I am quoted extensively in the second part of Jeff Davis’ multi-part series which has run throughout the Postmedia newspapers.
Read the full article here.
Solomon Friedman, an Ottawa-based lawyer specializing in firearms law, argues the history of Canadian gun-control laws amounts to “a slow, creeping process of criminalizing law-abiding members of the public.”
Rather than cracking down on criminals, police have laid firearms charges most often against who those have not really committed crimes at all, he says.
The biggest problem, Friedman said, is that all laws relating to guns are in the Criminal Code, and can only result in criminal charges. In effect, he said, Canada does not have a regulatory framework for firearms, only a criminal one.
“If you forget to file your paperwork, its not a ticket, it’s a criminal record,” he says. “The first thing that happens is you’re taken in handcuffs to the station, booked and you’re looking at custody and incarceration as a penalty.”
Friedman said police are often unclear on the particulars of firearms law, and take a “charge first, ask questions later” approach. As a result, he said, charges against lawful gun owners routinely fail.
And later in the article:
Friedman says he has represented many gun owners who have been charged with unsafe storage or transport, and says that even if the accused is vindicated, he or she is saddled with large legal fees. He says a preferred tactic of the police and courts is to offer to drop unsafe storage charges if the accused surrenders their guns and accepts a 10-year or lifetime weapons ban.
Friedman said gun owners are widely suspicious of police, particularly older gun owners who have lived to see activities that were wholly lawful in their youth become criminal offences.
“This has driven a wedge between two groups that should be naturally allied: law abiding firearms owners and law enforcement,” he said. “Law abiding firearms owners are your most responsible citizens, people who care most about society in general, and that’s just a fact.”