Saturday, August 6, 2016

RCMP making criminals of responsible gun owners

Les MacPherson, Saskatoon StarPhoenix
   Canada is a nation of laws made by our elected representatives, unless you’re a firearms owner, that is. For you, police make the laws, as they do in a police state.
   With the imperious stroke of a pen, the RCMP has turned into criminals thousands of law abiding gun owners who were doing their best to obey the law. They now are afoul of a police-imposed prohibition on a common accessory for the most popular of .22 rifles. Now deemed illegal are magazines holding more than 10 rounds for the venerable Ruger 10/22.
   It so happens I have one of these rifles. My wife gave it to me for my birthday 37 years ago. I remember because it was the first year of our marriage. The Ruger clinched it. A dandy little rifle for gophers, crows and, especially, tin cans, it is enormous fun to shoot. It also is ubiquitous. Not too many firearms enthusiasts don’t have a Ruger 10/22. I would be surprised if any of Canada’s Olympic shooters, for instance, have not had one in their gun safe. Among farmers, ranchers and hunters, it is almost standard equipment.
   The 10/22 comes with a 10-round magazine. A lot of owners, maybe most of them, buy extra magazines of various sizes up to 50 rounds. While one person shoots, another can be loading the extra magazine. If you don’t think it’s fun to send a tin can flying with 50 rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger, you haven’t tried it.
   Extended magazines for the 10/22 have been on the market for decades. You could buy them in almost any hardware store in the country. Your Uncle Bob might have picked one up on a whim at Macleod’s, put it away somewhere and forgotten all about it. Now he’s a criminal and he doesn’t even know it. At least his pension will go further in jail.
   There was no big announcement from the RCMP when they made the magazines illegal. No public service ads were placed, no letters sent to licensed gun owners. There was no consultation, no discussion, no public debate. It all happened behind closed doors. That’s what happens when police make the laws...

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