20 May 2009

Some ‘splainin’ needed on firearms bust

Take a look at the array of firearms seized from a 25 year old man in St. John’s on Tuesday. There’s an excellent picture accompanying the Telegram story.

Certain types of weapons have been illegal to own in this country since 1995.  The only way someone can legally own them is if they had them prior to 1995 and have maintained the necessary licenses since then.

It’s unlikely that a 25 year old man collected these weapons before he was 10 years old.

We are talking about:

  • Several AK-47s or variants from China or eastern Europe;
  • Several SKS rifles from several possible sources. [The one on a bi-pod with a drum magazine appears to be an SKS]; and
  • A STEN gun;

The guy has been charged with the appropriate offenses since he apparently didn’t have a license for them but in several interviews aired on Wednesday a police spokesperson made it sound like there was a possibility these weapons might not be illegal.  What’s worse, some of the rifles – like maybe the M1 Garand in the photo – have to be sent to a lab on the mainland to determine if they’ve been modified to fire as fully automatic.

Some further explanation seems to be in order:

  1. Let’s make it abundantly clear that these weapons are illegal except for a handful of licensed firearms owners and – as a result – this arrest is extremely serious.
  2. Let’s have someone explain how the heck the guy could accumulate the arsenal of patently illegal firearms in the first place.

Your humble e-scribbler has argued for years that the firearms laws in the country need to be changed dramatically from the motley collection of measures applied in the early to mid-1990s.


There’s no reason to leave the impression what this guy had was legal to own. The next thing you know we’ll be back in the loopy days of the early 1990s when under two different governments – Liberal and Conservative – the country adopted entirely useless firearms laws and ignored the sorts of measures that would have worked much more effectively to ensure public safety.