Firearms a frequent find at border crossings

The Canada Border Services Agency is averaging close to a dozen firearms seizures a month in the Pacific Region, including the Osoyoos border crossing.

Between Jan. 1 and July 18 the CBSA seized 75 personal firearms belonging to travellers arriving from the United States who neglected to declare them. The CBSA said frequently those firearms are hidden.

Anyone who does not declare their firearms upon arrival can face prosecution, and the firearms and the vehicle used to carry them may be seized.

On July 12 CBSA officers at the Osoyoos Port of Entry said they discovered and seized a loaded nine-millimetre handgun from Max Montgomery, a U.S. resident. Officers said they also discovered two magazines capable of containing more than 10 cartridges.

Montgomery has been charged by CBSA’s criminal investigations division with various offences, including smuggling under the Customs Act and for firearms offences under the Criminal Code. Montgomery was released on $10,000 bail on July 14.

In May a U.S. woman was sentenced at Penticton courthouse for attempting to cross the Osoyoos border with a loaded gun in her pocket. Catherin Young pled guilty for unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition and one charge under the Canadian Customs Act.

The court heard Young was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her husband and had declared a unloaded shotgun in their car. It was upon a secondary search from border guards that they found Young had a loaded .22 mini-magnum handgun in her pocket. Border guards found the shotgun to be loaded and a high-capacity gun magazine prohibited in Canada was also found in the vehicle. The couple was from Alaska, where defence council said they did not need a permit to carry the weapon.

Young received three days in jail, and upon her release was turned over to the CBSA.

The CBSA said before bringing firearms into Canada travellers should be aware that they must declare all their firearms in writing by filling out a non-resident firearm declaration form and paying a $25 fee. Once confirmed by a border services officer, it has the same effect as a temporary license and registration and is valid for up to 60 days. Visitors may temporarily import non-restricted firearms, such as common hunting rifles and shotguns if they complete the declaration and have a valid purpose such as hunting or target shooting.


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