Americans trying to bring guns into Canada with 'alarming frequency' - Macleans.ca
 

Americans trying to bring guns into Canada with ‘alarming frequency’

Six Americans have been charged with bringing handguns across the New Brunswick border so far this summer


 

Guns that were turned in by their owners are seen in a trash bin at a gun buyback held by the LAPD

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Six Americans have been charged with bringing handguns across the New Brunswick border so far this summer, as a Canadian prosecutor says it’s proving difficult to let otherwise law-abiding people know they can’t bring firearms on vacation.

“The offences continue to occur with alarming frequency during the summer months,” federal prosecutor Peter Thorn said from Hampton, N.B.

Five men – three from Florida, two from New England – pleaded guilty and were fined between $1,500 and $2,000, he said.

Thorn, who has prosecuted these cases for years, said most of the people caught are “respectful and law abiding citizens of the U.S.A.” who are unaware handguns are prohibited in Canada.

He said many don’t realize they can legally declare firearms and leave them behind as they enter the country. Many of the tourists are 60 and older, and from the South.

The Canadian government has issued travel advisories, and there is signage at the border, but some Americans keep bringing their guns and lying about it, he said.

Thorn said each time he handles a case, he asks the judge for a sentence that will deter others from travelling armed, but word doesn’t seem to filter back to the U.S.

“Unfortunately, whereas the offenders reside in the U.S.A., it is highly unlikely that the sentencing message will ever reach those who could take heed or notice of the message,” Thorn said in an email to The Canadian Press.

The first case at St. Stephen, N.B., this summer came May 20. A 69-year-old New Hampshire man admitted he had a .357 Magnum in his glove compartment as border guards inspected his SUV. He was fined $1,500.

Two days later, a 27-year-old Maine woman was charged with failing to declare a prohibited handgun at St. Stephen. She has pleaded not guilty and will face trial in Saint John, N.B., on March 23, 2018, Thorn said.

On June 9, a 66-year-old Tavernier, Fla., man denied having a gun in his motor home – until border officers found a Smith & Wesson 9 mm in a locked safe. He was fined $1,500.

On June 23, a Hampton, Fla., man arrived with two undeclared guns, including a prohibited .25 calibre Raven Arms handgun. He was fined $2,000.

A Canadian Border Services agent walks past a welcoming sign at Gate 521 at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. (Darren Calabrese/CP)

A Canadian Border Services agent walks past a welcoming sign at Gate 521 at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. (Darren Calabrese/CP)

On July 11, there were two cases within hours.

A 59-year-old New Hampshire man heading for Roosevelt Campobello International Park denied having guns while entering Campobello, N.B., from Lubec, Maine, and was targeted for a search.

He told officers he wanted to return to the U.S. but it was too late. Officers found a .38 in a storage case in his motor home, as well as undeclared alcohol and two grams of suspected marijuana. He was fined $2,000.

That same day, a handgun was seized from a 64-year-old Jacksonville, Fla., couple at St. Stephen. It was found, undeclared, in the woman’s suitcase, where her husband had hid it without telling her, Thorn said.

“(The woman) stated that she specifically told her husband not to bring his handgun into Canada,” said Thorn.

The man pleaded guilty, telling Judge Andrew LeMesurier of the New Brunswick provincial court they were coming to Canada to escape the heat.

The judge joked the “heat” found him – and that he should know by now to listen to his wife. The Jacksonville man was fined $2,000.

The Canadian Border Services Agency said such seizures are common.

In 2015, the agency seized seven guns in St. Stephen, up from five the previous year, it said. Nationally, it seized 671 firearms in 2015, 313 of which were prohibited in Canada, mostly in Ontario and B.C.

Last summer, Thorn said border agents seized a gun about once a week at St. Stephen.

On one weekend in August last year, two Texas men separately tried to bring hidden guns across at St. Stephen. On one October weekend, two retirees in their mid-60s from southern states arrived hours apart, both carrying weapons and both denying it.


 

Americans trying to bring guns into Canada with ‘alarming frequency’

  1. Ticks me off.

      • Do you really believe those guns will stay with their original owners? Iron pipeline.

        • “Do you really believe those guns will stay with their original owners?”

          Yes, I do. Further, I think that the people who carry them are safer than your average Canadian. There are about a million Texans licensed to carry a handgun, and the Texas Department of Public Safety publishes an annual report detailing crimes committed by license holders. In 2015, only three were convicted of murder. None were convicted of manslaughter. If they formed their own state, its per capita homicide rate would be 0.32 per 100, 000 residents. Canada’s rate that year was 1.63. https://www.dps.texas.gov/RSD/LTC/Reports/ConvictionRatesReport2015.pdf

          • You are assuming that all the visitors from the USA who have handguns are licensed by their states. The overall homicide rate in Texas is about triple the Canadian rate. Apparently most of those killings are people without licences. (In either Texas or Canada, they may not be using guns.)

          • “You are assuming that all the visitors from the USA who have handguns are licensed by their states.”

            Some of them might be criminals, but the article says they’re typically “otherwise law-abiding people,” so I suspect most of them are. I think they’re more likely to do something like this than to rob or murder someone:

            “Witness holds stabbing suspect at gunpoint”
            http://www.9news.com/news/crime/witness-holds-stabbing-suspect-at-gunpoint/231790490

  2. For years, I worked in close proximity to the criminal element in society.
    It was & is well known, one of the largest “pipelines” of illegal firearms entering Canada was through the Native reserves straddling the border with the US. Handguns from these sources, with no serial numbers, were commonly available on the street for about 3 to 400 dollars.
    Instead of worrying about the occasional American senior inadvertently bringing a gun across the border, why not do a story on something no CDN politician will ever talk about?

    • Canadian seniors have been arrested using the iron pipeline in the past. Supplement their incomes. Some seniors even sell and use illegal dope like crack and meth.

      Don’t paint a broad brush about the reserves. Media has done stories about smuggling across reserves. Canadians are worse especially when the dollar is cheap.

      With all that’s going on do you really think arming Canadians is a good idea? Let the Yanks carry all the legal and illegal they want to so long as they stay home while doing it.

      It’s not about the right to bare arms it’s about $$$$. Billions/trillions of it. You can’t even say it’s about jobs because what is the markup on weapons? Depends on who the buyer is .

  3. If these folks are “law abiding citizens” … why did they lie about having the guns? I have no doubt most of them are just ordinary folks who in their own states have the right to carry a gun… but lying about having them is just plain stupid.