The NDP “Compromise” Plan – Part I

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Today, we are going to start taking a look at “Turncoat” Charlie Angus’ Private Member’s Bill C-580,  “An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Firearms Act and the Contraventions Act (long guns)”

First, let’s see what’s going on with the sections intended to “decriminalize” first-time non-registration of long gun charges…be warned, there is a large amount of bafflegab to go through.  Welcome to the world of the law-abiding gun owner!

Amendments to the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act:

Criminal Code of Canada

Unauthorized possession of firearm

91. (1) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), every person commits an offence who possesses a firearm without being the holder of

(a) a licence under which the person may possess it; and

(b) a registration certificate for the firearm.

[…]

Punishment

(3) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Exceptions

(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to

(a) a person who possesses a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition while the person is under the direct and immediate supervision of a person who may lawfully possess it, for the purpose of using it in a manner in which the supervising person may lawfully use it;

(b) a person who comes into possession of a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition by the operation of law and who, within a reasonable period after acquiring possession of it,

(i) lawfully disposes of it, or

(ii) obtains a licence under which the person may possess it and, in the case of a firearm, a registration certificate for the firearm.

or

[C-580]1. Subsection 91(4) of the Criminal Code is amended by striking out “or” at the end of paragraph (a), by adding “or” at the end of paragraph (b) and by adding the following after paragraph (b):

(c) a person who possesses a firearm that is neither a prohibited firearm nor a restricted firearm, in the case of a first offence committed under section 112 of the Firearms Act.

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Possession of firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized

92. (1) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), every person commits an offence who possesses a firearm knowing that the person is not the holder of

(a) a licence under which the person may possess it; and

(b) a registration certificate for the firearm.

[…]

Punishment

(3) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

(a) in the case of a first offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years;

(b) in the case of a second offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; and

(c) in the case of a third or subsequent offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years less a day.

Exceptions

(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to

(a) a person who possesses a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition while the person is under the direct and immediate supervision of a person who may lawfully possess it, for the purpose of using it in a manner in which the supervising person may lawfully use it; or

(b) a person who comes into possession of a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition by the operation of law and who, within a reasonable period after acquiring possession of it,

(i) lawfully disposes of it, or

(ii) obtains a licence under which the person may possess it and, in the case of a firearm, a registration certificate for the firearm.

or

[C-580]2. Subsection 92(4) of the Act is amended by striking out “or” at the end of paragraph (a), by adding “or” at the end of paragraph (b) and by adding the following after paragraph (b):

(c) a person who possesses a firearm that is neither a prohibited firearm nor a restricted firearm, in the case of a first offence committed under section 112 of the Firearms Act.

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The Firearms Act

[C-580]11. (1) Subsection 112(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

Failure to register certain firearms

112. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), every person commits an offence who, not having previously committed an offence under this subsection or subsection 91(1) or 92(1) of the Criminal Code, possesses a firearm that is neither a prohibited firearm nor a restricted firearm without being the holder of a registration certificate for the firearm.

These amendments seem to be setting up some kind of “if-then” sorting loop between the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, such that a charge under one section has to refer to the other, and back again, trying to determine if someone has already been convicted under one or the other section.

These are the changes to the “Contraventions Act” (just an aside, had you ever heard of the “Contraventions Act” before now?):

Contraventions Act

12. Section 2 of the Contraventions Act is amended by replacing the definition “contravention” with the following:

“contravention” means an offence that is created by an enactment and is designated as a contravention by this Act or by regulation of the Governor in Council;

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Regulations

8. (1) The Governor in Council may, for the purposes of this Act, make regulations

(a) designating as contraventions offences created by any enactment, other than offences for which an offender may be prosecuted only on indictment;

(b) establishing short-form descriptions of contraventions;

(c) establishing, in respect of a contravention, an amount as the amount of the fine for the purposes of proceedings commenced by means of a ticket;

(d) prescribing the form of tickets and other forms that may be used for the purposes of this Act;

(e) providing for the fees, costs, penalties and other amounts that

(i) shall be imposed in respect of a contravention, or

(ii) may be imposed in respect of a contravention,

in the circumstances prescribed, at any stage of the proceedings; and

(f) prescribing classes of contraventions for the purposes of this Act.

Fees

(1.1) Different fees may be provided for in respect of each province.

[C-580.13. (1) Section 8 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (1.1):]

(1.2) An offence under section 112 of the Firearms Act is designated as a contraventions offence for the purposes of this Act.

[C-580.13.(2) Subsection 8(2) of the Act is replaced by the following: ]

(2) For greater certainty, the Governor in Council may revoke the designation of an offence as a contravention, other than a designation referred to in subsection (1.2).

Maximum fine

(3) An amount established under paragraph (1)(c) may not exceed the maximum amount established for the relevant offence by the enactment creating the offence.

Maximum fine for contraventions by young persons

(4) An amount established under paragraph (1)(c) in respect of a contravention, other than a contravention relating to parking a vehicle, may not exceed one hundred dollars, if the contravention is committed by a young person.

Minimum fine

(5) An amount established under paragraph (1)(c) may not be less than any minimum amount prescribed for the relevant offence by the enactment creating the offence.

Corporations and individuals

(6) Different amounts may be established under paragraph (1)(c) in respect of corporations and individuals committing the same contravention if the enactment creating the offence differentiates between them in prescribing the punishment for the offence.

Sufficiency of short-form description

(7) The use on a form prescribed under this Act of a short-form description established under paragraph (1)(b) or of a description that deviates from that description without affecting its substance is sufficient for all purposes to describe the contravention.

(8) [Repealed, 1996, c. 7, s. 4]

1992, c. 47, s. 8; 1996, c. 7, s. 4.

[Note: Sections 1 to 5 and 7, paragraphs 8(1)(a) to (c), (e) and (f), subsections 8(1.1) to (7) and 17(4) and sections 42, 54, 55, 58, 59 and 63 to 80.1 in force August 1, 1996, see SI/96-56.]

Clear as mud, isn’t it?  This is what Jack thinks will set up tickets and fines for not registering “first offences”.

But then there’s this section:

Relationship with Criminal Code and Youth Criminal Justice Act

5. The provisions of the Criminal Code relating to summary conviction offences and the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act apply to proceedings in respect of contraventions that are commenced under this Act, except to the extent that this Act, the regulations or the rules of court provide otherwise.

1992, c. 47, s. 5; 1996, c. 7, s. 2; 2002, c. 1, s. 168.

¿Que?  This appears to be saying that the Contraventions Act only applies to Criminal Code “summary conviction” offenses, not “indictable” ones.  Bur CCC s 92 doesn’t allow for a summary conviction option, just indictable.  They seem to be trying to force all first offences to default to FA s 112, first.  As another aside, to the best of my knowledge nobody has ever been charged under s 112 of the Firearms Act.

So not only do honest and responsible gun owners need to know the ins and outs of the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code, now we have to know the ramifications and procedures of the Contraventions Act, too!

REAL criminals must be pissing their pants laughing…

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13. (1) Section 8 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (1.1):


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