John Hipwell is bringing a Judicial Review against the federal government’s recent Order in Council (OIC) that makes a class of guns used by licensed gun owners for competitive shooting now illegal in Canada.
The OIC came May 1, while parliament was suspended under COVID-19 health protocol, and was approved by cabinet members.
Hipwell, now retired from management of the family owned Virden business, Wolverine Supplies, says the OIC is neither democratic nor is it going to provide safety from gun violence for Canadians because it removes legally registered (until May 1) and legally owned guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens.
He says it does nothing to prevent criminals from using guns and that the Canadian public is not being protected by this OIC.
Had the law been in place before the NS shooting, he said it would not have prevented it because three of the four weapons used to murder 22 people were smuggled guns.
“They don’t stand to gain any improvements in public safety, security. The law enforcement community have no assistance to clamp down hard on the criminal use of firearms.”
Matt Hipwell, a former RCMP officer and manager of Wolverine Supplies said, “This OIC does not give RCMP in Virden one bit of assistance in solving a firearm related crime.”
An example of the banned firearm is the AR-15.
Not licensed for hunting, it was used competitively, target shooting at 300 to 600 metres. Hipwell said, “It’s the number one choice for competitors, for target shooting.”
Ownership, storage, transport and the ranges where an AR-15 could be fired were already well-defined said Hipwell.
His court document charges that the OIC infringes upon the Bill of Human Rights.
The grounds for the application are cited as ultra vires (vague); the opinion that the affected firearms are not reasonable for use in Canada for hunting or sporting purposes is unreasonable, arbitrary and unsupported by the evidence.
The application states there are no emergency circumstances to justify the criminalization of firearms owners who obtained these previously non-restricted and restricted firearms (listed in the OIC) and there was no public safety concern by their individual possession.
Hipwell is looking for financial support to bring this review to a Toronto court and to that end a Go Fund Me page has been started, organized by Ty Lobreau. https://ca.gofundme.com/f/judicial-oic-challenge-john-hipwell-amp-ed-burlew
The page began May 25 with a goal to raise a war chest of $100,000. Within the first week nearly $40,000 had been raised, many donations coming in $20 and $50 amounts, along with messages decrying the use of the OIC as an undemocratic grab.
MP for Brandon-Souris Larry Maguire held a virtual town hall following the announced ban.
In an interview this week Maguire stated, “The Liberal’s used an Order in Council, to reclassify over 1500 firearms as prohibited. They did this through a cabinet decision rather than by introducing legislation in Parliament. They purposely did this so there was no vote or debate in Parliament… so no opposition Member of Parliament would be given a chance to stand up and oppose them.”
“I can guarantee that if you asked, the Prime Minister could not provide the technical justification of why they are prohibiting certain firearms,” said Maguire. “Posting pictures of firearm’s made with black polymer doesn’t qualify as justification.”
The Hipwell’s Wolverine Supplies business sells guns across Canada.
The class of weapons included in the ban represents about 25 per cent of Wolverine’s business.
On behalf of Wolverine Supplies, Matt Hipwell is a witness in another challenge to the OIC, raised by the Canadian Coalition of Firearm Rights, one of Canada’s largest firearms advocacy groups representing the firearms industry.