Terrorized at the Canadian Border for having a CHL

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by 4Freedom, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. 4Freedom

    Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I wanted to share my experience and don't know where to begin. Maybe what happened to me is considered normal by Canadian standards, but I felt utterly violated, abused and, essentially, terrorized by the Canadian Border Police.

    Yesterday, I drove up from my where I live in Washington to Vancouver, BC to visit a friend and see the city. I was going through the border checkpoint and all the other people were literally stopping and letting pass in a matter of 2 or 3 minutes. It is true that the other people ahead of me were all Canadians and I was the American. Maybe, they don't terrorize their own citizens like they do Americans?

    Well, this is what happened. I pull up to the border gate. The Canadian border patrol agent named Officer Sidhu is the officer working at the booth and is the one who questions me. It starts out normal for a minute where he asks me where I am going, where I am from, etc. Then, after a minute he starts asking me about guns.. I am like what????? He asks me if I own a handgun. I say yeah, in my country I have a handgun. Is there any guns in the vehicle? I said No, I studied Canadian laws and I know that I am not allowed to bring any guns into Canada and that there is no guns in the car. I told him all I have is Bear Pepper Spray, which is marked properly, which was acceptable.

    This is where things started to get dirty. He then asks me how many handguns I own. I told him I have a few and that they are all locked in my house in the USA and not with me. He starts interrogating me, saying where do I carry my gun when I have it. I said on my hip and I do not have it with me.. THen he asks do I have a Concealed Weapons License... I was trying to be polite and honest and told him yes. Then the evil look came onto this guy's face like I was a criminal and up to no good, simply because I am a law abiding American gun owner. He then told me I will need to have my car searched and that I must pull over to the car search area. I did not argue and complied with his orders. He also sternly told me not to take the bear pepper spray out of the car and leave it right where it was.;. DUH!!! Yeah, I was not planning on grabbing the bear pepper spray.. It was like he was prepared to shoot me then and there, like I was plotting some type of evil act.

    So, then they bring me into the Border Patrol office where I am brought to the counter and interrogated harshly by Officer Sidhu. Officer Sidhu starts demanding explanations of where I am going, what I am doing there. He then wants to know the guy I will be meeting. I was being polite and answering, but it got to the point where I lost my temper and couldn't bear his antagonizing and derogatory treatment of me. Me and the friend I had in Canada met on Facebook and he was demanding I tell him all the details of which social networking site I met him. He demanded to see my phone and he seaid he would need to view all the text messages between me and my friend and that he would want to see my text messages.

    At this point, I yelled out "I AM A LAW ABIDING AMERICAN CITIZEN, I AM NOT A CRIMINAL AND I HATE BEING TREATED LIKE A CRIMINAL. MY RIGHTS ARE BEING VIOLATED AND I WANT TO TALK TO YOUR SUPERIORS OR TO MY EMBASSY." I became furious and felt like I was being harassed and terrorized simply because I am a gun owner and have a concealed weapons permit. I tried explaining to Officer Sidhu that Americans who have concealed handgun licenses are law-abiding citizens who are even more trustworthy than other citizens as they have went through State and Federal background checks by local law enforcement and by the FBI. I have four concealed handgun licenses, including a Utah, which has some of the strictest standards of any state.

    I knew that Officer Sidhu somehow had information either through my driver license or my license plate that I had a concealed handgun license, because he started harassing me right from the start about guns and treated me like a criminal because of my ownership of guns. I feel somewhat violated by my own country for sharing personal information with the Canadian government that should be none of their business. Why should the Canadian government have access to my personal information, outside of criminal history, such as warrants or convictions. The permits I possess in my own state and country should be none of the Canadian government's business.

    HE told me that he has done this job for many years and that people with concealed handgun licenses feel too comfortable with guns and tend to bring them to Canada. I told him that people with concealed handgun licenses are law abiding people who generally will follow all the laws of where they reside. I explained to him that people obtain a concealed handgun license so they can comply with the law, not break it.

    Also, I told him that he had no probable cause to keep questioning and harassing me. I said that the only reason you pulled me over and searched me was because you knew I had a concealed handgun license and you thought there may be possibly be a handgun in my car and I complied with your orders. I said that you are treating me like a criminal simply because I am a law-abiding American citizen with a concealed handgun license. He told me I am not being treated like a criminal, that if I was a treated like a criminal , I would be in handcuffs right now and hauled into jail. Being already furious and losing all my respect for authority at this point, I told him if they put me in handcuffs I would contact my embassy and I would be suing him. He says he doesn't know who I am, that having a concealed weapons license means that I am a suspicious person. Officer Sidhu started going off about how there is a lot of sex/child porn trafficking on the border and that the questions were relevant. So, I yelled back at him, "So, now you are accusing me of possibly being a pedophile? Why? Because I have a concealed handgun license?" So, using his logic, I suppose the Canadians before me he just let through the border in a minute or two are not sex traffickers or child porn distributors because they don't have concealed weapons license. I suppose Officer Sidhu somehow made this connection that Americans with concealed weapons permits are potentially the most dangerous criminals that can enter their country.

    I was very angry and they could see they were pushing me to the edge. Officer Sidhu now had my phone and was browsing all my messages. I sat down and waited while they searched my car thoroughly. I was watching a few other people being searched. They realized how aggravated I was by their treatment and didn't even bother searching me, which I thought was kind of strange. I think they felt they already pushed me to the edge and figured being searched would have pushed my over the top.

    Although, in all honesty, I would have complied with the search, even if I did it grudgingly. Had all they wanted to do was search the car and search me without the interrogation or criminal treatment, I would have just complied and not complained at all.

    Officer Sidhu then called me and told me I am free to go.. I told him I didn't like my treatment and that I want to contact the CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) and report my account to him and that I wanted his badge number or identification. He told me he has no badge number, that his only identification is "Sidhu" the name on his tag. That sounded very odd that an officer would not have any type of identifier except his last name. I suppose he would not be hard to point out , at least his last name wasn't Johnson.

    I then proceeded to tell him that people who obtain Concealed Handgun Licenses are law abiding people and are more trustworthy than even average citizens. I told him again I went through multiple State and Federal Background checks and that being treated and interrogated, simply for possessing this license is uncalled for. Everything I said seem to go over his head and I gave up even bother trying to argue and just got in my car at this point and headed for Canada.

    Perhaps, Canada is not a country where people have rights and terrorizing Americans who possess concealed handgun licenses or who own guns is considered normal by their governments standards. What I am wondering is if the treatment I experienced was because of the particular border patrol officer I encountered or if they are all like this? I want to file a complaint to the both the CBSA, as well as to any other agency that is involved in border affairs and relations with Americans, tourists, immigration, etc. If I do file a complaint, will I essentially be blowing hot air?? Will my voice go unheard and am I just wasting my time?? Of course, I would think the Canadian government may have disdain for Americans and perhaps talking to someone on the American side who can talk to the Canadian government on my behalf would be a better option? I don't know, I just feel like I should do something, but maybe it is a lost cause, but at least I can voice out my discontent with the harassment, invasion of my privacy and degrading treatment I received by their border agents.

    I was considering contacting NRA, American Embassy, in addition to CBSA to share my experience.. Maybe, I am just blowing hot air and being terrorized at the Canadian border is normal treatment for Americans.

    I want to finish by saying that I understand border officers must protect their borders. If there was some probable cause for suspicion or concern, they should interrogate, search and question a person. However, there was nothing odd about my story. I live just 1 hour from the Canadian border and was going to see Vancouver and a friend. My crime was being a law-abiding gun owner with a legally obtained concealed weapons license, which I had to undergo multiple State and Federal background checks to acquire. Officer Sidhu's only basis for searching and interrogating me was that I had a Concealed Handgun License. Because I have a WA CHL, now I have to be humiliated, interrogated and detained every time while they search my vehicle. Perhaps, the Canadian government should realize how many Americans have guns and concealed weapons licenses, especially in the cities that border the Canadian border. If they terrorize enough of us, obviously we will stop visiting their country.

    Anyway, I just thought I should share my experience and also give warning to other law-abiding American citizens who may experience similar treatment by the Canadian border patrol.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
    JVK likes this.
  2. solv3nt

    Well-Known Member

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    I went to Whitewater Canada a month ago, and my idiot friend was driving. He was doing find answering questions until the gun question came up:

    Buddy: No I don't have any, ummmmmmm... do you solv3nt?
    Me: No, we're going into Canada, that's not allowed.
    Agent: I need you to pull into bay #2 to have your car searched.

    Good work buddy, you caused us to get our car searched. It added another 30 minutes to our drive, but I was BS'ing with the guy, so he finished, and sent us on our merry way.
  3. Classic

    Federal Way WA
    Well-Known Member

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    I went into Canada last year on my Goldwing. I have a vest that has 2 large pockets that will both hold a full size pistol and a magazine. When crossing in Sumas there was a sign saying stop here which I ignored because I was the only person there! The guard flipped me crap for pulling up so I told him that I figured that was to give you guys room to inspect a vehicle but since nobody was there I just pulled up. I told him if he would like me to back up I would...
    Anyway, I got the same questions. "Where is your gun?" It's at home in the safe with my licenses because I didn't want to donate it to the Canadian government. The guy kinda looked funny so I said "I understand the law here. If I declare a weapon, you take it. If I don't declare one and you find it I go straight to jail which is why it's home in my safe. Then he asks "Well where do you normally carry it when you ride?" So I unzipped my coat revealing my vest. I said "I have this pocket (opening one side of my vest) where I carry my weapon and I have this pocket (other side of my vest) where I carry spare magazines.
    Then the guy became human. Told him I just wanted to ride to the east entrance to Glacier on my way to Yellowstone.
    Never get flippity with them or you might win the unlubricated cavity search... Naaa ain't worth it!
    4Freedom likes this.
  4. ZA_Survivalist

    AK's all day.

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    The first mistake was going into Canada in the first place.

    However, there are MANY cases where somehow American Citizen info is shared with Canada and certain informations are somehow shared.. Which is fishy to say the least.

    You know what folks are more dangerous than armed citizens?

    Canadian drivers! My god.. They cant drive worth a damn.. And half the time its a hit and run.. The other half is the fact that their insurance or "international insurance" doesn't cover anything here in the US.. or so I was told (by a friend not a canadian)
    Seen three accidents in two days just in Marrysville alone.
    Redcap, shootnscoot and 4Freedom like this.
  5. porkchopexpress

    Tualatin, Oregon
    Active Member

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    I had my car searched once in my early twenties. I assume they were looking for drugs. My wife and I (who both have concealed carry permits) went through the border a few months ago and didn't have any trouble this time. This was via the port Angeles ferry headed to Victoria though which may be treated differently than the I-5 border crossing.
  6. captqc

    Well-Known Member

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    :mad:As I've said to the Canadians who work at my office, some day we are going to really get tired of this crap and just take B.C. back! My gosh they are nutty'r than squirrel poop up there!!!!!!
  7. Lange22250

    Active Member

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    You should be very careful using words like right, voluntary and consent at any any international border because they are heavily modified from what is the norm in the country.
    You may be able to find an exception somewhere but in general the officials at the border, and in some situations border equivalents like international arrival points inside the country, you have no ability to refuse any search of your possessions, papers (physical or electronic) or person. You may refuse to answers questions but they may use the refusal to deny entry or initiate a search.
    That's just the way it is and the only way to avoid the possibility is to not cross them.
    Questions and tone intended to illicit anger, as in your case, are sometimes purposeful and in the play book to attempt to get you to volunteer information as part of the interaction. The best you can do is keep the conversation as minimal as possible. He was playing a game and you chose to play it his way. If you had stuck to yes and no responses, as is usually the best when dealing with law enforcement, you would have won. Unless he attacked you personally by directly saying that you are a pedophile because you have a CWP , as opposed to implying a connection as he did, he will not be considered out of line by his superiors.
    The US shares information on citizens criminal activity with some other countries as part of reciprocal treaties. Most countries will refuse to admit people based on past criminal activity. After the passage of the patriot act other types of information for intelligence purposes. I have serious issues with either type of exchange.
    Rotty, BillBloggins and 4Freedom like this.
  8. GrpCapMandrake

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    That awful 4F. Sorry to hear about that.

    I work with a lot of folks who travel frequently to Canada and I hear horror stories of CBSA Officers going off on ridiculous tangents more than I do about CBP Officers. My favorite was the engineer that had to prove he was an engineer by explaining how the Titanic would have remained afloat had it sailed backwards after hitting the iceberg.

    Canadians be crazy!!

    Do you ever report him to superiors at the CBSA?
  9. cookie

    Well-Known Member

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    The real terrorists to be afraid of are the government thugs.
    Bacchus, Capn Jack and Burt Gummer like this.
  10. Velzey

    Estacada Gunsmith
    Büchsenmacher Bronze Vendor

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    Had something very similar happen a few years back. I will never go to Canada again! Screw them !

    Treated like a criminal and detained for hours while my truck was searched and they found one badly corrodided 12 ga shell that was stuck in the sound proofing under the passenger seat.
    orygun likes this.
  11. Scott F

    Scott F
    Oregon City, OR
    Active Member

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    Wonder why I find myself taking the other side so often. :)

    For six years I made a border crossing into Canada at least twenty times a month. I drove truck from Port Townsend to Richmond and Kelowna, BC and Edmonton and Calgary, AB. I have crossed at six crossings during those trips. At the time I had a Washington permit and I had carried an Oregon permit. I have been randomly called in for passport checks and had my truck searched. Every passport check showed my permits and I was asked about them. I always responded that yes I had permits and when asked said no I did not have any weapons with me. I always treated officers on both sides of the border with courtesy and respect and was treated the same.

    Never one problem, ever.
    aarond and Hook686 like this.
  12. pdrake

    Active Member

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    4F, I know you lost your cool (and might still be quite angry), but when you calm down, consider this. We share CPL information with them, along with certain criminal history data. For example, everybody who has had a DUI/DWI will be stopped and turned around at the border (DUI is a felony up north, and no felons may pass the border--sorry). So, yes, they knew immediately that you have a CPL in WA. This is called profiling, and it works in its own way.

    Next, you actually don't have any natural right to cross the frontier into another country. You might be amazed to learn this, but (as a U.S. citizen) you don't even have the natural right to cross the frontier back into the U.S. Don't believe me? Get into an argument with CBP on a return to the States, and watch them deny your re-entry.

    Thus, all that you can do as a CPL holder is comply with their silly questions and searches, and just wait for them to stop wasting their own time--your valuable time is not a concern to them. Their country, their rules.

    Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to offer some perspective. Sorry for your frustration.
  13. orygun

    West Linn
    Silver Supporter Silver Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    My mom and Dad went into Canada several years ago and Dad was questioned about guns that he owned. He didn't tell them anything except that he owns guns and had none with him. That was my "red flag" that if I ever went to Canada again, I would answer "No". F'em. "No, I don't own guns". They need to know nothing. But the chance I ever travel into Canada is very low. Just like it's very unlikely I will ever fly in this country again. I refuse to be subject to unreasonable searches.
    Did I say F'em yet?

    Oh, just because I have a CHL doesn't mean I own a gun.
  14. 4Freedom

    Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I appreciate the responses here.. Posts like drake and others may be the hard , cold truth.. Their country, their rules... It may be easier to just fly into Canada and rent a car, so at least customs knows you already been checked for weapons.

    Actually, at that point I was ready to just get in my car and go back to the USA and forget going to Canada. I wanted to tell them to just let me go back to my country, where I would report my treatment to the American Embassy. However, it didn't get to that point, as the border officer told me I was free to go. Even though I kept arguing, because I was angered and my pride hurt, I finally shut up and accepted it and moved on my way.

    What Classic wrote, was also thought provoking. Indeed, many will say if you flip out they may give you the cavity search. In my case, I found it to be the opposite. I watched them patting down and searching the more submissive Asian people who were being quiet and much more respectful to them, than I was. On the contrary, they didn't even search me, they just let me move on, as I was voicing my discontent and blowing my fuse, which I do somewhat regret.

    It's been a long time since I have traveled across land borders, which are the worst. Airports have so much more security and you have so much potentially more you can bring into a country when coming from the land rather than air.

    To Scott, I was answering all the questions honestly and being polite, which is why the officer had his field day with me.. Many people here actually are telling me I was being too compliant and divulging too much information, putting myself into this situation.

    Perhaps, next time I go to Canada, as I am wanting to do a lot of hiking in the Canadian mountains as well as see Vancouver, BC, I will either fly by plane or just roll with the punches on the land border... Maybe, I will try the Sumas border instead of the I-5 one next time. I will roll up to the border with my bags unzipped and as soon as he asks me if I have guns, I will say officer, I will go and pull over there to the search area so you can search my car, to save him the effort.

    Considering that they do have information about my WA and other CHLs, there is no point in lying and saying I don't have one.. They have no way of knowing how many guns I own, but there is no point in saying I don't have one.. I will say I don't have my gun with me and I just have a couple handguns.. If I say I just have one or none, it will be just too obvious that I am lying.. Since, all he is doing is interrogating me to prove me to be a liar or honest person..

    I guess border police have more power than their Constitution allows.. Perhaps, its a losing fight, as some other posters wrote here. They can terrorize, harass , invade the privacy, humiliate and degrade both their own citizens and citizens of their allied nations (US/Canada), in any way , shape or form they please.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
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  15. PX4WA

    Tacoma, WA
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    I had a different experience... I was coming back home from vancouver and was in a BMW 6 series convertible with the top down.. my 3 year old daughter in the backseat and wife in front with me...

    the US border officer grilled me for several minutes about what I did for a living and how I could afford my ride.. after I told him what I did, he started grilling me about my work and background and that's when he saw I got annoyed and he let me go...

    dumb govt employee could not fathom why an asian guy drove a car that cost more than his annual paycheck and wanted to give me crap about it.. he probably thought I was a drug dealer or something..

    I almost wanted to complain to his supervisor if not for my daughter in the back seat... what was he going to do? prevent me from entering the USA? I had no problem if he wanted to search my car.. but it was obvious he was focusing on how I could afford my ride as he kept asking about how I could afford it.. I offered to show him my professional license to prove to him I worked where I worked but that's when he let me go seeing I was visibly annoyed..
    4Freedom likes this.
  16. PDXoriginal

    Well-Known Member

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    Yeah... their country, their laws.

    I love skiing in Whistler BC, I really enjoyed visiting Victoria, but screw those scum bag pukes. I'm not going to spend my money in a country that will treat me like a criminal just to enter it.

    Canaduh and their sociopath border agents can choke on their maple leaf, I won't be back.
    4Freedom likes this.
  17. PX4WA

    Tacoma, WA
    Active Member

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    this is actually not quite accurate...

    you have a natural right to enter the USA if you are a US citizen. you don't even need a valid passport, but have to have some way to prove your citizenship and identity.

    a passport is a convenience that facilitates this...

    there a few minor exceptions

    1. if you travelled to a "terrorist country" you will be admitted but detained or given the option to remain outside the USA (at their discretion)

    2. if you are drunk crossing the border, you can be admitted then arrested, or given the option to turn around and return sober.. since it is more hassle to detain you, they will usually tell you to come back...

    in any specific instance you have the constitutional right to demand admission into the USA, whether or not you get to leave the border a free man is a different story.. they can detain you for cause... but they can't make stuff up..

    insulting an officer can be just cause.. if you are polite, they can not use that excuse
    4Freedom likes this.
  18. deen_ad

    Vancouver, WA
    Well-Known Member

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    <Why there aren't any school shootings in Israel! Teacher with long gun slung over her shoulder!!!

    I'm not sure we'll ever go to Canada, I have both WA and OR permits and drive a 41' motorhome pulling a Honda Odyssey. Do you have any idea how long it would take to search all that and then for us to put it all back together with seven cats roaming around?
    Not sure I have that much time left on earth!

    NRA Life Member, Benefactor Level
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    "A gun is like a parachute. If you need one and don't have it, you'll probably never need one again!"
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  19. mjbskwim

    Well-Known Member

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    I can go down to Port Angeles and take the ferry across for a nice day on the water and to go see the peeler clubs.....
    But I don't have my enhanced license.....
    because ,for reasons like this and the rest of their laws,I could care less about giving Canada a dime.
    We have strip clubs over here,beer over here,anything else that canada has,we have down here.

    PH*CK 'EM
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  20. fd15k

    Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Natural right is bullbubblegum. The correct word is unconditional right all US citizens have to enter and remain in the United States. Now with all that terrorist mumbo-jumbo Feds came up with dictates how the actual treatment may go under those "exceptions", but the only reason they exist is they have never been tested in courts for an average Joe. I have done my portion of messing with CBP over the years, and I intend to continue doing just that any time they ask me about things that are irrelevant to the trip (my occupation for example).

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