Published Wednesday November 7th, 2007
DRYDEN, Ont. - A gunsmith from the Dryden, Ont., area lost his
constitutional challenge of the Federal Firearms Act this week, but said is
still willing to take it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Bruce Montague is charged with 53 weapons-related offences, including the
unauthorized possession and careless storage of non-restricted firearms. His
wife Donna Montague is facing three similar charges.
Their charter application argued that the current law, which requires all
gun owners to obtain a licence, breaches a citizen's right to possess
Montague said the judge's verdict doesn't sit well with him.
"He did though, acknowledge that we do have a right to firearms ownership,
but then he deferred that to saying Parliament has a responsibility to be
able to restrict that right," Montague said.
"We don't quibble with that point in itself. The real thrust of our argument
is, they've done more than just restricted the right - they've obliterated
the right and turned it into a privilege."
Montague's lawyers said Canada should replace the system with a list or
registry of criminals prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm.
Montague's criminal trial is scheduled to begin next Tuesday in Kenora -
with the same judge presiding over it as his constitutional challenge.
"I've got a funny feeling that things aren't really stacked in my favour,"
Montague was arrested by Ontario Provincial Police on Sept. 11, 2004, at a
Dryden gun show. The hearing for his constitutional challenge was supposed
to take place in October 2006, but a judge delayed it to March 2007 to allow
evidence to be recorded via written affidavits from the two defence
Montague then fired his lawyer in March, further delaying the hearing until
"Next step would be the (Superior) Court of Ontario and the next step after
that is the Supreme Court of Canada, so we're really only at first base," he
"It's been a long road getting to first base. I just hope I don't grow old
and die by the time we get to the Supreme Court of Canada."
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