Bruce Montague was back in court on Nov. 15, albeit for only the few
moments it took to have his case put over until Dec.13.
Still awaiting full disclosure by the Crown, Montague stood silently as
the court read 24 separate firearms related charges and asked if he
understood each charge. All of the charges relate to search warrants
executed on the Montague property on Sept. 11 and 20.
Montague's lawyer, Ed Burlew was not in court, but had previously
requested a change in the defendant's conditions of release, which would
allow him to travel beyond Northwestern Ontario.
"I'm not really thinking of going to the States right now, but it would
be nice to be able to go to Winnipeg," Montague later explained.
Crown prosecutor, Allen Mazurski agreed to the change and it was granted.
Outside the courtroom, the local gunsmith spoke with several local
supporters and a number of Canadian Unregistered Firearm Owners
Association (CUFOA) members who had traveled from as far away as Nova
Scotia and British Columbia.
The group says they are more determined than ever to take Montague's
fight all the way to the Supreme Court in their bid to quash what they
call Canada's unconstitutional gun laws. Many openly admit to owning
unregistered firearms, and insist that they would rather be arrested
than have their rights as citizens violated.
Montague notes the group has been pleased with the support they've seen
"The average donation we receive is somewhere around $160," he says.
"That's a serious amount of money because people are very serious about
getting behind us in this fight."
However, he does admit that the many charges he's facing could make some
people question how innocent he actually is.
When asked about the large number and variety of firearms confiscated by
police during their searches, Montague doesn't understand why this would
confuse the public.
"I'm a gunsmith and a gun collector," he says. "Obviously I'm going to
have a wide variety of firearms in my possession. Just like anyone else
who's a collector - that's natural."
He's also upset about what he calls the public's misconception that
there are good and bad guns.
"There's no such thing," he says. "Does a good person become bad if you
put a certain gun in their hands?
As to the charges related to unsafe storage of firearms, tampering with
serial numbers etc., the gunsmith insists these are "bogus charges,"
designed to scare people.
"They have no basis in fact," he insists. "And 'prohibited' doesn't mean
that a person is not allowed to have something - it just means they have
to have the proper paperwork to possess it. I believe I have a
constitutional right to own my property without jumping through
CUFOA hopes to gather more support nationwide in the coming months, and
likely will with the release of a series of documentaries, filmed by
British Columbia filmmaker Christopher Di Armani. Di Armani began the
project with a film called Good Men Vs. Bad Law, detailing CUFOA's
efforts up to and including the march on Parliament Hill in January of
2003. The second film covered Montague and other CUFOA members during
their cross-country rally.
The filmmaker was in Dryden for the Nov. 15 court appearance, shooting
footage for the third part of the documentary, which will chronicle
Montague's arrest and court battle. Di Armani is working on a plan to
distribute the work through television.
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