Man who registered his soldering gun will not be charged
OAK LAKE, Man. (CP) -- The Manitoba man who successfully registered his soldering gun as a firearm to protest new federal gun laws will not be charged by police.
The RCMP confirmed Saturday that Brian Buckley is off the hook as far as they're concerned.
Buckley said a Mountie staff sergeant delivered the news.
"He said no public good could come out of charging me," Buckley said. "He said he wasn't going to give in to political pressure and that he was doing what he thought was right."
Last Christmas, Buckley, who opposes the new gun laws requiring all firearms to be registered by 2003, mailed his registration form back to the government with information from his soldering and heat guns on it.
The "guns" were registered in the national database and Buckley received certificates with Black & Decker and Weller listed as the makers and soldering gun and heat gun listed as the type.
Under the Criminal Code, he could have gone to jail for up to five years for providing false information to obtain a firearm registration certificate.
David Austin, a spokesman for the federal Canadian Firearms Centre, said the decision whether charge Buckley was up to the RCMP and the centre is not concerned about any precedent the outcome might set.
"It's a police matter and the police have to do the investigating. It is up to the police and the Crown whether to lay charges," Austin said. "I think that most people were surprised by Mr. Buckley's actions and disgusted at the waste of taxpayer's dollars.
"It's not necessarily typical of the average firearms owner."
Sgt. Steve Saunders of the RCMP said that the decision not to charge Buckley boiled down to a matter of discretion and intent.
"In most criminal cases we have the latitude of using discretion and in this particular case the discretion was exercised," Saunders said. "We felt the intent was lacking."
Buckley's reaction to the news was mixed.
He said he was happy he does not have to put his family through any legal proceedings, but was upset he did not get his day in court to protest gun laws he calls "stupid."
He said he had a lawyer lined up who was willing to take his case for free and was ready to fight any charges to the bitter end.
"It would have put more pressure on the firearms centre if they had charged me and they wouldn't get off the hook as easy as they are now," Buckley said. "I would have dragged it out and made them look as bad as I could."