Ontario: dad arrested after 4 year old draws picture of gun

by Walter Olson on February 25, 2012

The trouble began at school in Kitchener, Ontario, when a 4-year-old girl drew a picture of her father, Jessie Sansone, with a gun in his hand. When asked about the gun in the picture, according to police, the girl said her siblings played with it and that it scared her. “The school principal, police and child welfare officials… said they had to investigate to determine whether there was a gun in Sansone’s house that children had access to.” And apparently that “investigation” had to involve detaining and strip-searching Sansone when he showed up at school to pick up his daughter, searching his home, and spiriting away his other children to Family and Children’s Services to be interviewed. Sansone was told he was being charged with possession of a firearm — from the article’s context, an offense in itself in that Second-Amendment-less locality. When police searched the Sansone home, they found “a clear plastic toy gun that shoots soft plastic biodegradable BBs and retails for around $20 at Walmart” and he was released without charges. [The Record; Joe O'Connor, National Post]

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{ 15 comments }

1 Robert 02.25.12 at 11:02 am

I hope the kid doesn’t draw a picture of Mom in the trunk of the car next week.

http://www.examiner.com/crime-in-national/susan-powell-s-son-drew-picture-of-mom-trunk-of-family-car

2 Bill Poser 02.25.12 at 8:12 pm

In Canada possession of a handgun is an offence unless one has a license for it. Licenses are issued to target shooters and collectors. Carry permits are almost never issued to anyone other than a law enforcement officer.

3 Gale 02.26.12 at 10:42 pm

“The girl said her siblings played with it and that it scared her.” That’s why all that happened…not because she drew it. And if the kids actually had been playing with a real gun this would be a different story.

I’m not an anti-gun activist. My dad had a real gun collection, and put the fear of God in me about them so I never dare even try to get into the locked case he kept them in. I support the second amendment. But if teachers hear about kids playing with guns and there’s a chance they’re real, then yes, it has to be investigated. Someone in our apartments left his gun out and his son killed is brother, thinking it was a toy. They have to check on those things. This one isn’t overlawyered. It would have been overlawyered if he had actually been charged because of the toy gun.

4 Gale 02.26.12 at 10:43 pm

Sorry about the typos in my comment above.

5 gitarcarver 02.26.12 at 11:39 pm

It would have been overlawyered if he had actually been charged because of the toy gun.

From the article:

“(Sansone) was summoned to the principal’s office where three police officers were waiting. They said he was being charged with possession of a firearm.”

“Nobody was given any explanation,” said his wife, Stephanie Squires. “I didn’t know why he was being arrested.

“At the police station, Sansone talked to a lawyer who said only that he was being charged with possession of a firearm, Sansone said.”

““Police chose to arrest Jessie here. Nobody wants something like this to happen at any time, especially not at school. But that’s out of my hands.””

So to recap, you don’t think that being arrested, told you were being charged with a crime, and having your kids taken away without the presence of a weapon or a crime being committed is not overlawyered?

You think the actions of the police, the school and the Family Protection Services were acceptable?

Instead of investigating, talking to the parents, etc, you think that being arrested, being detained, having the kids taken away was acceptable?

Sorry, but I can’t agree with that.

6 Bumper 02.27.12 at 5:03 am

Would not it have been simpler if someone, anyone in authority had just looked at the dad and said, “your daughter drew a picture of a gun and suggested you might have a gun in your house.”

Seeing that wasn’t possible then they should collect up the whole lot of the officious ninnies, and since Darwin isn’t always the most expedient solution, sterilize them lest they perpetuate their stupidity. If they already have children seize them and have them raised by someone with even an ounce of common sense, which would be more that any of them exhibited that day.

7 Richard Nieporent 02.27.12 at 8:13 am

When we hear stories about totalitarian regimes that use children to report on the activities of their parents, we are horrified that children would be used for such a nefarious purpose. But here we are doing it for the good of society, so it is commendable.

8 John FitzGerald 02.27.12 at 3:40 pm

Just to clarify, possession of a firearm is not an offence in Canada, only possession of an unregistered firearm. They should have checked the registration first. Their behaviour still would have been outrageous, of course. I agree with Richard Nieporent that child welfare has been used over the past twenty years or so, without materially improving children’s welfare, as justification for gross abuses of human rights.

9 mojo 02.27.12 at 3:49 pm

He was arrested, apparently, or rather “falsely arrested”, but later released when the prosecutor got a look at the mess. No evidence of a crime, no grounds for arrest. Possible lawsuit, but good luck with that in the People’s Republic of Ontario.

10 Steve Simmons 02.27.12 at 6:01 pm

That’s probably what he was arrested. He doesn’t have a registration for a gun, so therefore, ipso facto, having a gun would be illegal.

There’s a way to resolve this confusion in the future. Add a registration for toy and plastic guns. That way the police will know if you’re allowed to have a gun-shaped object in your home.

11 RonBuddha 02.27.12 at 6:06 pm

I’m a little confused. Unless the gentleman is a felon, why is it illegal to possess a firearm? And why was he strip searched? and what happened to “Innocent until Proven Guilty”, the hall mark of the American Justice System?

12 RonBuddha 02.27.12 at 6:08 pm

sorry…did not realize he was in Canada…when I hear Ontario, I think Ontario CA…Sorry…disregard previous message…

13 Dan 02.27.12 at 6:08 pm

The teacher was right to be concerned, and report the matter. The way it was investigated by everyone else after that was completely inexcusable.

14 Mark Tipton 02.27.12 at 6:47 pm

Where I grew up, we actually had a rifle rack behind the driver’s seat in the school bus and our sidearms we just carried with us. Glad I do not live in Canada but sad to see what has become of both once great nations these days!

15 joe 02.27.12 at 7:33 pm

They should seriously lay the smack down on those people who violated that man and his family without proper cause. These people have no understanding of justice or what it means to investigate a potential crime without violating the laws themselves.

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