Gun toting granny fined for crossing the border with weapon

A 64 year old woman from Arizona lost her handgun and more than $3,000 in fines after trying to cross the border without declairing it last September after sentencing in Penticton court today, Feb. 6, 2017.

PENTICTON - A 64-year-old woman and her husband’s last minute decision to visit Canada proved costly in court today.

U.S resident Janice Marie Purdy entered guilty pleas on charges of making a false statement re: import of goods and possession of a firearm without licence or registration, via defence lawyer Wade Jenson in Penticton court this afternoon, Feb. 6.

Federal Crown Prosecutor Ashleigh Baylis said Purdy and her husband, both residents of Arizona, attempted to cross the border at Osoyoos on Sept. 27, 2016, when they were subjected to a secondary inspection with Canadian border agents.

Purdy initially denied carrying weapons, but a search of the couple’s Lexus Infinity revealed ammunition in the glove box and a Baretta .22 calibre semi-automatic handgun in the rear seat centre console.

Further search revealed more than 50 rounds of ammunition, a holster and pepper spray.

Purdy then admitted to carrying the gun, for which she had a concealed carry permit, valid in the State of Arizona. She said she habitually carried the gun in her purse when travelling alone, and had forgotten to remove the weapon from the car when she and her husband began their vacation two weeks prior.

She had stashed the weapon in the back seat console, without her husband’s knowledge.

The decision to come to Canada was an unplanned part of the couple's vacation, and Purdy said she thought she wouldn’t be examined. When asked by border authorities if they were carrying any weapons, she says she panicked.

In a joint submission to Judge Gregory Koturbash, Baylis says both counsels agreed to a $1,500 fine, in addition to automatic forfeiture of the weapon and ammunition under the Customs Act.

“What’s granny packing so many rounds for?" asked Judge Koturbash.

Jenson said his client received the gun as a gift from her husband 25 years ago. She had it for her own safety “as is common down in the States, particularly in Arizona.” He said she tended to carry it in her purse when she travelled alone.

He said he hoped his client had learned from the incident.

“I’m not really familiar with American culture, but 50 rounds, is that commonplace for someone who is just packing for protection?” asked the judge.

While admitting he didn’t ask his client specifically about the number of rounds, Jenson said in discussions with his client, although she felt very badly about the situation.

“I got the sense there is not a recognition in the American culture, particularly in Arizona, about how seriously we take firearms. It’s a different culture,” he said.

Judge Koturbash agreed to the joint submission of a fine totalling $3,000.

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