The commission charged with examining the response to Canada’s deadliest mass shooting has found failures in border policies that could have stopped firearms used in the attack from being brought in from Maine.

In a seven-volume report released Thursday, the Mass Casualty Commission found problems with how authorities assessed the risk posed by the shooter as he frequently crossed the border between Maine and Canada.

After the 2020 shooting in Nova Scotia, investigators traced the Colt Carbine used in the attack to Houlton. Officials say it was purchased for Gabriel Wortman at a gun show. Photo courtesy of the Mass Casualty Commission

Canadian Gabriel Wortman, who had friends in Maine, killed 22 people and injured three others in Nova Scotia before he was shot and killed by police on April 19, 2020.

He illegally brought three of the guns used in the shootings – a Glock 23, a Ruger P89 and a Colt Carbine semi-automatic rifle – into Canada from Houlton.

“Despite many red flags, existing enforcement practices were ineffective in preventing the perpetrator from illegally acquiring and possessing these firearms and from smuggling them across the land border between the United States and Canada,” the commission wrote. 

Previous documents released by the Mass Casualty Commission outlined how investigators traced the Colt Carbine to a private sale at a Houlton gun show and the two other guns to Wortman’s friend, Sean Conlogue, in Houlton. 


Conlogue said he gave Wortman the Ruger to thank him for doing work on his house and Wortman took the third gun from Conlogue’s house without permission. Conlogue told authorities he did not know it was illegal to give a gun to someone who is not a U.S. resident.

Investigators also determined that a different man, Neil Gallivan, bought the Colt Carbine for Wortman for $1,000 cash at the Houlton gun show, an illegal move known as a straw purchase. No Americans have been charged in connection with the shootings.

Conlogue was asked to testify before the commission, but said he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

In the final report, the commission found that Wortman’s illegal acquisition of firearms provided him the means to carry out the mass shooting. He smuggled the guns to Canada in pieces rolled up in the back cover of his pickup truck.

Investigators say Gabriel Wortman took this Glock 23 handgun from the home of his friend in Houlton and smuggled it into Canada. Photo courtesy of the Mass Casualty Commission

The commission determined the Canadian Border Services Agency and other law enforcement agencies were not sharing enough information – including about Wortman’s frequent border crossings and undervaluing of motorcycle parts he brought into Canada – and therefore Wortman’s risk factors were not fully assessed when he crossed the border and applied for a NEXUS card, which allows pre-screened travelers faster entry into the country.

The commission also found widespread failures in how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police responded to the incident and recommended the government rethink the RCMP’s central role in Canadian policing.


More than half of the 130 recommendations in the report were aimed at the RCMP and policing culture. Other recommendations centered on reducing gun lethality and preventing guns from being brought across the border.

The commission recommended that law enforcement agencies develop a system for sharing information to ensure more effective scrutiny at the border.

It also called for Canadian and U.S. law enforcement agencies to engage local border communities to help prevent guns from illegally changing hands between citizens.

The commission recommended the government ban all semi-automatic handguns and rifles, and shotguns with capacities of more than five rounds. It also recommended people only be allowed to buy ammunition for guns they are licensed to own. 

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