The Mountaineer, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, February 15, 2005
by Brian Mazza
© 2005, The Mountaineer Publishing Co. Ltd. (Reproduced with permission.)
The Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners Association hosted a meeting February 10 with a guest speaker who is currently challenging the firearms registration law Bill C-68 as unconstitutional.
Bruce Montague began the evening with a video presentation that included interviews with his family and supporters detailing is arrest on September 11, 2004, for a year-old incident when he publicly destroyed his firearms registration certificates.
He is facing 26 charges of unlawful possession of firearms. For Montague, this is more than a seizure of his property. He is, by trade, a gunsmith in Dryden, Ontario. The seizure has forced the closure of his business.
Both he and his wife were arrested, and she was released shortly after. He remained in jail for 11 days, refusing to co-operate with police in the matter.
Since his release, he has been working with a lawyer on a constitutional challenge of the law.
Montague explained that, to mount a constitutional challenge, it is necessary to lay out all arguments before a Court of Queen’s Bench judge because, on appeal, no new arguments can be introduced.
He has been told by his lawyer and legal experts who have been advising him that pursuing a challenge of the law to the Supreme Court of Canada will cost roughly $300,000, and an appeal was made to those in attendance to donate toward the cause. The roughly 60 people in attendance made a number of donations to help out.
"My opposition isn’t about firearms, and it’s not about the billions wasted," he said. "It has to do about rights that were paid for in full by the fallen."
Montague gave a rough outline of his constitutional argument, which is more clearly stated on his web site. The right to bear arms is granted in English constitutional documents going back to 1689, and has never been extinguished. Section 26 of the Charter of Rights recognizes the continuance of pre-existing rights and freedoms.
"For the first time, Canadians can become criminals for doing absolutely nothing," he said, noting the new requirement to register long arms. "The law tries to make ownership a privilege."
"There’s a hidden agenda," he said. "Gun control is an attack on the right to defend ourselves."
"This is the first time there has been a serious Charter challenge. It’s a good time to punch holes in it. We must make sure whoever is in power listens."
Montague had his first court appearance on January 24, and he said the courtroom was full of his supporters and the judge was angered that the police and the Crown had not issued him a receipt for the guns and property they seized, which he estimates at between $80,000 and $100,000.
Jim Turnbull, spokesman for CUFOA, closed the meeting introducing local people who have supported the fight against firearms registration and encouraged donation to Montague’s defence and Charter challenge.
For more information on the case, visit http://www.BruceMontague.ca.
DISCLAIMER: BruceMontague.ca is maintained by friends and
supporters of Bruce Montague.
It is NOT an official mouth-piece for Bruce
Montague's legal defense.