Toews not happy about adding red tape for gun owners

Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety.



OTTAWA - New paperwork demanded by chief firearms officers (CFO) for licensed gun owners carrying their registered, legally owned handguns to shooting ranges doesn't sit right with Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

"Our government does not support placing needless red tape on law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters," the minister's officials said in an e-mail.

CFOs in Ontario and New Brunswick say target shooters and instructors must get a paper permission slip before visiting a range where they don't have a membership.

In a Jan. 28 letter to gun clubs, Ontario CFO Chris Wyatt says those papers could be "a print-out of an e-mail" inviting someone to a host club, or a flyer advertising a shooting competition.

That's still too much for John Evers, president of the East Elgin Sportsmen's Association.

He said Wyatt shouldn't add yet another piece of paper to the several documents gun owners already must have to own, use and transport their private property.

"Gun owners are kind of sick and tired of you making up the rules as you go along," Evers said. "We're not going to stand for it, so we'll see you in court, Chris."

The Canadian Shooting Sports Association intends to fight the new rule in court.

It seems unlikely that Toews will step in to order Wyatt to stand down the way he did when Ontario's CFO tried to force gun shops to keep paper records of gun sales.

Toews's office said since this new issue "has the potential to be before the courts," the minister won't comment directly on Wyatt's actions.

- with files from Kris Sims

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