A military veteran on a weekend getaway with his wife faces three years in a Canadian prison after his GPS mistakenly led him to the Thousand Islands Bridge border crossing in upstate New York.
Louis DiNatale, a retired Army sergeant major, told the Los Angeles Times that he hadn’t planned on entering Canada, but was “misdirected by an unreliable GPS.” He asked if he could turn around, but Canadian border patrol agents refused to allow him to.
They asked him if he owned a gun, and he said “I told him I was retired military, I had respect for weapons, and I had a concealed carry license to do so,” DiNatale explained.
The agents then “asked me when was the last time I had a weapon on me. I told him, ‘Earlier that week.’ He asked me again, ‘Why?’ I told him it was my right as an American citizen to do so.”
They searched DiNatale’s car and found a Bersa .380 handgun in the center console. He was arrested on charges of gun-smuggling and lying to border patrol agents.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) made a plea to American citizens last year: “Don’t bring your guns into Canada. Leave your firearms at home. But if by chance they do have a firearm in the car, it is imperative that they declare it.”
If an American citizen declares the gun and can demonstrate that they are carrying it legally, the CBSA will allow them to return to the United States or will offer to hold the gun for them while they’re in Canada.
Despite being in legal possession of the weapon, DiNatale didn’t declare the gun when he arrived at the border — it was only found after he claimed not be transporting any weapons in his vehicle.
DiNatale was detained for four days, and a court date has been set for June. If convicted, he faces up to three years in a Canadian prison.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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