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Team CSSA E-News – July 31, 2015

COMMENTARY – It is the job of the CSSA to provide advice to our membership regarding the Canadian political climate and firearms ownership. What we are not doing, however, is telling you “how to vote.” If health care or transportation is your issue, vote for the party that floats your boat.

We know many of you look to the CSSA to keep you appraised regarding gun issues and to recommend courses of action. We try our best to keep you informed. Yet every time we write a political commentary, we get a few nasty e-mails that usually start out with, “How dare you tell me who to vote for.” However, we also get dozens of e-mails thanking us for the good work we are doing to protect your firearms rights.

We know that for many of you, target sports and hunting are big issues. They are to us too. But please understand, we are not out of the woods just yet regarding the ownership of the fundamental tools you require to pursue these avocations. Despite the progress we’ve made in recent years, firearms ownership in Canada is still under dire threat. A vote in the wrong direction means a fight for our very survival in the years ahead. Many of our members depend on us to inform them about these political pitfalls. We also know many of you don’t need our advice at all as you’ve done your own homework.

The CSSA lives and breathes this stuff every day – and we know what’s going on both inside and out. The CSSA, in a solid working relationship with the Government of Canada, has accomplished more positive changes for firearms owners in the last eight years than at any time since Confederation. It has been slow and frustrating. Moving the bureaucracy is akin to turning the Titanic with a canoe paddle. Nonetheless, we have made significant progress and that progress will continue if …

We listen to our members and regard our members as bright and thoughtful people. They send us smart advice every day, and we appreciate them. That is an uncountable asset of Team CSSA.

Over the coming weeks, you will be receiving more CSSA commentaries regarding the ever-changing political landscape. If you don’t like them, don’t read them. They are simply our (very experienced) opinion and you have every every right to disagree. But please remember, it is our duty to our members to keep them informed regarding the politics of firearms ownership.

As well, please conserve the electrons on planet Earth by restraining yourself from writing disrespectful emails to us anonymously, using noms de plume or extolling how voting for the Communist Party will save us all. We work very hard for you and calling us “CPC toadies” or accusing us of being “paid off” by the current government is hardly helpful. If you have a better suggestion to preserve our firearms freedoms, we’re all ears. But please keep it real.

In the meantime …

The Canadian Shooting Sports Association is proud to be a partner of the Harper government on the gun issue. Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney made that clear when he addressed the CSSA’s Annual General Meeting earlier this year:

The Canadian Shooting Sports Association is a long-standing partner of our government. We are thankful for the work done by each and every one of you to protect the important Canadian heritage activity of sport shooting. I would like to specifically thank your Executive Director, Tony Bernardo, for his tireless work.”

Do we get everything we ask for? Of course not. But we get a lot more than others for one simple reason: we’re in the room and can speak candidly on this issue. Minister Blaney values our input and takes our concerns seriously.

There is more to come from this government when they are re-elected. But that re-election, particularly with a majority, depends on us.

Between now and election day, we must all pull in the same direction – a direction that supports responsible firearms ownership for Canadians.

Both the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Liberal Party of Canada appear to want to rid Canada of guns and gun owners. Forget the election rhetoric and instead look at their track records.

The Liberal Party introduced a very nasty gun ban motion at its last national conference (only voted down after an impassioned plea by realist Hon. Wayne Easter, MP). More recently, Liberal Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette introduced a Senate bill that would ban all firearms, except her version of hunting guns. You may not know it, but even Senate bills have to be approved by the party leadership, so it’s safe to assume that this bill is a foreshadowing of things to come from the Liberal Party of Canada. And while party leader Justin Trudeau claims he won’t bring back the long gun registry (probably true) he states he supports strong gun control and can accomplish this through classifications (gun bans) and controlling who has them (prohibitions.)

NDP leader, Thomas Mulcair, has stated many, many times that he would reinstate the long-gun registry. It’s only recently that the rhetoric changed because of its electoral inconvenience. They will also sign the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty and implement the terrifying UN Marking System. There is much more. From the NDP policy book under Section 3.8 (D): Stopping the smuggling of illegal firearms and enable all municipalities, provinces, and territories to implement a ban on handguns.

The Green Party has seemingly reversed its long-standing policy regarding bringing back the long-gun registry and banning all handguns and black rifles. However, they have vowed to sign and implement all UN firearms agreements and recommendations – even the ones that abdicate Canada’s legislative sovereignty to the UN.

So there you have it.

We will discuss these issues in more detail once the federal election campaign gets underway, but it’s pretty plain to see where the golden ballot is – at least regarding firearms matters.

Of course, the final option is not to vote at all. From where we sit, that would simply facilitate disaster. Sitting out the election helps only those who want to see our proud heritage turned into a relic of the past, sitting on a dusty shelf in the basement.

The Conservative Party of Canada has been, for the most part, respectful of Canada’s firearms’ community. Indeed, while many MPs (of all political stripes) are gun owners, it seems that very few outside the CPC are willing to proudly stand up and say so. The Harper government has done many positive things for us. Not everything. Not even everything they said they would do. But far more than any other government in the history of Canada. Most importantly, the Harper government is willing to do more and continue down the path towards greater fairness for Canada’s gun owners.

If the recognition of these facts offends you, we encourage you to please go back and read the first paragraph again.


“Allan Rock said he came to Ottawa with the belief that only the police and military should have firearms. I believe that firearms ownership is a right, but a right that comes with responsibilities.” – The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety



CANADA QUALIFIES IN EIGHT OLYMPIC EVENTS FROM THE 2015 PAN AMERICAN GAMES (by Jeremy Freeborn, Olympics Examiner | | July 28, 2015)

According to Callum Ng and Paula Nichols of the Canadian Olympic Committee on Sunday, Canada qualified to eight Olympic events at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro from their results from the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. Team Canada qualified for the next Olympics in synchronized swimming, men’s field hockey, shooting (women’s 10 metre air pistol and women’s trap), women’s modern pentathlon, team equestrian, diving (women’s 3m springboard), and women’s kayak slalom.

Olympic bronze medalist Jennifer Abel of Montreal, Quebec helped Canada secure an Olympic spot in the women’s three metre springboard. Abel, who won a bronze medal in the women’s three metre springboard competition at the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai, won the gold medal in the women’s three metre springboard at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.

Also in the water, the Canadian synchronized swimmig team of Gabriella Brisson, Anabelle Frappier, Claudia Holzner, Lisa Mikelberg, Marie-Lou Morin, Samantha Nealon, Jacqueline Simoneau and Karine Thomas helped Canada secure a 2016 Olympic spot in women’s synchronized swimming by winning the gold medal. Jazmyne Denhollander of Chilliwack, British Columbia also helped Canada secure a 2016 Olympic spot by winning the gold medal in the women’s individual kayaking slalom.

In team events, Canada qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games by winning the gold medal in team equestrian and winning the silver medal in men’s field hockey. The Canadian equestrian team was led by Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze of Montreal, Quebec and Olympic silver medalist Ian Millar of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In shooting, Lynda Kiejko of Calgary, Alberta helped Canada secure an Olympic spot in women’s 10 metre air pistol shooting, as did Amanda Chudoba of Spruce Grove, Alberta in women’s trap shooting. Meanwhile, Donna Vakalis of Toronto, Ontario helped Canada secure a spot in women’s modern pentathlon by finishing in fourth place at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.

(Editor’s note: So let’s get this right. Shooters score 25% of our Olympic berths but get a relative pittance for training and one line in the whole article? What’s wrong with this picture?)


DON’T TRUST MULCAIR’S “NO GUN REGISTRY” PROMISE (By Brian Lilley | Rebel Media | July 28, 2015)

Thomas Mulcair is in northern Ontario this week, Thunder Bay to be exact, and that has him telling voters something different than he has told them in the past. The headline at TB News Watch couldn’t be clearer. “NDP Leader rules out re-introducing fed long gun registry.” The story went on to say, “Even though both Thunder Bay MPs were punished for breaking rank with the NDP over abolishing the long gun registry back in 2011, Tom Mulcair says he won’t re-introduce the registry if the NDP forms the next government.

Watch and read the rest:


THE MARINES ARE SLOWLY SAYING GOODBYE TO THE M16 RIFLE (By Thomas Gibbons-Neff | The Washington Post | July 28, 2015)

The Marine Corps’ long, sometimes twisted, relationship with the M16 rifle is slowly coming to an end.

On Monday, the Marine Corps Times reported that the rifle is only a few signatures away from being phased out from front-line units and relegated to a support role. The move, which follows a similar one by the Army, comes as the Marine Corps implements its new small-arms modernization strategy.

“The proposal to replace the M16A4 with the M4 within infantry battalions is currently under consideration at Headquarters Marine Corps,” Maj. Anton Semelroth, a Marine spokesman, told the Marine Corps Times in an e-mail.

The weapon replacing the M16, the M4, is a smaller, carbine variant of the M16. Aesthetically the M4 looks only slightly different, with a collapsible stock and shorter barrel. And while the M4 also shoots the same sized bullet as the M16 — 5.56mm — the real benefits come from its reduced weight and portability.

[Why the Marines are looking at a new sniper rifle]

At 7.5 pounds — a pound lighter than the M16 — the M4 fits nicely with the age-old infantry adage: “ounces equal pounds, pounds equal pain.” Additionally, the M4’s smaller size is ideal for close quarters combat and vehicle operations.

The Marine infantry’s adoption of the M4, however, is not completely new. The weapon has been fielded for quite some time, just not every Marine has been lucky enough to have one. In the past M4’s were generally issued to leadership while the average rifleman carried an M16.

Issuing the remaining Marine infantrymen with M4s will not cost the Marines a dime, as the Marines have the needed 17,000 M4s in stock, according to the Marine Corps Times.

The only drawback to using a M4 over the M16 is that the M4’s shorter barrel sacrifices accuracy out towards the maximum effective range of the rifle—500 meters. That is largely a moot point because at 500 meters the 5.56mm bullet fired by both the M16 and M4 is next to useless.

During the Vietnam war, when the M16 was first issued to U.S. troops, the Marines were some of the late adopters. In the early part of the war, Marine grunts hefted the M14, a grandson of sorts of the M1 Garand that was used in World War II and Korea.

See the story:


CSSA TRAINING COURSES – The CSSA is teaching Club Level Safety/Train the Trainer and Range Safety Officer courses at its headquarters: 116 Galaxy Boulevard, on the following dates:

  • August 22 and 23

Room is still available and the only requirement is that anyone attending be a CSSA member. Book your space now as class size is limited to 20 students! To RSVP, please phone Monday to Friday at (416) 679-9959.





Keith Beasley heads to Alberta with two of Canada’s most coveted hunting tags in his pocket, a mule deer and whitetail rifle tag. The hunt takes place on Canada’s largest First Nation reserve, the Blood reserve. The prairies are littered with rutting deer and Keith climbs and stalks the river bottoms and coulees in search of two mature Alberta bucks.

See the teaser:

Canada in the Rough can be found on OLN, WILD TV, and CHEX. For a full schedule, visit:


OSHAWA CONSERVATIVE TARGET SHOOT FUNDRAISER – AUGUST 15, 2015 – ORONO FISH AND HUNT CLUB – ORONO, ONTARIO. Located at 3292 – 7th Concession between Brown Road and Leskard Road. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $65 per person. Barbecue lunch will be served. This is an annual favourite, providing supporters the opportunity to safely handle and discharge a wide assortment of firearms with the assistance of trained and seasoned firearms owners. Special guest: MP Colin Carrie. To purchase tickets, please visit: or call 905-721-9022.

See the invitation:



Few events provoke as much as fear as mass shootings – incidents where four or more people are killed by one offender. Australia learnt this the hard way in 1996, when an unlicensed gunman killed 35 people at Port Arthur using two military-style semi-automatic rifles.

In response to this tragedy, all Australian states and territories revised their gun laws. A major change was the wide-scale removal from private ownership of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, and pump-action shotguns, through a taxpayer-funded “buy-back” scheme.

The justification was that mass shooters generally use particular “types” of weapon and that certain “types” of guns make mass shootings more likely to occur. This claim has been repeated recently, with some calling for Australia to ban what is being described as a “rapid fire” lever-action shotgun.

At first glance, this call may sound reasonable. It seems to have found the ear of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has announced an interim ban on the gun’s import. But the facts about mass shootings in Australia tell a different story.

Australia had 13 mass shootings between 1964 and 2014, involving many different types of firearms. Before Port Arthur, the worst mass shooting was not committed with a high-powered semi-automatic weapon, but with a “single shot” .22-calibre bolt-action rifle. That type of firearm is still commonly owned by farmers and other licensed shooters in Australia today.

Other shootings involved manually operated “centre-fire” rifles, which are still widely owned. And some shootings were committed with faulty guns that had to be slowly re-loaded by hand.

Australia currently has somewhere between 2.75 million and 4.5 million legally owned firearms in private hands, including some of the exact same types of guns used in past mass shootings.

History shows any type of firearm can be used in a mass shooting. So why was there an 18-year gap between the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 and the most recent mass shooting in September 2014?

No single, or simple, explanation

Looking at Australia’s history of mass shootings, most – nine out of 13 – occurred between 1987 and 1996.

It is possible that the concentration of incidents in one decade was a statistical anomaly. Mass shootings are rare events, and the long gap between incidents post-1996 may simply reflect a return to a more “normal” state of affairs, similar to the years before 1987.

Life stressors can play an important role in lethal violence. These can include social and economic factors like financial strain, business failure and unemployment. We must think carefully about whether the 1990s recession, for example, may have played a part in the number of shootings around those years.

Conversely, Australia’s long period of recent economic prosperity may have helped reduce the frequency of mass shootings.

Changing who can legally own guns

It has long been illegal for Australians to own any type of firearm unless they hold a gun licence. However, another change Australia made to its gun laws in 1996 concerned licensing practices.

Measures including 28-day waiting periods and mandatory police background checks were uniformly implemented around Australia. Predictors of violent behaviour, such as past violence – including domestic violence – and involvement in other criminal activities, including drug use, became reasons for refusing, or cancelling, gun licences.

Most Australian mass shooters from the 1980s and 1990s would be unlikely to qualify for a firearms licence under the current system. Many offenders had records of domestic or other violence, or criminal behaviour more generally. They would almost certainly fail the “fit and proper person” requirements that people must now meet before they are licensed to access any type of firearm – and which they must uphold to keep a licence.

Is mental illness to blame?

In post-1996 Australia, mental illness is a reason for police refusing, or cancelling, a firearm licence. Although clinically recognised mental illness was uncommon among Australian mass shooters, two offenders had consulted psychologists prior to their crimes and some offenders had shown ongoing “psychological distress”.

This highlights the importance of community awareness of the warning signs of psychological problems, as well as ways to help people in distress. It is vital to de-stigmatise mental illness, encourage help-seeking behaviours and ensure appropriate services are accessible.

Positive changes in mental health awareness and treatment have occurred since the 1990s, which may have contributed to fewer mass shootings. Also, Australian laws now support healthcare professionals reporting to police anyone who may pose a danger to themselves or others.

Together, all of these facts suggest that regulating the types of people who can legally own guns is a more likely explanation for Australia’s low frequency of mass shootings than regulating the types of guns people can legally own. But when Australia’s gun laws are touted as a model for others to follow, proponents typically focus on our gun bans.

Australia’s licensing laws – which are similar to those used in countries like Canada and New Zealand – are rarely discussed. If we are serious about helping countries like the US find ways to reduce gun violence, perhaps it is time to change what we say about Australian mass shootings.

Disclosure statement

Samara McPhedran does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article. Dr McPhedran has been appointed to a number of firearms advisory panels and committees, most recently as a member of the Queensland Ministerial Advisory Panel on Firearms, and as a previous member of the Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council. She does not receive any financial remuneration for these activities. She holds memberships with, and volunteers for, a range of not-for-profit firearm-related organisations and women’s advocacy groups. She is not a member of any political party.


Griffith University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

See the story:



The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes Canada’s firearms heritage, traditional target shooting competition, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor competitions and youth programs that promote these Canadian heritage activities.


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