Canadian border agents tell Americans to leave their guns at home

2:27 PM, January 28, 2013
By Tammy Stables Battaglia
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

Canada has a message for Americans: Don't bring guns across the border.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) made the plea today after border services officers discovered undeclared weapons five times -– four incidents involving Michigan residents -- since Jan. 10, CBSA spokeswoman Jean D’Amelio Swyer said.

“Don’t bring your guns into Canada,” Swyer said emphatically. “Leave your firearms at home. But if by chance they do have a firearm in the car, it is imperative that they declare it.”

Those found with weapons can face fines, jail time or both. The first time border agents find an undeclared weapon, the vehicle involved is held until payment of a fine of $1000 per weapon, Swyer added.

But if those crossing the border tell agents they have a legal gun, the agency will either allow them to return to the U.S. or hold the weapon until they leave Canada, according to Swyer.

In the most recent incident, a Michigan resident was charged with not reporting a firearm and making false statements Wednesday after agents found an undeclared firearm during a second interview at the Ambassador Bridge crossing, according to agency records. The day before, a Michigan man was charged with smuggling and making false statements when border agents found an undeclared, loaded semiautomatic pistol with 15 rounds of ammunition under the driver's seat at the bridge crossing. A woman from the U.S. also was cited at the Ambassador Bridge for making false statements and not reporting a weapon Jan. 20 after an x-ray showed an undeclared, loaded semiautomatic pistol in her luggage. A Michigan resident was cited for smuggling and possession of a firearm Jan. 12 when agents found an undeclared, loaded automatic handgun concealed in a duffel bag in the trunk. And a Michigan resident was cited for smuggling, possession of prohibited goods and making untrue statements Jan. 10 when agents at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel found an undeclared revolver locked in a gun case in the trunk.

“The CBSA takes its border protection responsibilities very seriously, and our officers work diligently and vigilantly to prevent the smuggling of firearms across our borders to help make our communities safe,” said Rick Comerford, Regional Director General of CBSA’s Southern Ontario region.

Anyone with information about suspicious cross-border activity is encouraged to call the CBSA Border Watch confidential tip line at 888-502-9060.