Tag Archives: justice

Body Armour Control Act: Revisited


I first wrote about BC’s Body Armour Control Act on October 24, 2009.  At that time, I had little understanding of how quickly bills can move through provincial legislatures.  Even by provincial standards, this bill was pushed through with lightning speed, leaving practically no time for public input.  By the time I wrote my blog entry, it had already passed 2nd Reading.  Two days later, on October 26, 2009, the bill went through Committee, Report, Amendment and passed 3rd Reading – all in a single day!  On October 29, 2009 the bill received Royal Assent. 

First Reading October 20, 2009
Second Reading October 22, 2009
Committee October 26, 2009
Report October 26, 2009
Amended October 26, 2009
Third Reading October 26, 2009
Royal Assent October 29, 2009
Source: http://qp.gov.bc.ca/39th1st/votes/progress-of-bills.htm

What is it?

A brief backgrounder for those who don’t know, this Act was introduced in an effort to curb gang violence in BC, particularly Vancouver.  The idea is that by restricting access to body armour, it will reduce a criminal’s “sense of security” making them less likely to engage in shootouts in our communities. 

Though there are many faults with this legislation, the biggest one is the complete lack of logic involved.  Criminals will always have have access to body armour, and they’re highly unlikely to acquire a permit or register it with police.  In effect, the only thing this bill does, is give the Solicitor General 15 minutes of fame, and take away the ability of the public to possess a passive safety device.

For more details, see my previous blog post.

What’s the status now?

From February 25 – March 12, 2010 the Public Safety and Solicitor General’s office has opened the floor to “Interested Stakeholders” to give input into the regulations that will bring this act into force.  Here is the Proposed Framework on which they would like your feedback:

Proposed Framework

  • Types of Body Armour to be Included

It is envisioned that Body Armour Control Act (BACA) Regulations and policy will apply to body armour that is ballistic, stab and/or puncture resistant. This will include trauma plates, inserts and other devices that can be added to the vests over a localized area to increase the wearer’s protection against blunt trauma injuries or projectiles fired from a firearm.

This may include, but not be limited to garments and items which meet the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Standard 0101.06 – Standards for Ballistic resistance of Personal Body Armour, types II,IIA, III, IIIA or IV or National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Standard 0115.00 – Stab Resistance of Personal Body Armour, levels 1, 2 or 3.

  • Body Armour Permit Requirements

Unless exempt under the BACA or Regulations from the requirement to obtain a body armour permit, individuals wanting to possess body armour will be required to make an application to the Registrar of Security Services for a Body Armour Permit. This may include those wanting to possess body armour due to non-violent threats to personal safety related to a sport, hobby or occupation (e.g., sport shooting club members) or individuals with threats to their personal safety of an ongoing nature.

Permit applicants will be required to provide personal information – including name, date of birth and contact information – and will be required to prove a reasonable need for the possession of body armour. In addition, applicants will have to undergo a criminal record check and pay a permit fee (fee estimates at this time are $90 for 5-year term and $45 for renewal).

Once a risk assessment is performed on the applicant, a permit will be issued to the individual allowing them to purchase, wear or possess body armour. A permit holder must carry the permit when in possession of body armour and produce it upon request by a peace officer or inspector.

  • Body Armour Permit Exemptions

There are a number of legitimate uses of body armour where it is required for protection in the course of one’s employment or job-related duties. Among those that will be exempt from the requirement to obtain a body armour permit are individuals employed by police and other enforcement agencies, armoured car guards, security guards, security consultants and private investigators. Proof of exemption will be required to be carried by these individuals when purchasing body armour or when in possession of body armour and will be linked to their security worker license, badge number, employee identification or verification document as applicable.

Exemptions to requiring a permit will also be considered for those individuals who do not reside in British Columbia but require body armour during their stay (i.e., diplomats) and/or individuals with imminent threats to their personal safety.

An individual in an exempt category must carry proof of exemption and produce it upon request by a peace officer or inspector when in possession of body armour.

  • Body Armour Business and Sales Persons Licensing Requirements

Businesses that sell body armour and their employees play an important role in ensuring that purchasers of body armour are authorized to do so. Businesses that sell body armour in British Columbia will be required to obtain a security business license under the Security Services Act to sell body armour, and employees of the business selling the body armour must obtain a security worker licence with licence type Body Armour Sales. Body Armour vendors will also be required to record information about body armour sales to show that sales are made only to people who are authorized to possess body armour.

What can I do?

Use the feedback form provided by the PSSG or send an e-mail to Sylvia.Montagnaro@gov.bc.ca

Let your lawmakers know that it is completely unacceptable for them to push through legislation without public input.  Tell them that this Act is an abomination that infringes on your charter rights.  It is a useless piece of legislation that will do nothing to improve public safety, it will reduce public respect for police officers who must enforce it, and it is nothing more than a blatant tax grab.  Let them know that the voters will hold them accountable.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS:  MARCH 12, 2010

Possessing a firearm contrary to a prohibition order


That’s a phrase you see a lot of these days.  In almost every news story involving the arrest of a suspect, the list of charges will include possessing a firearm contrary to a prohibition order.

That one charge should be proof enough to anyone with a grain of common sense to see that A) gun control does not work, and B) our justice system is badly broken.

You see in order for a person to have this charge leveled against them, they must be a repeat offender.  Prohibition from possessing a firearm is usually a condition of their parole.  For me this raises two very obvious questions:

  1. Why is this person still on the street committing crimes?
  2. What is the point of our gun control laws if criminals are still getting guns?

Justice

The answer to the first question is our incomprehensibly soft justice system.  For some reason, in this country, judges seem to be afraid to hand down meaningful sentences.  Even if someone commits a crime heinous enough to result a life sentence, thanks to our parole, credit for time served, and two-for-one credit systems, that criminal could be back on the streets in as little as 7 years.  7 years of actual jail time for a life sentence!  I don’t know about you, but that royally pisses me off.

We need a leader who recognizes that our “hug-a-thug” policy doesn’t work.  Decades of liberal bleeding heart programs have now ensured that the criminal has more rights than their victims.  How many times have you heard these lines?

  • “Johnny is such a good boy.  Sure he did a lot of drugs and hung around with a bad crowd, but my Johnny’s not like them.” 
  • “We shouldn’t be too hard on Susie, she was trying to turn her life around. Beating that old lady half to death for her purse was just an innocent mistake.”
  • “But poor Tony was abused as a child.  It’s no wonder he turned to a life of crime.  It’s not his fault.”

Thanks to decades of liberal “soft-on-crime” strategies, personal responsibility is now considered a bad word.  Well, I say enough is enough!  You commit a crime, you do some serious time.  No more early parole.  Two-for-one and three-for-one credit is gone.  Bring back mandatory minimum sentences and consecutive sentences.

I can hear the cries now, “But criminals have rights too!”  No.  Criminals had rights.  They gave up those rights the second they chose to victimize another human being.

Gun Control

I understand the reasoning employed by the gun control crowd.  They see guns used in crimes, so they think that limiting access to the gun will reduce the crime.  The problem with that line of thinking is that it fails to address a couple of issues. 

First, a firearm is only a tool.  It does not have any magical powers.  It is not evil.  It will not “possess” its owner and force good people to do evil things.  A gun can’t point itself at a person and pull its own trigger.   A gun is only as dangerous as the person who wields it. 

And that brings me to my second point.  A bad person will not give up a life of crime simply because a particular tool isn’t available.  A carpenter isn’t going to stop working just because he can’t buy a power saw.  He’ll just use a hand saw instead.  It might take him a little longer, it might be more work, but the job will still get done.  A person killed or injured with a knife, a stone or fists is no less dead or injured than if their attacker had used a gun.

Let’s go back to the title of this post: possessing a firearm contrary to a prohibition order.  The Firearms Act is a piece of paper.  The long gun registry is several hundreds of millions of pieces of paper and a flawed computer database.  A prohibition order is yet another piece of paper.  Does anyone honestly think that the gangbanger with the illegal gun down his pants really cares about any of those pieces of paper?  Or how about the crystal meth junkie breaking into cars and houses to pay for his next hit?  Or that kid who stole a rifle out of an Ontario police officer’s car?  Do you think that any of them gave even half a second of thought to any of those pieces of paper while they were committing their crimes?

Pieces of paper do not deter crime.  Consequences and prevention do.  The long gun registry and enforcement of the Firearms Act cost billions of dollars of taxpayer money.  What have all those bits of paper and that massive expenditure actually accomplished?  Crime rates haven’t changed.  Criminals are still using guns.  What has our soft justice system and all of those pieces of paper actually done?

They’ve given criminals the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their victim will be unarmed, and even if they are caught they won’t be punished for their crime.