25 Oct 2014

Ottawa Shooter Could Not Legally Own a Gun

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The Montreal Gazette observes that there is no possible way that Michael Zehaf Bibeau could have legally purchased or owned a firearm in Canada.

A leading firearms expert and criminal defence lawyer says he would have been “shocked beyond words” to learn that Ottawa shooting suspect Michael Zehaf Bibeau had obtained his gun legally in Canada.

Solomon Friedman, who was locked in his downtown office for much of the day Wednesday as Ottawa police attempted to secure Parliament Hill and the surrounding buildings, says several layers of safeguards are in place to ensure that a person like Zehaf Bibeau does not have legal access to firearms. The former Quebecer, who shot and killed a reservist guarding the National War Memorial before moving up to Parliament’s Centre Block and opening fire, had a criminal record that included convictions for drug possession, uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

“Anytime you’re convicted of any type of serious criminal offence — anything dealing with drugs or violence — the judge has an opportunity to impose a firearms prohibition on you,” Friedman explained. “They exercise that regularly.”

RCMP confirmed late Thursday that Zehaf Bibeau had indeed been banned from owning a gun.

“Even if you don’t get a weapons prohibition, you still need to fill out a licence application (in order to purchase a gun) where there’s a rigorous background check. I can tell you from personal experience that individuals with records like that simply get denied,” Friedman said. “I would be shocked beyond words if this individual had a firearms licence.”

In addition to his criminal record, Zehaf Bibeau had recently had his passport revoked by the federal government. Friedman said that based on a grainy photo of the 32-year-old that began circulating on Wednesday evening, the weapon in his hands was probably a lever-action 30-30 hunting rifle. RCMP have also confirmed that theory.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to the Gun Feed.


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