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Friends don't let friends become verifiers.

The following is a repost from Canadian Firearms Digest 707.

Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 17:26:50 -0600 From: David A Tomlinson Subject: VERIFICATION AND VERIFIERS...

>>One of our staff and myself have become verifiers because we were informed >>by the government that they will not verify any firearm purchased or >>imported by a dealer after the bill is proclaimed. I have asked them to >>state that position in writing. We will, of course, use them if they are >>available. However if they will not verify newly aquired firearms we will >>have to verify them in order to transfer them. >Can you comment on this? How are businesses supposed to import guns?

Verification is a government responsibility, and government has accepted that responsibility by recruiting verifiers -- who are people working for the government.

Government cannot force people to work for it -- particularly not people who are not PAID by the government. That would be chattel slavery.

Therefore, if a store refuses to provide the government with an unpaid "volunteer" verifier, it is a government responsibility to provide that service -- free, because the legislation does NOT authorize the charging of a fee by a verifier OR by the government directly, and authorization HAS to be present IN THE LAW in order for money to be transferred involuntarily. If the store provides the government with a free verifier -- on any terms -- then that store and its verifier are assisting the government to make the defective Bill C-68 a success. If the store refuses to provide the government with a free verifier, then the burden of providing the verifier shifts to the government -- where it belongs. We already know that the government is in deep trouble with failing verifier recruitment. If the government is UNABLE -- and it IS unable, not unwilling -- to provide a verifier where one is needed, then C-68 cannot be operated.

It is a rule of statutory interpretation that where the government requires A to do something, and A is unable to do it as the direct result of a government failure, then the requirement becomes null and void, because that is an abuse of process. Where there is an abuse of process, that abuse is a valid defence to any charge arising from the results -- CC s. 8(3), "Every rule and principle of the common law that renders any circumstance a justification or excuse for an act or a defence to a charge continues in force and applies in respect of proceedings for an offence under this Act or any other Act of Parliament except in so far as they are altered by or inconsistent with this Act or any other Act of Parliament."

That defence, in particular a defence of "abuse of process," in Regina v. Power, 29 CR (4th) 1, 103 CCC (3d) 1 (SCC) reversing 1993, resulted in the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that appeal courts should reverse the decisions of provincial courts only "to prevent an abuse of process where there is conspicuous evidence of improper motives or bad faith, or of an act so wrong that it violates the conscience of the community..."

For the government to demand that things be verified by verifiers created and recruited by the government -- and then fail to PROVIDE those verifiers, leading to inability to operate followed by disastrous failures of existing businesses -- is clearly an abuse of process. In such a case, the failure of a business would as a direct result of that abuse of process would render the government liable for damages, including punitive damages. In fact, going under from this cause may well open the door to a realatively wealthy retirement for the owner of a store that does go under, and a large infusion of useful capital for a store that is merely injured by the government's abuse of process.

The NFA has commissioned legal research in this area, and will provide guidance on how to collect from this defective government -- after C-68 comes into force, and as a result of the government's inability to supply the necessary verifiers.

Having said that, it is in the firearms community's best interests if C-68 Titanic goes under as quickly as possible. The verifier program is a VERY weak area in the government's plans, and attack at that point is likely to result in victory -- even before all the other defects kick in fully. The government's inability to PROVIDE verifiers will be an abuse of process that nullifies the entire area of firearms transfers -- in private as well as business transactions. Further, the firearms commnuity's activity in registering and re-registering firearms as "UNKNOWN, UNKNOWN, UNKNOWN..." (in response to the RISK that arises from the peculiar wording of FA s. 106 and 109) will severely load the system. Doing that nullifies the government's unloading of the system by its attempt to abandon the verification of long arms until 01 Jan 2003. Contrary to government intent, any such application will FORCE the government to choose between sending a verifier to look at and "identify" the firearm, or actually register it as "UNKNOWN, UNKNOWN, UNKNOWN..."

There will be another severe strain on the system as many handgun owners do an early re-registering of their handguns [required before 30 Dec 2002 by FA s. 127(2)(b) anyway] with a tick in Box No. 6 -- indicating that the firearm is now a "frame or receiver only." Accurate identification of a "frame or receiver" ranges from difficult to impossible, in most cases, and the opportunity to combine getting a new "flexible registration" with testing the government's system for viability is going to be difficult to resist.

It will be interesting to see how many of the "volunteer verifiers" -- stores AND individuals -- will turn out to be loyal friends of the government, and how many merely been leading the government's agents to view the verifier problem as bad, but just barely workable in order to lure the government deeper into the swamp.

The government now has -- it says -- 800 verifiers plus 200 more who will be trained by 01 Dec 98. If a reasonable percentage of those are taking advantage of the NFA's educational material usable by both applicants and "verifiers," the government's problems will increase at a very rapid rate. The NFA condemns NO ONE at this time, and will condemn no one for activities regarding the verifier program -- until AFTER C-68 comes into force. That is because no one knows what the people who are being pressured into "volunteering" will ACTUALLY DO when/if C-68 does come into force. Each such person or store may merely be leading the government deeper into the swamp created by government incompetence.

The NFA's advice is to WAIT -- and WATCH what they do AFTER C-68 comes into force. DO NOT get diverted into firearms community members fighting with firearms community members because you THINK someone has become a verifier. There are NO verifiers today -- and CAN be none until C-68 comes into force - -- if it ever does.*

Dave Tomlinson, NFA -- CLOG: all Conservative or Liberal Ottawa Governments

Webmaster's note - After several delays, most of C-68 came into effect Dec 1 1998. Judging by the bureacratic foulups (and the shower of court cases) that have resulted from the government's flawed implementation, perhaps the Liberals would have been smarter to quietly drop C-68 instead. (Formatting in the above message is my own fault.)