National Firearms Association ignoring questions about C-51, members complain
Gun owners' group cancelled appearance before Bill C-51 committee
The National Firearms Association is deleting questions posted to its Facebook page about why it pulled out of a committee looking at the government's proposed anti-terrorism legislation, and some members are complaining.
On Monday a lawyer for the gun owners' group had been scheduled to appear on a panel regarding concerns about Bill C-51.
Legal experts have raised a number of concerns about the bill's scope, the lack of oversight, and possible threats to privacy regarding clauses to allow information-sharing between government departments.
After a number of witnesses supportive of the bill agreed it needed amendments, the government decided to propose changes to C-51.
The cancellation came as gun owners grow increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress by Bill C-42, changes to the Firearms Act that the government refers to as its "common sense" firearms bill.
Open Media, which was to share its time with the National Firearms Association, distributed a press release ahead of the cancellation that said the two groups were appearing together "to ensure that the concerns of firearms owners about the legislation can be heard."
Media reports about the cancellation led some members of the gun owners' group to question the reason behind it. That in turn led, according to posts on Facebook, to the firearms association deleting posts that were critical or questioned the decision.
The Facebook page is closed to non-members, but screen captures of the conversation were provided to CBC News.
"So my posts asking why the NFA pulled out of the C-51 debate [keep] getting taken down," one member complained.
"So why is it I spent $400 in fees and donations that I could have used to feed my self and put gas in my car, to an organization that is not transparent to the paying members?"
Another pointed to the organization's "no compromise" motto.
"No compromise. Even when it comes to [answering] its paying members," he wrote.
Directors taking association to court
Sheldon Clare, the president of the National Firearms Association, didn't respond to a request for comment about the Facebook page, nor did he respond to a request for comment about the committee cancellation.
Neither Solomon Friedman, the organization's lawyer, nor Blair Hagen, the group's spokesman, responded to a request for comment.
The tensions may be exacerbated because of a lawsuit among leaders within the organization.
Earlier this month, several members of the group's executive filed a claim in Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench seeking access to the organization's records, among other remedies.
Five of the National Firearms Association directors claim the group hasn't provided audited financial records to its members since 2010 and isn't keeping minutes of its meetings. They also say Clare has made "unfounded" statements about two of them.