Canadian law enforcement surveilling American gun show in Montana?

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Last month, between September 22 through 25, an annual gun show was held in Great Falls, Montana. Sizable crowds attended the event to check out the various firearms that were for sale. But the gathering was also attended by someone who raised eyebrows among the other attendees. As P. Garner Goldsmith at mrcTV reports, several people noticed someone in a car with Canadian license plates observing the comings and goings of attendees at the show. The man turned out to be a policeman, but not of the American variety. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The story was originally broken by Joee Taylor at MontanaRightNow. Taylor reports that local authorities were summoned and when Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter and some of his deputies arrived, the ongoing “operation” was terminated immediately.

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“According to Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter, local county employees and people noticed someone with Canadian plates watching people at the gun show.

Once deputies and the sheriff arrived, the operation was shut down immediately.”

“’It’s very dangerous to have an operation like that, and we should have been notified. So we told them the operation was over and to their credit, they agreed and they left that,’ said Slaughter.

The Canadian officer was part of the RCMP’s gun smuggling task force. It turns out that he was working in conjunction with the ATF, though there is no report of any American ATF agents being on the scene to supervise the operation. Compounding matters is the fact that Sheriff Slaughter said that the ATF had never contacted him or any other local law enforcement agencies to let them know that the surveillance operation was scheduled to take place.

Having a law enforcement agent from another country surveilling Americans at a gun show in Montana should be problematic at a minimum. If he had been there working at the direction of and under the supervision of American ATF agents, that would probably have been acceptable, particularly if there was a specific concern over potential firearms smuggling into Canada. But even then, local law enforcement should have been advised of this in advance to avoid any potential conflicts that might arise.

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But the fact that we apparently had a free-range foreign law enforcement agent hanging around outside of a Montana gun show and conducting unsupervised surveillance of American citizens is very disturbing. Who at the ATF gave the greenlight to this operation and why didn’t they bring the local law enforcement agencies into the loop? Why didn’t they at least send one of their own ATF agents along to take charge of the operation?

Here’s another point to consider. The full name of the gun show in question is the “Great Falls Western Collectibles & Antique Gun Show.” As the name implies, this is a show that specializes in the sale of classic, antique firearms. You can see some of them in the video report embedded below. If some criminal was looking to find some really valuable, historic firearms to steal and sell to collectors on the black market, this would obviously be a tempting target. But the ATF is presumably more interested in keeping black and gray market weapons out of the hands of potential killers. Do you really think that many random gang bangers are drooling over the idea of getting their hands on a muzzleloader or an 1800s Colt Peacemaker to use the next time they knock over a liquor store?

None of this makes any sense. And given the way that the Canadian government has been surveilling their own people who engage in peaceful protests over the last year, we certainly don’t need Justin Trudeau exporting his muscle to Montana. If some of the locals had taken umbrage to the cross-border intrusion, things could have gone badly quite rapidly.

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Here’s the video report of the incident from mrcTV. You can judge for yourself how appropriately this was handled and what sort of criminals would be interested in smuggling those particular firearms into Canada.

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David Strom 5:30 PM | March 04, 2024
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