A fascinating news piece out of Winnipeg, MB regarding gun possession, mandatory minimum sentences and self-defence.
A Manitoba judge who expressed sympathy for a Winnipeg man who bought a handgun to protect himself says the law gives him no choice but to jail him, a move gun advocates say highlights the need for renewed discussion about Canadians’ right to self-defence.
“I don’t condone it, but I understand why you were carrying a gun,” Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Menzies told Kevin Everett, 22, on Monday. “I’ve really struggled with this file. It’s something that has bothered me.”
The judge made his views about mandatory minimum sentences perfectly clear:
The judge sentenced Everett to 21 months in jail and one year of probation. Judge Menzies said he considered taking the highly unusual step of ignoring a joint recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers and actually imposing a lower sentence, but conceded rulings in higher courts suggest these types of plea bargains should be honoured.
Judge Menzies bemoaned mandatory jail sentences for firearm-related offences in Canada, saying a case like this shows the courts should allow some flexibility for unusual circumstances — a point echoed by Blair Hagen, executive vice-president of the National Firearms Association, who said this case is “indicative of the entire issue” in Canada about the unjust exclusivity related to gun laws when it comes to self-defence.
He also addressed the law of self-defence and the attitude of police and legislators to the use of firearms in self-defence siutations:
“The law and bureaucracy surrounding gun possession for self-defence in Canada is very antagonistic,” he said. “It very much discourages individuals … in situations where their lives are being threatened and having a gun available would be of some use.”
Read the full article here.