How To Shoot (in) Canada!
by Craig "The New Guy" Robinson
It's the beginning of the year and I looked at my watch and realized that it was time I entered a Fast Draw Contest. Luckily for me, in just a few weeks The Thunderbirds of Langley, BC Canada were holding the BC Provincial Fast Draw Championships.
Shooting in this contest would require my presence at the Langley Rod & Gun Club in Canada. Suddenly it hit me... "Hey! This means I'll have to leave my home country of the United States and cross the border into a foreign land, that's much closer to the North Pole (The Land Of Santa Clause) then I had ever ventured before."
This is just the type of situation where the beauty of the Fast Draw community comes in. As you may have guessed, international travel with hand guns requires some planning ahead of time. In Canada, the gun laws are more strict than in the US. When you get to the border to get into Canada and the person at the gate asks some questions about what you're bringing into the country, you should see the way their eyes light up when you mention a cargo consisting of Hand Guns. At the gate I don't recommend telling any jokes about handguns, booze, tobacco or smuggling in general. Though you may crack yourself up, you will likely notice no such grin on the border guards face, and if you look over your shoulder the team of badge-toting police with heavily bruised knuckles rushing toward you, also without grins.
The correct procedure involves getting a permit from the Canadian Government allowing you to travel into Canada with a gun. You'll also need a letter inviting you to shoot in the competition that requires you to have the gun. In my case Bob Edmiston of the Thunderbird Fast Draw Club helped me out. He sent me the form requesting the permit, I filled it out and sent it back to him. In about 3 or 4 weeks he sent me back both the permit and an invitation to shoot.
I suppose if I had answered 'Yes' to the question "Are you now, or ever have been a homicidal maniac?" I expect the process would have been more involved. Luckily, I had help with this process from Gene Cahn of the Buzzard's Roost Gang, a local Fast Draw shooter.
At this point you may be wondering "why would I want to go through all this just to travel hundreds of miles to shoot?" The answer is Canada Is Worth the Effort.
The Cahn's and I flew from SFO to Seattle then rented a car to drive across the border into Langley (about a 3 hour drive). We had great weather. I had heard that it rains most of the time in Seattle and further North, but all I ever saw were clear days. Though it was a bit cooler.
As we drove toward Canada at some point it dawned on me that Canada was NOT the United States. They have a different national bird (the Loon) than the US (the Bald Eagle). And they don't have a trade embargo against Cuba... The Bald Eagle would likely kick butt if one ever got in a fight with a Loon, but on the other hand, the Loon isn't on the endangered species list. And like national birds, Cuban cigars are almost extinct in the US but are readily available in Canada... This alone is worth the trip to Canada.
Other things to look forward to during a visit to Canada include: Money with pictures of famous Canadian's on it. (usually wearing crowns or tiara's). There isn't really a language barrier, the first time visitor may fall into the misconception that some Canadians are hard of hearing as the word 'eh?' is sometimes added to the end of a phrase or sentence.
Another big difference is the use of the Metric System. This can affect your life in many ways. For example, you buy your gas in Liters, so don't get too happy when you see that gas is only 60 cents. (it takes almost 4 liters to make a gallon). And don't forget to use Kilometers Per Hour and not Miles Per Hour when driving. The officer pulling you over typically doesn't care if you forgot to convert (100 KPH is only 60 MPH).
On the other hand, a Metric 6-pack of beer is still 6 cans and Metric Time is the Same as it is here in the US so don't expect to shoot any faster because of that.
But seriously, Canada is a beautiful place to visit with blue water, snow-capped peaks and great people. You won't regret taking the time to attend a shoot in Canada.