Running guns to Canada

The Canadian border police bagged this Glock, BHP and Ruger from a single would-be smuggler. Big to enclicken!

The Canadian border police bagged this Glock, BHP and Ruger from a single would-be smuggler. Big to enclicken!

Canada, which all but bans handguns, has a handgun crime problem. (Unpossible! But true). So one thing they’re doing is, while never being quite as unpleasant to ordinary travelers as the US Customs and Border Patrol is to those going the other way, cracking down on people they suspect might be running guns.

Like the lady they bagged with these three handguns (and two spare mags, which are separate felony charges in the land that sees itself as evolved and nonviolent, but produces about 100% of hockey high-sticking “enforcers.”

One interesting thing is that the three guns here are not the usual criminal junk, but a compact Glock, a Browning Hi-Power in good condition, and a Ruger 9mm. One would think these guns might bring a premium on the black market, or they might just be what the smuggler could get her hands on (or her organization could, because it’s highly unlikely she’s working solo on this).

Of course, where something is widely available on one side of a border and contraband across it, price differentials are commanded to arise by the law of supply and demand, and border-crossing arbitrageurs are certain to appear. The Canadians’ answer to the problem is for the USA to adopt Canada’s laws, including absence of 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Amendment protections for the citizen. We might disagree and even suggest another approach, but Canadians as a whole are not very interested in what we think. They’re rather proud of the fact that they’re a separate country, despite the wide swathes of stone stupid Americans who don’t know that fact, and resentful of the impact of America’s much larger, dominant culture on their own.

A .25 Ortgies bought illegally by Star reporters with ATF's blessing.

A .25 Ortgies bought illegally by Star reporters with ATF’s blessing.

There is an ongoing study in the Toronto Star of gun smuggling, including an undercover buy by Star reporters Jayme Poisson, David Bruser and photog Pawel Duwit; an American felony which has been blessed by the BATFE. ATF Special Agent Mark Jackson assisted the lawbreaking reporters as part of ATF’s ongoing lobbying effort for Canadian-like laws in the USA. (459 of the 757 guns traced in Ontario in 2011 traced to the USA. The other 298 were presumably of Canadian or third-country origin. An additional 142 guns were not traced, the Star says because of old age or missing serials, but some may have had suspected Canadian origin as well). This 90-year-old, pitted Ortgies would probably also have been untraceable.

Poisson and David Bruser of the Star note that a $200 gun in the USA is a $2000 gun to Toronto criminals. Toronto cops seize 2-3 guns a day from criminals. The reporters, with the cooperation of the ATF’s investigative resources, traced a number of guns to purchases or thefts in the USA, and in one case called up the theft victim, abusing him on the phone and blaming him for a Toronto schoolyard shooting.

Canada’s Border Services Agency routinely seizes firearms (here are some examples from January) and arrests the owners, who may wind up in Canadian prison for the next three years. They have a toll-free snictch line for informers to turn in gun owners. They have procedures for firearms import (an awful lot of Americans go hunting in the less gun-shy Canadian West) and allow free importation of black-powder antiques and replicas.  But a description of controlled and prohibited weaponry is daunting, and describes a large quantity of what we have here in the armory, not to mention normal martial arts gimmicks, as “prohibited”. Nunchaku, a prohibited weapon? Blowguns? Yes, in Canada.

There’s even a provision for disarming the bodyguards of foreign heads of state in some circumstances. Because, after all, there are no handguns in Canada.

Bottom line: if you’re a gun guy, you’re not wanted in Canada, Eh. But you can definitely whack people with a hockey stick!