Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut October 10, 2012 - 2:44 pm

Nunavummiut should know their rights during gun safety campaign: lawyers

“We felt that it was important here at the legal services board to remind the public of some of their basic rights as Canadians”

DAVID MURPHY

Know your rights.

That’s what the Nunavut Legal Services Board and lawyers from Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik Legal Services are telling Nunavut residents in connection with the joint door-to-door firearm safety campaign planned by the RCMP and the Government of Nunavut.

The campaign wants to target every Nunavut community within 12 months, with RCMP officers and conservation officers providing trigger locks for those who need it. The campaign that arose due to the high rate of gun-related violence over the past two years.

But Mandy Sammurtok, a lawyer with Maliiganik, doesn’t know if all Nunavummiut know their rights when a cop comes knocking on their doors.

“We felt that it was important here at the legal services board to remind the public of some of their basic rights as Canadians,” she said, referring to a public service announcement that has been circulated around Nunavut.

“Especially because a number of the individuals who will be in contact with the law enforcement authorities, namely the RCMP and conservation officers, are individuals who haven’t had contact with the law,” she said. “These individuals should be properly informed of their rights and on what authorities can and can’t do.”

Rights, outlined in the recent PSA, detail the following:

• Nunavummiut should feel free to take any pamphlets or trigger locks that these officers offer them;

• Nunavummiut do NOT have to answer any questions asked about any firearms they may or may not have in their homes — these questions may include; the number of firearms in a household or whether the firearms are stored properly, and,

• Nunavummiut do NOT have to allow any officer into their home to determine whether or not firearms are stored properly unless the officers have a warrant that gives them permission to enter that citizen’s home. 

Sammurtok stressed that Maliiganik and the Legal Services Board support the door-to-door firearm safety campaign.

But she also urges any Nunavut resident unaware of their rights to contact the three branches where the Legal Services Board operates, in Cambridge Bay at 867-983-2906, in Rankin Inlet at 867-645-2536 and in Iqaluit 867-979-5377.

The next stop for the door-to-door campaign is Igloolik and Arviat, two communities that have faced gun-related violence this past spring.

The campaign has already visited Clyde River.

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