November 2, 2012
Calgary dad turns in guns after son, 12, commits suicide
By Kevin Martin, QMI Agency
The Calgary owner of a cache of firearms was overcome with emotion Thursday when a judge asked why he was voluntarily giving up his guns.
The man, whom QMI Agency is not naming, choked up and unable to respond to provincial court Judge Peter Barley's inquiry.
Instead, Crown attorney Jennifer Crews explained why the city dad agreed to the seizure of the weapons -- as well as a five-year firearms prohibition.
"In late August of this year (his) 12-year-old son committed suicide with one of these firearms," Crews told the court.
"Obviously police attended the residence.
"Given those circumstances we find it's in the best interest of everyone involved that these items be seized."
Major crimes investigated the death and determined there was no foul play.
"There was a really extensive investigation," spokesman Kevin Brookwell said.
He said a number of weapons were found in the family's home, some stored properly, some not.
Ultimately, working the the Crown, police decided against pursuing criminal charges.
"You are dealing with the death of a child. When you take into account what the family has gone through it was felt for the family's safety and public safety, the best route -- rather than criminal charges -- was to pursue this ban," Brookwell said.
With the father turned towards the wall, clearly in emotional distress, Barley offered a heartfelt apology for the necessary inquiry.
"I'm very sorry to hear that," he told the distraught dad, repeating his apology again after the gun owner had composed himself.
The judge said he was required to know why the weapons were seized by the Crown before granting the application.
Earlier, Barley had read from a list of 16 firearms or replicas that had been removed from the man's southeast residence after the tragedy.
The father said he agreed to have the guns taken away, but asked that six of them be turned over to his brother, either for resale, or to keep himself.
Among them was a replica handgun, a gift to his late son from a since departed uncle.
"That's a toy, you can just destroy it," the dad said.
Under the Criminal Code, the Crown can seize lawfully held firearms if there is a safety concern.
The dad also turned in his Firearms Acquisition Certificate as a condition of his weapon's prohibition.
The dead boy's grandmother and uncle, who attended court in support of the dad, declined comment after the hearing.
-- with files by Nadia Moharib
On Twitter: @SUNKevinMartin