Have you heard the news? RCMP officers have seized a “substantial amount” of firearms from evacuated homes in High River, Alberta.
Click here to get a feeling of what’s happening on the ground.
Have contacted Richard A. Fritze, gun rights lawyer from Red Deer, Alberta. Will let you know soon as I receive word.
Just got off the phone with gun rights advocate and lawyer extroidinaire, Ed Burlew (btw, thanks Ed for making out my questions despite wisdom teeth issues I’m currently suffering through), here’s some of what came of that conversation:
- Early reports and RCMP statements make NO mention of search warrants.
- RCMP citing “public safety” (NOTE: Vic Toews was in town this week, think he knew about what was on the horizon?)
- Well, public safety DOES NOT trump warrants in and of itself.
- Our Criminal Code does allow for search without warrant; see for yourself:
s. 117.04 Search and seizure without warrant
(2) Where, with respect to any person, a peace officer is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not desirable, in the interests of the safety of the person or any other person, [**********]for the person[********] to possess any weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, the peace officer may, where the grounds for obtaining a warrant under subsection (1) exist but, by reason of a possible danger to the safety of that person or any other person, it would not be practicable to obtain a warrant, search for and seize any such thing, and any authorization, licence or registration certificate relating to any such thing, that is held by or in the possession of the person.
- As you can see, relevant section focuses on the firearm owner, not hypothetical threats from hypothetical others and no “floods too” clause
- And, since owners had been evacuated, this section clearly doesn’t apply.
MY QUESTIONS ARE:
- Have their been reports of looting?
- Firearm crime?
… Hunch says no, so the whole “We didn’t want to become like New Orleans” BS isn’t going to fly.
- Did they just check homes with restricted firearms? Go door to door?
Lastly, RCMP want proof of ownership?
Really? Without the registry, how are affected Albertans to do that? (Because you know they walked into homes and didn’t just find restricted firearms.)
Time and research will tell if the RCMP is in violation of ss. 7, 8 of the Charter, which include unreasonable search and seizure.
Because… YOU DON’T GO INTO PEOPLES’ HOMES WITHOUT A WARRANT UNLESS A CRIME IS BEING COMMITTED.
THE RCMP ACTED WITH POWERS OF MARTIAL LAW WHEN MARTIAL LAW WAS NOT DECLARED.
This is not about gun owners alone, this is about all Canadians.
Statement from PMO on the subject:
RCMP Seizure of Guns in High River
Media are reporting that the RCMP have seized guns from individuals’ homes in the flood affected community of High River, Alberta.
- If any firearms were taken, we expect they will be returned to their owners as soon as possible.
- We believe the RCMP should focus on more important tasks such as protecting lives and private property.
And, the following correspondence is from an email between Brian Lilley and the Ministry of Public Safety:
In the course of searching for humans, if a firearm was located, and was insecurely stored, it was seized for safekeeping only.
The guns have been stored at High River detachment and will be returned to owners. The firearms have been tagged with information to identify who they belong to. RCMP have advised that no charges for unsafe storage are contemplated at this time. Any guns in lockers, secured in areas or where a human could not be were not seized. There were no specific searches for guns, only seized if found incidentally to search and rescue mission.
Press Secretary / Attaché de presse
Office of the Minister of Public Safety / Cabinet du ministre de la Sécurité publique
Tel: 613-991-2866 / firstname.lastname@example.org
So what’s next? Authorities will likely reference the Alberta Emergency Management Act:
Section 19RSA 2000 EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ACT Chapter E-6.8Powers of Minister in emergency19(1) On the making of the declaration and for the duration of the state of emergency, the Minister may do all acts and take all necessary proceedings including the following:…..(g)cause the evacuation of persons and the removal of livestock and personal property from any area of Alberta that is or may be affected by a disaster and make arrangements for the adequate care and protection of those persons or livestock and of the personal property;(h)authorize the entry into any building or on any land, without warrant, by any person in the course of implementing an emergency plan or program;