Canadian border workers telling Americans to leave weapons at home

CTV Atlantic

Published Tuesday, July 18, 2017 10:13PM ADT

Last Updated Tuesday, July 18, 2017 10:25PM ADT

Workers along the Canadian border say some United States tourists are ignoring Canada’s gun control laws.

At every border crossing, all the booths have signs clearly warning United States visitors that when it comes to visitors, Canada wants to know what they’re carrying.

Border authorities say vacationers are welcome, but firearms are not.

“To come in just for a vacation, firearms are not allowed,” says Veronic Horne, CBSA chief of operations. “But we do have some options for the traveller can look at, as opposed to not declaring and then they lose their firearm through seizure.”

Last week, a New Hampshire man failed to declare a handgun and ammunition at the Campobello crossing.  He was charged, fined $2,000, and his belongings will not be returned.

The rules apply to more than firearms. Mace and pepper spray are also prohibited.   

“There are certain circumstances where we may take a firearm away, or mace and pepper spray, depending on how it was declared. But if it was not declared, they will not be getting it back,” says Horne.

People in the tourism business say Canada’s tougher gun laws always catch some by surprise.

“We get some travellers from the U.S. that comes in that haven’t looked at the laws and how strict Canada is compared to the U.S., especially when it comes to restricted weapons,” says campground manager Geoff Spear.

Spear says for some Americans carrying a firearm is a matter of personal protection, but in Canada they risk going to court and a criminal record.

“Make sure if you’re not familiar with the laws, play it safe and let them know what you have because there’s a penalty and a fine and you could be hauled into court facing some serious charges,” says

Border authorities have seized about a dozen firearms so far this year, with lots of the summer travelling season still to come.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.