Ten year gun ban for hunter who threatens Corunna OPP officer

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‘I know where you live…You’re done. I’ll end you’

Won’t serve time in jail because of COVID-19 outbreak

Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

A Corunna gun owner who unleashed a barrage of threats against a St. Clair OPP officer will be banned from owning weapons for 10 years.

Christopher Brown, 38, was in Sarnia Court Feb. 17 to address the incidents brought him before Justice Krista Leszczynski.

In November 2019, Brown saw his fiancée had been pulled over by the OPP. Brown approached the officer who said the vehicle was being impounded. Brown said the truck was his, and that “the vehicle is not being towed.” The officer disagreed and Brown swore at him.

The officer got out of his car and told Brown to go away. But Brown continued to protest and was arrested.

On the ride back to Corunna station, Brown – who knew the officer – threatened him. “You have no idea who you’re dealing with. I have lots of money. Your life is over,” said Brown.

“You’ll forever look over your shoulder. I know where you live…You’re done. I’ll end you.”
One month later, OPP officers searched Brown’s Corunna home. The warrant was granted because of the threats.

Officers seized three semi-automatic shotguns, three semi-automatic rifles, and a bolt-action rifle. Hundreds of rounds of ammo were also found including a nine-mm handgun magazine modified to hold more than 10 rounds, and a high-capacity magazine modified to hold more than five rounds, which is illegal.

They found two more high-powered rifles in Brown’s truck with more ammo in plain view. He lives near a school.

“It’s certainly more than you would normally hear of,” conceded Brown’s lawyer, Jamie Guggisberg. But he says his client is a subsistence hunter, pointing to his four freezers full of meat.

“He’s not simply somebody who’s just a gun nut with a lot of guns and being unsafe about it,” says Guggisberg. “He misinterpreted the rules, and his storage obviously was insufficient by anybody’s regard. But not with intent to do so.”

As for the threats, Guggisberg says Brown “lost his temper and misspoke.
“I wish to make clear that, not withstanding the officer’s bona fide concern that the threat was real, there was nothing behind it from my client’s point of view other than frustration,” says Guggisberg.

Crown Attorney David Rows said normally, Brown would have faced a “short, sharp jail sentence.” But the Sarnia Jail is in the middle of a COVID-19 outbreak. Instead, Brown will serve six months including three months of full house arrest and then subject to a three month curfew.

To make up for lack of jail time, the Crown came down heavy on another aspect of sentencing. “Most importantly is the weapons prohibition,” Rows said, asking for a 10 year weapons ban and forfeiture of all guns and ammo. “The accused is going to have to deal with not pursuing that particular passion. And that is a significant consequence. In Canada, being able to possess firearms is a privilege, not a right. The accused will have lost that privilege for an extended period of time,” says Rows.

Brown’s lawyer agreed to the terms, as did Leszczynski.

“What is most concerning from a community safety perspective is the manner in which a number of these weapons were stored, and the access that others would have been able to have to those weapons in the event they came across your vehicle,” said the justice.