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Rod Giltaca, head of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, pictured in a YouTube video from February 2019 (Screengrab)
The head of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, the most vocal gun lobby in Canada, has revealed his history with firearms, including the start he got in the United States.
“The first time I shot a firearm, I was in my mid-30s … in San Diego,” says Rod Giltaca, who was the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights (CCFR)’s first president when it incorporated as a non-profit in August 2015, two months before the federal election that swept the Liberals to power.
Now he’s the coalition’s executive director.
In an affidavit he swore and submitted to the Federal Court on Oct. 1, he discloses he worked in business development for a manufacturing company in Montreal that had connections with branches of the U.S. armed services.
“Some of my clients were the United States Marine Corps, the U.S. Airforce, and the U.S. Navy,” Giltaca says in the affidavit, one of many documents that have piled up since more than two dozen gun owners, businesses, and others went to Federal Court to challenge the sweeping prohibition on May 1, 2020, of military-grade rifles in Canada.
In the unusual affidavit, Giltaca says it was through that work that he became acquainted with the “legitimate use and ownership of firearms.”
“I loved it immediately,” Giltaca’s affidavit says. ”I met all the legal requirements to become a firearm owner in Canada.”
He became heavily involved in Canada’s sport-shooting industry.
“I shifted my entire career to the firearms industry,” and joined a community of law enforcers, firearms trainers, and sport shooters, he said.
He became an instructor for the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program, hired people to teach courses for law enforcers and civilians, and founded a YouTube channel devoted to firearms, according to the extensive history.
“I was recruited by the CCFR in 2015 and became the first president of the organization,” Giltaca says in his affidavit.
He established a firearm-training business, Civil Advantage Management.
He also says he produced TV shows called Canada Down Range, Gun Ban Canada, Gun Ban Exposed on Wild TV, and Broken Trust.
Over six years, the CCFR has grown to 31,000 members.
Giltaca’s affidavit claims that the CCFR provides “accurate” information about firearms issues to reporters and provincial and federal governments, including the effects of policies and regulations on Canadian society.
Referring to himself in the third person, the affidavit states: “He purchased his first AR-15 in 2011.”
It also points out that “some of the most widely used commercial products today were originally developed by the military, which spends large amounts on research and developments. For example, the military invented the Jeep, the microwave oven, GPS, and the internet.
“The fact that they were designed by the military, for military use, does not mean they were not appropriate or reasonable for civilian use,” the affidavit says.
Meanwhile, a member of a prominent Montreal group that advocates for gun control is concerned the court case is taking too long, and could inhibit the establishment of a two-year amnesty to allow owners of the prohibited guns to keep them until the government sets up a buyback program to seize them with compensation.
“It would be incredibly regrettable if the government couldn’t, at the very least, manage to table their buyback plan before a two-year amnesty runs out,” said Heidi Rathjen, a founder and coordinator of the Polytechnique anti-gun group established after the massacre of 14 women at the Montreal engineering school in 1989.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said last week that his government is determined to get a buyback program going.
This story was updated at 7: 51 a.m. on Dec. 2 to correct the year of the shooting at the Montreal engineering school.
This story was copy-edited after publication.
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