View Full Version : Ban of Swiss Army guns sows confusion

03-07-2014, 07:35 AM
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Ban of Swiss Army guns sows confusion

First the prohibition, then the anmesty for owners of prohibited Classic Green rifles, satisfies no-one
By Leslie MacKinnon, CBC News Posted: Mar 07, 2014 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 07, 2014 5:00 AM ET
Both gun owners and gun control advocates say they're confused by the government's handling of a ban on a class of military-style rifles.

Gun owners say they don't know what the government's five-year amnesty on the Swiss Arms Classic Greens means.

The guns are semi-automatic rifles called Classic Greens and they've been available in Canada for about a dozen years.

Last week the RCMP changed the guns' classification from "non-restricted" to "prohibited" on its firearms reference table (FRT), a document available only to police and other authorized people such as gun shop owners.

No announcement was made, and the RCMP has not responded to numerous calls about why the guns were banned.

However, in an earlier email to a gun shop which was posted on a blog, the RCMP said they suspect the guns could be easily converted to be fully automatic. Automatic weapons, which shoot a spray of bullets with one trigger pull, are illegal in Canada.

Michael Bryant, a spokesperson for the Coalition for Gun Control, is a little confused as well. Bryant, a former Ontario attorney general, said in a phone interview, "How can amnesty be given for a prohibited gun? I'm not sure that will stand up."

Gun owners called their MPs

Gun owners were outraged when news of the ban appeared on gun association websites. The websites urged owners to call their MPs.

There were reports Conservative MPs were lining up at the mikes during last week's caucus meeting to let Prime Minister Stephen Harper know their constituents were upset about the gun ban.

The National Firearms Association's Facebook page posted, "Big discussions, big developments. Good people are bringing the fight to caucus. Stay tuned."

By the end of last week, the government announced the amnesty for Classic Greens. But gun owners aren't necessarily happy about the news.

James Bachynsky of the Calgary Shooting Centre, reached by phone in Calgary, said, "They [gun owners] don't know if they can sell their guns or use their guns. They just know that if they're stopped, they're not going to be arrested for possession.

James Bachynsky, owner of The Calgary Shooting Centre, says the Firearms Act is vague and confusing. (Facebook.com)

"Ten thousand people woke up this Monday morning and found out they might be criminals," said Bachynsky.

Bachynsky is angry the RCMP didn't suggest owners would be compensated for the $4,000 guns they'd legally purchased. Instead, he says, the RCMP said owners should take the guns back to the dealers.

Bryant says a free pass for possessing a banned weapon has never happened in Canada.

A spokesperson for the public safety minister's office, asked about the legality of the amnesty, referred to last week's statement about the amnesty. "Details of the amnesty will be made public in the near future," said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, speaking for Steven Blaney.

Dispute between two Calgary gun shops

To add to the confusion, the story of how the guns came to be banned after a dozen years on the Canadian market seems have started with a dispute between two Calgary gun shops.

Bachynsky admits his company, fearing a shortage of the popular Classic Green rifles, purchased some used versions in Switzerland last year and had them refurbished and shipped to Canada. One of those guns ended up as a trade-in at The Shooting Edge in Calgary, operated by J.R. Cox.

Cox, in an interview with CBC News last week, said he thought the refurbished gun had been modified from an assault weapon that's illegal in Canada. "You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig. It was so badly beaten up. I've never seen a gun in Canada with a look like that. And it had a fresh coat of paint to make it look good," he said.

So he reported the gun to the RCMP.

Bachynsky says Cox wanted to "interfere with our business." Cox, who admits "the guys at the Calgary Shooting Centre used to be my partners," said, "They've managed to portray me as if I'm the bad guy. But I'm not the one who brought in 16 prohibited firearms which started this whole mess."

The upshot was that the RCMP not only banned the refurbished guns, but the whole class of Swiss Arms rifles.

RCMP wants to change gun classifications

But access to information documents show that for some time the RCMP has been wanting to change the classification of many of the newer guns brought into Canada. In a briefing note obtained and published by Global News last year, the RCMP details a meeting planned with Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and his staff at a shooting range.

In the memo, the RCMP says firearm classifications have not been updated since the Firearms Act was passed in 1995. The result, it notes, is that "50-calibre sniping rifles and other military and paramilitary-type firearms are currently non-restricted."

An earlier document, addressed to the former minister, Vic Toews, warns that outdated gun classifications "pose a risk to public safety."

Gun owners say it's about property rights

Bachynsky says the issue is one of property rights. "The federal law enforcement agency is deciding what property people can own." He calls the Firearms Act "confusing" and "so vague, so poorly drafted" he'd like to see it "tossed out."

Michael Byrant, a former Ontario attorney general, is a spokesperson for the Coalition for Gun Control (Twitter.com)

Bryant says the gun lobby is now indulging in "gluttony" ever since its success in lobbying the government to dismantle the gun registry. "They are now eager for more restrictions to be lifted," he said, and the government is "doing an end run around the RCMP."

The gun lobby, he says, thinks Canadians have lost interest in gun control and want to "Americanize" the gun culture in Canada.

What's happened, Bryant says, is an influx of "the kind of guns we've never seen in Canada." He added, "These guns are not for hunting. They're killing machines."

killer kane
03-07-2014, 07:57 AM
"They're Killing Machines". The only killing machine in this article would be the scumbag Bryant.

03-07-2014, 08:05 AM
Oh dear... the comments!

03-07-2014, 08:13 AM
Some of the comments are great!

If you don't believe cars are "killing machines" just ask Bryant. I bet he's still heartbroken over the bike courier he accidentally killed with his car. He would be more credible fighting for a ban on cars and promotion of public transit

The only killing machine is Michael Bryant and his Saab, he has killed more people than me, despite me owning guns for over 35 years. These guns have been here for a over a decade with no issues whatsoever. Now thousands of Canadians wake up one morning to find they are criminals due to a whim of the RCMP and no compensation is offered. This firearm Act has to go and be replaced with proper legislation that punishes real criminals and does not punish law abiding Canadians.

03-07-2014, 08:43 AM
It blows me away how people are so against something, but won't spend 10 seconds to educate themselves on what they are against. The "fully automatic assault rifles should be banned" line gets tiresome.

03-07-2014, 10:15 AM
I've posted my own comment to the story (see below; not yet approved by the CBC censors...), but the absurd and emotional reasoning used in the anti-gun comments is near impossible to combat given they don't rely on logic. Often makes me wonder if our government uses fake accounts to mold online opinion (as the NSA has been demonstrated to be doing); otherwise we've got a huge community of trolls in this country.


"The firearms in question have never been used in a criminal offense in the dozen years they have been non-restricted. The irrational and emotional reasoning for taking them from their law abiding and peaceful owners (without even compensation!) is ridiculous; this is theft.

The greater irony is the anti-gun community thinks it's perfectly acceptable for the RCMP to use the threat of lethal force with their own firearms to disarm peaceful citizens. The anti-gun crowd are not anti-gun; they want firearms ownership consolidated in the hands of the state at the expense of the public.

Last I checked the RCMP and government didn't have more rights granted to them than to citizens.

Repeal Bills C-68 and C-17 and replace them with equitable firearms laws that respect the rights of Canadians. Gun owners are not bogeyman or villains; we are your neighbors, your coworkers, and your family members."

03-07-2014, 10:17 AM
Never forget. Michael Bryant and his car have killed one more person than all of the guns, owned by all of the members of this entire site. Hes still driving a car though. Who really owns the "killing machine" Michael ?

03-07-2014, 10:46 AM
Awww, I'm kinda late to the party, you all used up a bunch of the good lines:(


Swiss Arms don't kill people, Saabs kill people.

I can't believe any group would want this person associated with them? Seems like an extreme strategic error to me, am I missing something? What could he possibly bring to the table that outweighs his vehicular manslaughter?

03-07-2014, 10:55 AM
I have to look away from the comment section. I could spend all day there trying to fix those miserable folks.

Glad to see a little wider coverage.

And beyond the "Swiss Army Rifles" and a US gun in the picture, they actually didn't do too bad a job at getting everything in there. . . except the Cz858 of course. Derp.

03-07-2014, 11:16 AM
It is just amazing how politicians like him can ban pitbulls, kill someone with his car be an all around douche bag and then try's to ride in on a white horse to save Canada from the evil gun owners!!!

03-07-2014, 12:03 PM
Honestly after reading these statements I want to try crack or meth just to understand WTF he is getting his ideas from???

03-07-2014, 12:20 PM
The comments are hilarious.

03-07-2014, 01:54 PM
the comments on the CBC posting are huge.

03-07-2014, 02:16 PM
the comments on the CBC posting are huge.

Hi again! Thanks for getting the word out, Strangeday. The comments on the CBC are fun to make:)

03-07-2014, 06:48 PM
Oh boy.... look at this troll:

Ron Alberta

As a hunter, target shooter, and gun owner, I'm horrified that a gun like the Swiss Army Classic Green is allowed to be owned by non military people. That gun is intended for one purpose only -- to kill people. It should be banned.

I appreciate the big problem is that people already own these guns. Put a sunset time period on them to get them back out of the non restricted category. Immediately ban clips of more than 5 rounds. The 30 round clip is the most dangerous part of this gun. It is the part that mass murderers love. It allows them to shoot hundreds of rounds while very quickly reloading. It is also that part that makes them attractive to the Rambo wannabes.

As if this person is a sport shooter, hunter or even albertan. Its some hipster at starbucks in Toronto trying to make a point from a more credible view point.

03-07-2014, 07:10 PM
So military peeps would be the exception to ownership?
I need clarification on the 30 rnd clip , must be making reference to those ghost guns I keep hearing about
Some peoples kids say the darnedest things...

Sent from my GT-P5210 using Tapatalk

Prairie Dog
03-07-2014, 07:45 PM
As if this person is a sport shooter, hunter or even albertan. Its some hipster at starbucks in Toronto trying to make a point from a more credible view point.

Don't be so sure. Sadly there's few people on the AO forum with similar views.

03-07-2014, 07:59 PM
"They are now eager for more restrictions to be lifted," he said, and the government is "doing an end run around the RCMP."

This is willful ignorance.

The Government exists to write and pass the laws that suit the people.

The RCMP exists to keep the peace, and enforce the law the Government has passed when it's broken.

The Government isn't doing and end run around the RCMP, it is in fact the RCMP using poorly written legislation to do an end run around the Government. The RCMP have no business interpreting the law to suit their political agenda.

Hit the comments, this is willful ignorance and support of a police state by a person viewed as an "authority figure".

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
-- Hanlon's Razor

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice
-- Heinlein's Razor

Many journalists have fallen for the conspiracy theory of government. I do assure you that they would produce more accurate work if they adhered to the cock-up theory.
—- Sir Bernard Ingham

Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice
-- Clark's law

03-08-2014, 12:03 PM
Those are some good quotes Loki..