DIGBY COUNTY, N.S. – The RCMP says calls by concerned residents prompted their investigation that has led to a fire arms charge being laid against a Digby County man.
According to an RCMP media release, a 39-year-old man from Ashmore, Digby County, is facing charges of Unsafe Storage of a Firearm. He was scheduled to appear in Digby Provincial Court on March 5, however, that court appearance did not happen as no charge had been laid by that date.
UPDATE APRIL 12: This newspaper checked back in with the RCMP for an update status on this case. We were told that as of April 12 there had still not been a charge laid in this case and that the individual had been advised there was no need for him to attend court on March 5 because a formal charge had not been laid. On April 12 the RCMP detachment in Meteghan said there had to be a meeting with the Crown because of the circumstances of how the matter transpired.
According to an RCMP media release issued on Feb. 7, in late January the Meteghan RCMP “received information regarding a shotgun and ammunition that were being transported in the trunk of a vehicle in the area. On two other occasions, the RCMP say they received tips about the same vehicle, indicating the firearm was being transported improperly and may be loaded.’
“It was of concern to the public. We did receive three separate tips about it, people were concerned about it in Meteghan,” said Corporal Jennifer Clarke, Media Relations Officer with the RCMP.
The RCMP say investigators prepared a search warrant for the man’s vehicle and located it at a business in Saulnierville on Feb. 6. The owner of the vehicle was arrested without incident. Police searched the vehicle and located an unloaded shotgun and ammunition in the trunk.
Asked if there had been any specific threats issued in this case that had prompted the need for an investigation, Clarke said there was nothing specific other than phone calls of concern from a few residents.
Asked, then, to clarify why the RCMP felt a charge of unsafe storage of a firearm was justified, Clarke said on the evening of Feb. 9, “Essentially the allegation is that the car was used for storage, not transportation of the firearm, which are two very different things.” In that type of scenario she had previously said, “A shotgun can’t be transported with ammunition . . . essentially he can’t have the two things in the same place at the same time.”
The RCMP has been scrutinized, and criticized, on social media about the charge that has been laid, given that the firearm was not loaded when the vehicle was searched, and that it was in the trunk – and also the fact that in their media release the RCMP referred to the firearm and ammunition as being “transported.” People have argued that the charge is not justified, and no law has been broken.
This prompted the RCMP, on its Facebook page, to offer this further clarification: “The allegation is that the firearm is being stored in the trunk, not just temporarily transported. That changes what is required of the owner in terms of securing it.”