In 2003, Dryden, Ontario gunsmith Bruce Montague set out to get arrested for violating Canada's Firearms Act.
His intention was to challenge the law's constitutionality in court. He demonstrated peacefully on Parliament Hill
on January 1, 2003. He traveled across Canada with members of the Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners
Association and protested in every provincial capital, and at the Canadian Firearms Centre in Miramichi, New
Brunswick. Their final protest of the tour was on Parliament Hill. They were ignored. (See documentary "Illegal
Acts" for the full story of this cross-Canada protest)
Montague's “moral authority” to defy the law comes from the writings of the late Dr. Martin Luther King as
expressed in his “letter from a Birmingham Jail”: "I would agree with St. Augustine that an 'unjust law is no law at
all. [..] A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code
that is out of harmony with the moral law."
On Saturday, September 11, 2004, Bruce Montague was arrested at a Dryden, Ontario gun show. OPP Officers
dragged Bruce away, refused him any opportunity to ensure his 12-year-old daughter was safe, and left Katey
there alone. Donna Montague was telephoned by a show vendor, informed of Bruce's arrest and told to come
pick up Katey, When Donna arrived, OPP Officers arrested her too.
They informed Donna they had a search warrant for the family home. Despite asking for one, she was refused a
copy of the search warrant. Upon her release, she was threatened with obstruction of justice charges if she
stepped foot on her property. Prior to the second search warrant being issued Bruce was held in custody where
he was threatened with the destruction of his home by bulldozer if he did not reveal the location of his firearms.
When Bruce was finally released, he was not required to post bond of any kind, despite his facing 53 charges of
violating Canada's licensing and registration scheme.
In 2004, a year after Bruce and Donna's arrest, the Ontario Government seized the Montague's family home
using Ontario's Proceeds of Crime Act. They placed a lien on the property, "graciously" allowed the family to
remain in the home until after the criminal proceedings are complete, and said they would proceed with the
house forfeiture order REGARDLESS of the outcome of the criminal trial. This seizure effectively killed the
Montague's defense. Equity in their home and 160 acre property, which they own outright, could no longer be
used to help finance their legal challenge.
The seizure of his home forced Montague and his case management team to find other ways to finance the
Charter Challenge. Katey, Bruce's daughter, found her own way to help raise awareness of the case using the
video sharing service YouTube.com. ( http://youtube.com/KateysFirearmsFacts )
On June 13, 2005 the Crown advised they were dropping the original 23 charges against Bruce Montague (Appendix 1). The Crown then re-charged Bruce with an entirely new set of 53 charges (Appendix 2), in essence wasting 18 months of work building a defense.
Both the pre-sentencing report created by Bert Sombrutsku (Appendix 03) and Justice Wright's sentencing report
(Appendix 04) made a point of chastising Mr. Montague for "using" his daughter to promote his ideas in the
series of YouTube videos entitled Katey's Firearms Facts. Neither man asked Bruce or Katey however, or they
would have known that Bruce was opposed to Katey's videos, and they were indeed Katey's idea.
Charter Trial October 22-26, 2007 -- Many issues to appeal on
Judges ruling on Charter issues November 6, 2007 -- Many issues to appeal on
Criminal Trial November 12-December 6, 2007 -- Many issues to appeal on
- Both searches were probably illegal. Neither Bruce or Donna were shown copies of the first search
- Prior to the second search warrant being issued Bruce was being held in custody where he was
threatened with the destruction of his home by bulldozer if he did not reveal the location of his firearms.
- The judge ordered the Crown to redraft the charges 3 times during the criminal trial, the third change
was ordered AFTER the Defense had rested and could not bring forward any rebuttal evidence. During
sentencing, the Judge then used the wording from the previous wording, not the final wording he
ordered on the last day of trial.
Pre-Sentencing Report Mid-February 2008
- done by a probation officer out of Thunder Bay (govt employee).
- Interviewed neighbours, friends, co-workers from 20 years past, and police officers.
- Lists appropriate punishments suitable to crime. The worst punishment suggested in the pre-sentence
report was house arrest.
Sentencing March 17-18, 2008
Crown asked for 3 years and a DNA sample. The Judge refused to authorize both the DNA sample and the
Crown's sentencing request.
Judges report criticizes personality traits but recognized Mr Montague as a fine upstanding contributing member
of society, while sentencing him to 18 months in jail.
The “crimes” that most upset the judge and the general public related to full autos and a silenced pistol and deserves some commentary here. The Criminal Code s117.09 exempts licensed gunsmiths and firearms businesses, from the law on these types of firearms. It is clearly written that a business and any employee of that business may possess prohibited devices and/or prohibited firearms, may manufacture them, and may convert a firearm to fire full-auto. It also authorizes the alteration of a serial number. (Appendix 06)
These offenses, for which Bruce received the longest sentences, are “paper crimes” in their truest sense. This whole case is nothing more than a licensing issue. The same licensing system that is prohibiting full-autos is on the verge of prohibiting handguns and is fully capable of prohibiting ANY firearm for private possession! Many don't realize that full-auto firearms (and silencers, mags etc.) are legal in this country as long as you have a licence. Bruce used to have a licence that authorized possession of all these things but let it expire in protest of these laws. It is only his principled stance against an unjust law that allowed the Crown to arrest and charge him for these “paper crimes”.
Whether Bruce had a license or not is really beside the point because the principles of this court challenge remain the same. - - It's the licensing scheme that is being used to prohibit any and all guns at the governments whim and this needs to be stopped!
We believe very strongly that Canada's current licensing scheme contravenes our constitutionally guaranteed right to possess firearms. This charter challenge is designed to protect our right to peacefully own and use our firearms.
There are even some "elitist" firearms owners out there who are just as quick to ban guns as the anti-gunners are, as long as they can keep THEIR guns. Firearms owners need to wake up to the "divide and conquer" method being used to ban ALL guns in this country. First they stigmatize and demonize a certain "class" of gun owners (ex. full-auto collectors, and now handgun owners) then they prohibit possession of those guns under the guise of "public safety". If gun owners don't wake up and spot this pattern of prohibitions we will systematically become extinct!
There was no victim or threat to anyone for the paper crimes Mr Montague was convicted of. Rapists and
murderers have received lesser sentences than Mr Montague. For example, a BC woman, Teresa Layne
Senner, was given “house arrest” of two years less a day for the murder of her married lover. She killed a man and got sent home, after being told she cannot use email or the Internet for the duration of her sentence. (Appendix 07)
Jail - March 18, 2008 – April 11, 2008.
Mr. Montague was taken directly to jail from the court house. There he was strip searched and put in
Segregation where health issues with the water fountain prevented him from drinking. The fountain, which
dribbled down the side, was covered with a slimy mucus substance. It took Bruce almost 3 days of trying to
clean the stuff off with only water and toilet paper, before extreme thirst forced him to lap up the water dribbling
down the side of the fountain.
Bruce was refusing to get an injection to test for TB and was held in segregation for this non-compliance. On Mar 27 Bruce was told that if he didn’t have a TB test they’d send him to a jail in Southern Ontario. He was offered an X-ray to test for TB instead of the needle. He took the X-Ray and was still held in segregation for another 5 days.
Guards told him that Donna came to visit him on Thursday Mar 20th and that they refused her visitation because
of this non-compliance. Donna was at work that Thursday and was never at the jail. An attitude of extreme
mistrust is sown in Bruce by the lying actions of some guards.
Calls to the Ontario Ministry of Corrections to find out why Bruce Montague is being held in segregation by the
editor of the National Firearms Association's magazine "Canadian Firearms Journal", are not returned, although
he was told someone will "definitely" get back to him.
Mr Montague has been strip searched repeatedly for no apparent reason. Depending on the guard on duty he
was woke up every 15 minutes. Thus not achieving rem stage of sleep for the entire duration in segregation.
After almost 2 weeks in this cell Mr Montague was told that the camera equipment in his cell was malfunctioning.
So he was moved to another cell. This one had feces smeared on the outside of the toilet bowl. After asking for
bleach to clean this with, Bruce was given a bucket of soapy water and a sponge – no latex or rubber gloves.
On April 1st Bruce was put in the general population. The entire general population was immediately strip
searched (there was a rumour of tour from Toronto Ministry of Corrections officials).
Talking with guards and inmates has revealed that segregation is used as a punishment for usually 1 day and a
maximum of 4 days. Bruce was released from segregation on his 15th day.
Bail Hearing - March 27
The crown refused the affidavit of a Toronto resident who knows Bruce. The hearing was adjourned to April 11 to
give us time to provide an affidavit from Bruce that contains the same info as the Toronto resident’s. We will
have a $20,000 surety affidavit provided also.
- 01 - Original Set of Charges
- 02 - Second Set of Charges
- 03 - Pre-Sentence Report
- 04 - Sentencing Report
- 05 - Montague Sentencing "in brief"
- 06 - Firearms Act Exempted Persons
- 07 - CBC News Story on woman given house arrest for murdering a man
( http://www.cbc.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.