Skip to comments.Natives Given Free Bullets
Posted on 12/03/2002 4:40:17 AM PST by Loyalist
Natives given free bullets Gun licences not required: Disproportionately high number of aboriginals involved in homicides
OTTAWA - The federal government is handing out free ammunition on First Nation reserves even though the aboriginal rate of involvement in homicide is seven times higher than the national average, documents show.
Indian Affairs records show the department distributed more than 4,000 rounds of rifle and shotgun ammunition to four First Nation reserves in northern British Columbia and Alberta this year and more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition the previous year to bands in Manitoba.
Under Firearms Act exemptions that reflect treaty obligations and native rights, the First Nation members who get the ammunition do not require licences otherwise needed to obtain ammunition or firearms in Canada, federal officials say.
The government is required to furnish the aboriginal bands with hunting ammunition and twine or fishing nets annually under several treaties signed by representatives of the British Crown in the past century. The First Nations may also ask for cash payments instead of the ammunition or other equipment, say documents obtained by Canadian Alliance MP Garry Breitkreuz.
While most bands have chosen cash in lieu of ammunition and twine or nets, the Saulteau, Fort Nelson, Prophet River and Doig River bands in the region of Fort St. John this year chose ammunition. Several bands in Manitoba also received ammunition. At least one band in Saskatchewan has requested ammunition as its treaty allotment this year, a federal official said.
The ammunition consists primarily of such high-calibre shells as .308, .303 and .3030, which are used for hunting such game animals as deer and moose, and .12-gauge shotgun shells for hunting fowl. The department also distributed large quantities of smaller-calibre .22 shells.
The documents show band officials can hand out the ammunition to members who do not have firearms licences required elsewhere for the purchase of firearms and ammunition. The exemption applies only to aboriginals receiving ammunition in fulfilment of treaty obligations.
Mr. Breitkreuz has challenged the government to explain the distribution of so much ammunition to First Nation bands without enforcing a Firearms Act requirement that anyone buying ammunition must also hold a valid firearms ownership licence or firearms ownership and acquisition licence.
The Alliance MP, whose officials released documents yesterday pointing to an alarming rate of homicide involvement among aboriginals, said he expects Auditor-General Sheila Fraser to reveal dramatic evidence today that the firearms registration and licensing system is hopelessly over budget.
Mr. Breitkreuz said he has calculated the program has cost taxpayers $800-million since the Liberal government began work on it in 1995, with the bulk of the money spent over the past four years. A Treasury Board official recently told a Senate committee the bill is expected to total $1- billion by 2005.
Mr. Breitkreuz's office released figures obtained from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics that show the number of homicides involving firearms has remained steady at about one-third of all homicides.
The statistics show that while aboriginals account for only 3% of the country's population, or about one million people, they comprised at least 25% of all persons accused of committing homicide in 2001. The figure does not include incidents where police services did not collect or report information on aboriginal status, so the actual percentage of homicide involvement by aboriginals may be higher.
© Copyright 2002 National Post
I never understood why Indians claimed special rights or got special privileges over the general population in hunting with firearms. Why can't they adhere to tradition and hunt with bows and arrows?
Also leads one to believe that excessive firewater consumption is leading to poor marksmanship, requiring excessive amounts of ammunition. Suggest Canadian Government (pardon Oxymoron) limit aboriginals to muzzle-loading black powder Hudson Bay firesticks in vogue when treaties were signed, and powder and ball enough to kill one moose. Come back with hide, paleface give more.
Also paleface Canadians MUST enforce law in regard to aboriginals and firewater. Well documented genetic condition prevents many aboriginals from metabolizing alcohol. May cause them to lose reservation about comitting murder.
Drives'em crazy. Like Canadian government.
I told him "I was BORN here!"
The evil.fed.gov is racist...
<grin> Pointy end first, right?