R. v. Nur – Sanity Prevails in The Supreme Court of Canada

“At that far end stands, for example, the licensed and responsible gun owner who stores his unloaded firearm safely with ammunition nearby, but makes a mistake as to where it can be stored. Given the minimal blameworthiness of this offender and the absence of any harm or real risk of harm flowing from the conduct, a three year sentence would be disproportionate. Similar examples can be envisaged. The bottom line is that s. 95(1) foreseeably catches licensing offences that involve little or no moral fault and little or no danger to the public.

It follows that the mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment imposed by s. 95(2) are unconstitutional.”
See R. v. Nur – SCC Cases (Lexum).
Little by little the insanity that was introduced into the Canadian Criminal Code by knee-jerk reactions to outrageous crimes involving firearms is being undone. We’ve had the registry eliminated, and licensing streamlined. Now one of the major provisions, extra punishment for firearms offences far beyond reason, has been shot down. When our Senate did not do its job of giving sober second thought to such legislation this stuff was imposed badly and caused much pain in Canada. Now, in hindsight, our Supremes are finally getting it right. I hope one day they will put the legislation back into Pandora’s Box where it never should have seen the light of day. While the legislation hurt a lot of small businesses and their customers mostly farmers and hunters, target-shooting and collecting firearms are being revived and more firearms-friendly businesses are emerging or re-emerging, despite the legislation and the 1K+ pages of regulations it spawned.

The last few things I see needing fixing in this line are Canadian manufacturing of ammunition and firearms. Under “Free Trade” most such operations were shut down or relocated to USA. Then along came export restrictions from the UN… Now in USA and Canada just about everything from 22 rim-fire ammunition to propellants are in short supply and it is terribly difficult to shop in USA. e.g. Canadians can’t legally buy firearms/ammunition in USA unless they have a licence to hunt in USA… Then there’s paperwork crossing the border from both sides… It would be so much easier to have Canadian products sold by Canadian retailers as in the old days. Along that same line, propellants which used to sell for a few dollars per pound now sell for ~$30, if you can find any. Bullets which used to cost ~10cents now cost 50cents.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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12 Responses to R. v. Nur – Sanity Prevails in The Supreme Court of Canada

  1. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson I really should explain the complete issue. Its something that was learnt from 2001 russia. Bullet that killed a guy at 1 KM was in fact incorrect storage.

    What whay should a ammo box with 404 or smaller go on a shelf. Tip up or Tip down. The answer is tip down. The casing is not aerodynamic so does not have very much range the bullet other hand does have some aerodynamic so could do a decent range. Large shells in a ammo dump are stored tip up because it becomes too hard to store them tip down and allow the casing to go off freely so then you pray that it goes straight up and straight down. The box in the russian case for the achieved range had to be tip up so upside down on the shelf.

    Hatcher test failed to cover a small stock pile of shells with equal triggering points.

    Robert Pogson I agree Hatcher has done a lot of key work. He missed the big key test. Hatcher was not dealing with the case of custom packed/snipper/mixed batches of ammo in small volumes.

    20-40 rounds sitting tightly on a shelf point with the bullet tip up and they happen to go at once you have just fired a gun up kind of. Unpredictability means the bullet could be leaving at angle.

    It might be rimfire but there’s no sign of multiple simultaneous explosions.
    Robert Pogson variation in primers and so on in ammo is design to attempt to avoid simultaneous explosion event and cause the popcorn event in a fire. Custom packeted or sniper rounders(that you find in ammo dumps) may not have this variation. In fact if you mix batches of ammo with each other you might also end up without the intentional variation or a bad batch of ammo might not have the variation either(yes shooters think these bad batches are extremely good because they fire so predictably what is lucky because most shooters use them up quickly).

    Robert Pogson
    That’s why consumer-grade ammunition is shipped with some space between rounds.
    What you say here is important. The spacing is to reduce the effect barrel length if they do trigger all at once. General box is equal to 2 inch barrel. If you have remove the cardboard spacer and stuff that ammo tight up against each other its now equal to a 12 inch barrel or longer. Yes idiot wanting to fit more ammo in storage can remove the spacer because they don’t understand how important it is. Same problem can happen if you leave bullets in speed loaders and clips… because they can be too tightly packed for safe storage.

    Really correct storage for custom packed is not hard for 3o3 bullets 1 inch between shells and if point up 6 inch to the shelve above that has a sandbag.

    Basically there is a lot of science. Most people did not notice that the space between rounds in ammo boxes increased slightly in 2002 batches and later compared to 2001 batches and earlier. Yes some old ammo belts have bullets too close as well.

    Robert Pogson I go agree ammo stored correctly in most cases is no more dangerous than petrol. Incorrectly stored ammo the difference between ammo and a gun can become absolutely nothing.

    Basically Robert Pogson there is very big reasons for there to be education about ammo handling like don’t remove the cardboard spaces don’t leave ammo sitting tightly packed in….

    Ammo kills sometimes just by human miss handling sometimes due to large volume and sometimes due to defective manufacture.

  2. oiaohm wrote, “Russia ammo dump fire of 2001 proved Hatcher’s Notebook wrong”.

    You do realize that “ammo dumps” may contain millions of rounds and if there is a fire all Hell breaks loose, right? Compare that with a guy have 20-40 rounds sitting on a shelf… In a big fire, propellants will detonate because the mass of stuff around them contains the pressure long enough to get a shockwave going. It’s a different situation entirely. Hatcher found you could fire a bullet into a can of smokeless propellant with little chance of detonation but put that into a cubic-metre sized pile and it’s a bomb. He also cooked off single rounds and found nothing broke out of an inverted cardboard box. Again there is danger if one is close but in a fire you are getting out unless suicidal. Firemen hose down fires. They don’t prance around inside. There’s a reason for that. Everything is dangerous in a fire, even wood. Concentrations of gas build up at high temperature, mix with air somehow and detonate. It’s just chemistry. If energy is released faster than it escapes, bad things happen. Propellants are manufactured to be safe under normal circumstances even in a fire. That’s why consumer-grade ammunition is shipped with some space between rounds. Only tiny rimfire stuff is shipped in bulk. Reloaders here can buy containers up to 8lb of propellant and it is safe to keep it in a home or business. No one is likely to be near one in a fire and no one far away from it is likely to be hurt. It’s a little more dangerous than a 20L can of gasoline or a full tank in my car in my garage. Propellant containers and cartridges are designed to open up gracefully on ignition and not to explode.

    Here’s a building fire with about 50 rounds going off about 3 minutes in. It might be rimfire but there’s no sign of multiple simultaneous explosions. It’s just like popcorn. Larger cartridges don’t behave much differently and the heavier projectile and case reduce the velocities of ejecta except for the primers which are too light to harm anyone at much distance. Here’s a video of bulk stuff by SAAMI. It’s hardly more dangerous than gasoline, paint thinner or lacquer. See also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SlOXowwC4c

  3. oiaohm says:

    Russia ammo dump fire of 2001 proved Hatcher’s Notebook wrong Robert. One of the killed was over 1 KM away by a riffle round. A ammo rack with boxes bullets had fallen over and triggered as one big lot. Hatcher’s Notebook is based on the idea the ammo cannot be triggered simultaneously.

    You have to think shape charge. The issue is an ammo box holding bullets. If bullets go off close to same time as what happens with lightning, electricity and sometime fire or impacts. Next is the shelf in the Russia case the boxes were on were in fact very strong so the the blast is already directionally focused. Then the bullets on the outer edges of the box going off put pressure back on the ones in the centre. The effect makes for the bullets in the centre box has equal to a 4 to 12 inch barrel.

    The key is that they go off like popcorn rather than detonating all at once.
    Robert this is only most cases not all cases. While going off like popcorn the danger is fairly minor. Detonating all at once is unfortunately possible. Please note lightning or electricity hitting bullet does not depend on primer to fire the bullet.

    Hatcher’s Notebook did not deal with electrically denotation of bullets. Also did not deal with the case of bullet by bad luck happening to be in a shape charge kind of event.

  4. oiaohm wrote, “Yes fires + ammo do happen. Again quite dangerous”.

    Nope. Ammunition is quite safe in a fire. There could be some danger close by where the primers might be ejected but the whole collection will not discharge in the same instant and the charge is only slightly confined by the cartridge so it’s nothing like the discharge of a firearm. If the fire and a person were close enough to ammunition, the person is already endangered by the fire. Years ago, I read Hatcher’s Notebook which contains information about discharges of ammunition outside a firearm and propellant explosions too. Basically, a one pound container of propellant will cause a fireball a metre or so in radius and apart from the fumes a person much further away is quite safe. A cartridge may contain as little as 1/400th of a pound of powder. Ammunition is routinely shipped by truck here and apart from its flammability, there is little danger. A few cartridges as in a firearm or a box of ammunition a hunter/shooter might own is pretty safe. The key is that they go off like popcorn rather than detonating all at once. Modern propellants don’t detonate in small quantities. Even in a firearm, the process takes ~1millisecond or so, nothing like an explosion which can be over in microseconds. Primers do explode but one at a time in a box or container are harmless except possibly damaging hearing or soft tissue of someone close by. Certainly no one outside a room/building where a few round of ammunition are involved in a fire is in any danger except from the fire.

  5. oiaohm says:

    dougman
    Ummm..fault lines do not move by themselves, they move due to plate-tectonics.
    Earth quakes on fault lines re the result of rapid release of stored Potential energy. Ammo due to explosive has chemically stored Potential energy.

    Please note list of Earth quake triggers is long and can have very little todo with the plate-tectonics that loaded the Potential energy state.

    http://www.gunsandammo.com/blogs/defend-thyself/man-drops-dumbbell-shoots-self/

    Dougman case like above do happen. Of course both of theses cases is dumb humans hitting bullets with something but it does not have to be a human. Any heavy weight will do like a big block of ice falling from great height and just finding your ammo store.

    http://www.pressherald.com/2014/08/07/fire-sets-off-rounds-of-ammo-in-car-after-i-95-crash-in-maine/
    Yes fires + ammo do happen. Again quite dangerous.

    Yes and some people so they don’t need to by primers have been messing around with this stuff
    http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/gun-cartridge-fuse-minimyth/

    This is 12 volt but this equally applies to 240/110 and lightning.

    Note Lightning has set off Russia ammo dump in 2001 Manila police 2005 a ammo dump in Iraq 2008. Yes about every 3 to 5 years lightning finds an ammo dump somewhere. Each of these caused deaths. Note this become chain reaction. Because the bullets hit by the Lightning in ammo dump cases are normally not the ones that kill the people. Yes Lightning hits X ammo that happens to fire hitting other ammo causing a chain reaction of growing disaster.

    Larger the stock pile of ammo the higher the odds someone will be killed by it if some natural event triggers it.

    dougman exploding ammo dump acts a lot like a fault line setting off a earth quake.

    inanimate I meant but I typed intimate. But the issue still stands the stack of Potential that is in ammo can kill humans. Ammo does not require a human to aim and fire the ammo to kill people. Ammo in enough volume and with enough targets by random chance it will kill someone. Ammo has a long history of killing people without humans being their pulling the trigger.

    people kill people, inanimate objects do not act by themselves.

    People and Natural events kills people with firearms and ammo. Just people are more likely to be the trigger event. Firearms without ammo are fairly safe in the hands of People or Nature. Ammo is never really safe Nature can always drop a curve ball on the ammo resulting in the Ammo potential energy being released at the worst possible time.

    The idea that people using guns are the only hazard is faulty. No matter how well you plan ammo storage you cannot allow for everything nature might throw up.

    Really bad question is how resistant is your ammo to EMP particularly the worse solar flares that have ever happened. Life could get really interesting if it turns out normal bullets are not major solar flare resistant. Guns did not exist back in the time of when we can work out that the sun threw off its worse flares.

  6. dougman says:

    “You miss understand ammo.”

    “Ammo is not a rock.”

    “Ammo is pent up potent-ional so is not a intimate object as most people would think. Pent up potent-ional does mean Ammo does have the means to act by itself in the same way a fault line in the earth has the means to move by itself rapidly.”

    I misunderstand? LOl…I use to reload sometime ago and did I ever state it was a rock?

    The thought of intimate objects, such as ammo is thought-provoking to say to least. I feel so close to my ..45 these days….mmmmmm honey.

    Ummm..fault lines do not move by themselves, they move due to plate-tectonics. Take a course on geology or do some reading on the subject.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1wdrzzQOqY

  7. oiaohm says:

    dougman
    Re: guns don’t kill the ammo does. Correction…people kill people, inanimate objects do not act by themselves.
    You miss understand ammo. Ammo is not a rock. Ammo is pent up potent-ional so is not a intimate object as most people would think. Pent up potent-ional does mean Ammo does have the means to act by itself in the same way a fault line in the earth has the means to move by itself rapidly.

    Does a bullet need a hit by a firing pin to fire the answer is no. Ways a bullet can fire.
    1) Bake to 160C+ as what can happen in cars in Australia or house fire…..then the Ammo can fire all by its self
    2) Next electrical voltage travelling through the bullet can cause it to fire. This can be lightning or general 110V/240V/12V….. Again human does not need to be involved could be tree bring down power line into house and right on top of ammo.
    3) Impact. Yes Impact this can be fire pin hitting blast cap area(fairly lightly) or large enough impact on tip of bullet(yes hit the other end of bullet to the blasting cap and the bullet can fire) or a shock wave.
    4) Defective/Tainted resulting in the charge being unstable to exploding of its own free will. Tainted can be the after effect of ammo that has been flooded past acceptable depth again mother nature at work.

    Ammo kills people question is was it with Human assistance or some force of nature that just happened to-do the wrong things to the Ammo causing it to be explosive all by itself.

    Ammo need to be respected in the same way a cable under massive tension needs to be respected.

    The idea around firearms that only humans with firearms kill causes very critical ammo handling policies to be over looked. Odds of the human firing the ammo is high than mother nature causing the ammo to fire true but there are still a lot of hurt people every year due to mother nature caused explosions of ammo.

    Not all these mother nature ones can be avoided like being struck by lightning while holding gun with some ammo it might not be the lightning that kills you. but the damage done to you by the exploding ammo. Yes Ammo can be the cause of your death from just being in the wrong place at the wrong time and if you did not have the ammo at that time you would have lived.

    There are very good reasons not to be walking around with guns when you don’t truly need them. Yes a lot of ways a sword or batons s better. Why sword and batons are inanimate objects in the true sense as they don’t have any pent up potent-ional. Yes even unloaded crossbow with bolts is safer than a gun. Yes crossbow bolts by themselves have no pent up potent-ional.

    Anything with pent up potent-ional needs to be respected.

  8. dougman says:

    Re: guns don’t kill the ammo does. Correction…people kill people, inanimate objects do not act by themselves.

  9. oiaohm wrote, “3 years jail term for incorrect storage was a little over the top.”

    In Canada, the Criminal Code does not even define safe storage properly yet improper storage can net huge jail-time. It’s just silly. e.g. In the Arctic there are nomadic hunters who might go months without being in a dwelling. Yet they do sleep and by law must store their firearms safely. Fortunately the firearms police tend not to venture too far from town. I can tell you from experience that in places like that the safest condition of a firearm is ready to use when a bear jumps up. There bears are not as seen in Disneyland. They hunt people, dogs, gophers, caribou, fish, seals,… Anything that moves is food. See North Pole Marathon. They are just a few km out of town and guarding the route against bears.

    Some variations on storage are allowed here. Many people trust trigger-locks but on many firearms they do not prevent discharge. Some bolt-action rifles, for instance, cock on opening and some on closing the bolt. If there is a round in the chamber, a rifle that cocks on closing may be only partially cocked and the firing pin held back by means other than the trigger. Releasing the firing pin may fire the rifle even though the trigger doesn’t move. Most trigger-locks I have seen can be removed without a key by cutting. Same goes for most storage mechanisms except for a safe. A determined individual can defeat them so there’s very little safety in all the regulation supposedly imposed to educate the public. Safes are not mandatory… Direct education is much more effective than legislation IMHO. We don’t teach maths by awarding jail-time to youngsters who fail to learn it. We shouldn’t teach firearms safety that way. It doesn’t work. In Canada, regulations have amounted to 1K+ pages and no one knows it all. They made it so complex just to make it painful to own firearms. Gradually, the entire system is being degraded just to make it practical. At the present rate of change in 10-15 years we might actually have reasonably useful regulation/legislation. Since ~1995, the law has been totally disrespected by a huge fraction of firearms owners. Few saw the rules as fair/reasonable/achievable and millions were turned into criminals awaiting prosecution. Businesses were shut down for lack of custom because firearms owners needed to stay under the radar. Law is useless without the consent of the governed.

  10. oiaohm says:

    To be true guns don’t kill the ammo does. A gun without ammo is fairly much a paper weight.

    Plenty of States in the USA are allowing constitutional carry. Open carry is legal in a majority of States, concealed was licensable for awhile but even that is being done away with now.
    https://www.police.sa.gov.au/services-and-events/firearms-and-weapons/weapons

    dougman come to Australia you cannot even open carry knife or sling shot. Interesting enough you can open carry a bow as long as you have no arrows or arrows and no bow.

    Weapons in public areas in Australia is licensed. Hunting grounds and private property the owner grant permission to you so you can carry.

    Yes ceramic kitten knifes legal while still wrapped in shop but if you have to return one you have to be very careful how. Locked boxes/sactuals do become important.

    whole or part of a knife that cannot be detected by a metal detector or x-ray.
    Yes this clause in Australia law is just horible. Yes plastic handle knifes also fail. Highly stupid is you cheep plastic party knifes fail can fail well. Yes legal while in the food court but technically illegal if you take it outside the food court in a shopping centre without correct packaging(yes lockable that is locked/sealed storage). Yes you should padlock your picket set but no police officer bothers enforcing all this all the time.

    Yet going in public with a full steel long sword is legal mind you the laws here still allow you to be arrested what for disturbing the peace if people are worrying about the weapon you are carrying does not matter if it legal or not.

    Australia Weapon in Public not in a locked storage device without a License/Permit equals trouble and it really does not matter what the weapon is.

    Please note a bullet proof vest is officially a weapon in Australia and does not matter how poor yes Chinese paper armour can get you arrested because is a very light bullet proof armour to musket ball guns(yes any modern gun is going to shot straight through it).

    Most you hear people complain about weapon regulation but mostly they have no clue how bad or strict it can be.

    Canadian regulation was written like crap. Australian regulation was written properly and down right covers every case. Australian firearm control is kinda the wrong name. It really should have the tittle weapon control.

    I do agree that 3 years jail term for incorrect storage was a little over the top. Australia a 5 year ban from owning firearms would have been the worst out come. Please note the word owning. That does not include using. So for 5 years having to store at neighbours place or police station or armorer. Yes due to this being a main pain in ass you never store incorrectly again.

    Please note before Australian firearm laws carrying a firearm in public is like me carrying a long sword now that you could be picked up for disturbing the peace unless you have a permit/reason. So firearms in crime over all has not been that high in Australia.

  11. dougman says:

    Plenty of States in the USA are allowing constitutional carry. Open carry is legal in a majority of States, concealed was licensable for awhile but even that is being done away with now.

    “The phrase “constitutional carry” reflects the view that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution permits no restrictions or other regulations on gun ownership, District of Columbia v. Heller, decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2008″

  12. DrLoser says:

    Sounds good, Robert.
    When does Hunting Season on Sheeple begin in Manitoba?

    These verminous slaves need a good culling, I tell you.

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