitution Foundation was instrumental in negotiating with the Ontario Civil Forfeiture department to drop the lien against the Montague home. The Canadian Constitution Foundation deserves our support as they continue to fight other cases of injustice around the country. YOU COULD BE NEXT! Canada is undergoing a quiet revolution and your fundamental rights and freedoms are at stake!
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Oct11: Questioning the arrest of a vocal gun-rights advocate

News Archive Index
Date: Oct 11, 2004
Source: The Western Standard
Link: http://www.westernstandard.ca/...

Monday, 11 October 2004
by Matthew Stuart and Cyril Doll

Bruce Montague, a member of the Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners Association, has been challenging police to arrest him under the controversial Firearms Act for more than a year. He marched on Parliament Hill on New Year's Day 2003 with an unregistered firearm in his hand. But it was his alleged violation of the Criminal Code that finally brought the law down on him at a Dryden, Ont., gun show on Sept. 11.

Montague, of Rugby Township, near Dryden, and his 12-year-old daughter Katey were attending a gun show in town when he was arrested by six plainclothes police officers. The Ontario Provincial Police charged the gunsmith with two counts of unauthorized possession of firearms, two counts of careless storage of a firearm, failure to use reasonable care with an explosive, and unlawful possession of an explosive. Cops later laid two additional charges: tampering with a serial number of a firearm and possession of a gun for the purpose of trafficking.

After Montague's wife, Donna, hurried to the show upon receiving a call that Katey had been left alone following her father's arrest, she was confronted by OPP officer Don Cunningham, who instructed the mother to come to the station. "I assumed it was to pick up Bruce," she says. Once there, with two of her children in tow, the 44-year-old woman was charged with unauthorized possession of firearms and careless storage of firearms, and the kids were taken to a waiting room while their mother was interrogated. "It almost sounded as though they thought we were terrorists," she says. Before she could call a lawyer, she says she was released from custody, but was told she could not go home until police had finished searching her house, which is also where Bruce operates his gunsmith shop. When she requested a copy of the search warrant for her home, she says she was told she couldn't have one. "That's bullshit," says Richard Fritze, a criminal lawyer in Delburne, Alta., who specializes in cases brought under the Firearms Act. "It's a public document. The press can get it--why can't they?" Criminal lawyer Ed Burlew, of Thornhill, Ont., who has been retained by CUFOA to represent Bruce, says that as a matter of course, cops will not only show the search warrant to the suspect, but ask for their co-operation. They know it's usually easier if the owner of the home knows what you are looking for, because often they will "open doors instead of you having to kick them down," says Burlew. The judge has since sealed the warrant entirely.

Montague's supporters in the community and in the gun-rights movement are demanding to know why cops felt the need to ambush the owner of Monty's Gunsmithing in a way they see as extremely heavy-handed--particularly when Montague has no criminal record and, his wife says, "has never been in a fistfight." (Donna claims the explosives charges stem from some dynamite the family keeps, which they use to destroy beaver dams.) When contacted by the Western Standard, Cunningham, the arresting officer, refused comment on the proceedings of the investigation. Diane Harder, media relations officer for Dryden's OPP detachment, did not return repeated phone calls.

Hudson says cops targeted Montague for a reason. "The regional firearms control officer has been on Bruce's case several times about having unregistered firearms that come into the shop for maintenance and repairs," Hudson says. "And Bruce has always said that he is not going to act as the police, so Bruce has been on the crap list of this firearms control officer for about a year and a half."

In fact, some may see Montague's arrest as a sign of things to come for gunsmiths and gun shop proprietors in Ontario. Michael Bryant, the Ontario attorney general, is a vocal supporter of strict gun control laws. "We need to stop the flow of guns to the streets through theft from gun shops or gun clubs," Bryant told reporters in March, in the wake of an outbreak of gang violence in Toronto. But David Tomlinson, legal committee chairman for the National Firearms Association, says that those types of break-ins rarely happen. "Criminals are very leery of gunsmiths and gun shops because they're afraid that one of the guns might be loaded and, of course, that's very hazardous for a criminal," says Tomlinson.

At a Sept. 20 bail hearing, the judge ruled in favour of the Crown's motion to deny Montague bail while police continue to search his home. "What they were saying is that they're not going to let him out of jail until he coughs up everything that they knew that he had owned at one time," says Ed Hudson, a member of CUFOA and a Saskatoon veterinarian, who was present at the bail hearing. Burlew says that many of the arms seized at the gunsmith's shop belonged to customers, suggesting that police could go after clients of Montague's whose weapons were unlicensed or improperly registered.

After being in prison, without bail, for 11 days, Bruce was freed on Sept. 21 and will be back in court on Nov. 15 to set a preliminary trial date. Donna is scheduled to appear in Dryden provincial court on Oct. 25. Meanwhile, friends and supporters of both Montagues are still demanding answers about the way the province is handling the prosecution of two of their neighbours who, they believe, did nothing wrong except have the temerity to run their gun shop the same way they always have--without the government meddling in their business.

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Copyright 2004 Western Standard. All rights reserved.

Link: http://www.westernstandard.ca/...


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