Ian Thomson never meant to become a poster boy for the right to protect one’s home and property in Canada, but that is the role foisted upon him by a Canadian court case. Ian Thomson was arrested after he staved off a fire-bombing attack on his rural Ontario property. Thomson was faced with an attack by three masked intruders who lobbed Molotov cocktails at his house and responded with a few warning rounds fired at the lowlifes . . .
Thomson is a former firearms trainer who clearly understands the proper use of weapons in any given situation, so it would be safe to assume that he assessed his situation and fired off a few warning rounds instead of lethal rounds at his attackers. He was legally entitled to own his handguns in Canada, even though handguns are a restricted weapon in Canada that requires a very complicated registration process for a permit.
In short, the man was well-qualified to own a handgun in a country where it is tough to get a legal clearance. But his legal entitlement to actually use his weapons, even under an extreme threat was seriously questioned by Canadian prosecutors.
I have no idea what precipitated the confrontation between Thomson and the three masked stooges, but bottles of flaming gasoline thrown at his house made his response seem pretty reasonable to most observers. The big exception was the Canadian prosecutors who chose to pursue the matter in a criminal court case which had little hope for a successful prosecution, but would serve as a deterrent to like-minded Canadians who pursue a similar path in home defense.
Thomson lives on an isolated Ontario rural property that required 15 minutes or more for police to arrive at his home. By then he would likely have been able to toast marshmallows in the house bonfire had he not been able to use his firepower to defuse the situation quickly enough to extinguish the porch fire. This also leaves us with a big assumption that three masked men willing to burn Thomson out of his house would simply leave after a successful firebomb attempt and not kill the guy.
The case has boiled down to a careless storage charge after several more serious charges such as dangerous use of a firearm and pointing a firearm were dropped by the Crown. The police arrived and discovered that Thomson had not returned his weapons to their locked storage, then added the careless storage charge to the other ones. The other charges were withdrawn after Thomson’s video surveillance camera proved that he acted in a defensive manner with his handgun during the confrontation.
The case has been very expensive for Thomson and his experience is meant to send a strong message to other Canadians that they could face similar charges under similar extreme conditions as property owners under home attack.
I will be the first to suspect that the entire incident was probably part of a larger less defined problem between Thomson and his attackers that may have a bearing on the case. That said, I also believe that Thomson had every right to defend himself against attack, given the circumstances, and his reaction to the danger was more than justified—even in Canada.