From the Toronto Star: Taking a shot at online gun sales Mississauga hobbyist sees large local market for trading in firearms on his new website
Posted by cgccanada on September 1, 2009
Aug 31, 2009 04:30 AM
It’s like an eBay for guns.
When Dennis Hingsberg’s website, GunAddicts.com, launches tomorrow, firearm lovers from across Canada will be able to buy and auction off guns to their fellow enthusiasts. “It might touch the sensitivities of some people, but they don’t realize how popular guns are in this country,” said Hingsberg.
Despite not receiving his gun licence until last winter, the Mississauga resident already has a substantial collection of handguns and rifles. How many exactly? “Let’s just say more than 12. Well over 12,” the 36-year-old said. “Only one of those I bought at a store. The rest were all online.” Hingsberg conceived of the website after struggling to find a place to buy firearms on the Internet. While there is a slew of forums and bulletins where collectors and sport shooters peddle their guns, there is no central gun classifieds.
For its part, eBay.ca prohibits the listing of any firearms or gun parts. In fact, the company has restrictions on the sale of seemingly mundane gun accessories such as butt plates, cases, holsters and cleaning supplies. “There’s a big demand for it, and people don’t have a main place to go,” Hingsberg said.
According to the Canadian Firearm Program’s numbers for 2009, nearly a million Canadians have a possession and acquisition licence (PAL), which is needed to sell or receive a firearm. And those people have more than 7.3 million registered firearms. Any exchanges on GunAddicts will follow federal gun rules, Hingsberg said. The buyer sends his PAL number to the seller, who verifies with the RCMP that the licence is valid. If there are no problems, the seller ships the firearm.
If someone tries to circumvent the laws – say, buy or sell a gun without a PAL – the site has “full right to disclose personal information to the necessary authorities,” Hings- berg said. But firearm sellers say they’re doubtful the site would be co-opted for illegal sales. “I’ve never come across someone using a bogus PAL to get a firearm,” said John Hipwell, co-owner of Manitoba-based gun seller Wolverine Supplies. “It’s easier to buy them in the States and smuggle them in.” While there are no direct complaints about GunAddicts, the president of the Canadian Police Association called the site’s name “concerning.” “That leaves the average person with a certain mindset. I would assume many Canadians think this is for gun nuts,” Charles Momy said.
He said he is also displeased that the site is raffling a CZ 858 tactical rifle as a promotional giveaway. The Czech-made semi-automatic weapon resembles the Russian AK-47 assault rifle, a model that is banned in Canada. The rifle, which retails for about $650, has a specifically designed long barrel, making it legal for anyone who has a PAL. While its internal parts are different than the AK-47, which is capable of automatic fire, it’s “not something your average hunter is going to use to shoot deer,” Momy said. “There’s no good reason to have (a tactical rifle) in Canada . … That’s what is disturbing about it.”
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