What’s a va­ca­tion without a gun?

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Six Amer­i­cans have been charged with bring­ing hand­guns across the New Brunswick bor­der so far this sum­mer, as a Cana­dian pros­e­cu­tor says it’s prov­ing dif­fi­cult to let oth­er­wise law-abid­ing peo­ple know they can’t bring firearms on va­ca­tion.

“The of­fences con­tinue to oc­cur with alarm­ing fre­quency dur­ing the sum­mer months,” fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor Peter Thorn said from Hamp­ton, N.B.

Five men — three from Florida, two from New Eng­land — pleaded guilty and were fined be­tween $1,500 and $2,000, he said.

Thorn, who has pros­e­cuted these cases for years, said most of the peo­ple caught are “re­spect­ful and law-abid­ing ci­ti­zens of the U.S.A.” who are un­aware hand­guns are ei­ther re­stricted or pro­hib­ited in Canada.

He said many don’t re­al­ize they can legally de­clare firearms and leave them be­hind as they en­ter the coun­try. Many of the tourists are 60 and older, and from the South.

The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment has is­sued travel ad­vi­sories, and there is sig­nage at the bor­der, but some Amer­i­cans keep bring­ing their guns and ly­ing about it, he said.

In May, a 69-year-old New Hamp­shire man ad­mit­ted he had a .357 Mag­num in his glove com­part­ment as bor­der guards in­spected his SUV. He was fined $1,500.

On June 9, a 66-year-old Tav­ernier, Fla., man de­nied hav­ing a gun in his mo­tor home — un­til bor­der of­fi­cers found a Smith & Wes­son 9 mm in a locked safe. He was fined $1,500.

On June 23, a Hamp­ton, Fla., man ar­rived with two un­de­clared guns, in­clud­ing a pro­hib­ited .25 cal­i­bre Raven Arms hand­gun. He was fined $2,000.

On July 11, there were two cases within hours.

A 59-year-old New Hamp­shire man head­ing for Roo­sevelt Cam­po­bello In­ter­na­tional Park de­nied hav­ing guns while en­ter­ing Cam­po­bello, N.B., from Lubec, Maine, and was tar­geted for a search.

He told of­fi­cers he wanted to re­turn to the U.S. but it was too late. Of­fi­cers found a .38 in a stor­age case in his mo­tor home, as well as un­de­clared al­co­hol and two grams of sus­pected mar­i­juana. He was fined $2,000.

That same day, a hand­gun was seized from a 64-year-old Jack­sonville, Fla., cou­ple at St. Stephen. It was found, un­de­clared, in the wo­man’s suit­case, where her hus­band had hid it without telling her, Thorn said.

“(The wo­man) stated that she specif­i­cally told her hus­band not to bring his hand­gun into Canada,” said Thorn.

The man pleaded guilty, telling Judge An­drew LeMesurier of the New Brunswick provin­cial court they were com­ing to Canada to es­cape the heat. The judge joked the “heat” found him — and that he should know by now to lis­ten to his wife. The Jack­sonville man was fined $2,000.

The Cana­dian Bor­der Ser­vices Agency said such seizures are com­mon.

In 2015, the agency seized seven guns in St. Stephen, up from five the pre­vi­ous year, it said. Na­tion­ally, it seized 671 firearms in 2015, 313 of which were pro­hib­ited in Canada.

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