An American couple on a romantic getaway found themselves afoul of Canadian border agents when it turned out they were packing heat, the National Post reports.

Just the small matter of a loaded handgun in the car's centre console. The husband, Louis DiNatale, claims he forgot it was there and didn't declare it to border agents.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, DiNatale recalled last September's run-in at the border crossing at Thousand Islands Bridge between New York and Ontario.

When asked if he owned any weapons, the retired soldier said yes.

"Why?" asked the agent.

"I told him I was retired military, I had respect for weapons, and I had a concealed carry license to do so," DiNatale noted in his statement.

"He 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."

Now, after a four-day detention at the border, the 46-year-old faces gun-smuggling charges that could send him to prison for three years.

(Because, apparently, gun smugglers haul weapons one at a time to Canada in the most obvious place imaginable.)

“It was an honest mistake,” DiNatale, who works as a paralegal for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told Postmedia News. “There’s not even a traffic ticket in my background. Why would I come to Canada to bring a small weapon to smuggle in?”

DiNatale says they didn't want to be in Canada at all, claiming that while vacationing in Vermont, their diabolical GPS led them to northern climes.

After hours of listening to gospel music on long Vermont roads, the couple failed to get any guidance whatsoever from a higher power.

“My GPS didn’t say, ‘you’re entering another country,’” DiNatale told the National Post.

Since then, DiNatale has also found himself entering another realm -- the land of gun-loving American forums.

And it seems to have declared war on Canada.

At Calguns -- the 'California firearms owner's home on the internet' -- one user suggested DiNatale "could have conquered all of Quebec with that kind of arsenal."

The indignation quickly spread from gun policy to, well, everything.

"I was there last summer with some friends," another poster reminisced. "The cross into Canada took about half hour and the entire time up there kind of sucked. People were in large part rude, things were expensive, and traffic laws suck."

Over at the National Gun Forum, a particularly uninformed, seemingly paranoid and likely armed poster wrote, "There's no Constitution in Canada. No Bill of Rights. I've been there. Have family up there. If they throw you in jail, you are at their mercy and whim."

"Everybody and his neighbour in the U.S. either own a gun or carry a gun," DiNatale's Ottawa-based lawyer, Bruce Engel, told CBC Radio's As It Happens.

"It's just that culture. It's very different than in Canada."

Loading Slideshow...
  • 1981: The Attempted Assassination Of President Ronald Reagan

    on March 30, 1981, President Reagan and three others were shot and wounded in an assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Reagan's press secretary, Jim Brady, was shot in the head.

  • 1993: The Brady Handgun Violence Act

    The Brady Handgun Violence Act of 1993, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, mandated that federally licensed dealers complete comprehensive background checks on individuals before selling them a gun. The legislation was named for James Brady, who was shot during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

  • 1994: The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act

    The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, instituted a ban on 19 kinds of assault weapons, including Uzis and AK-47s. The crime bill also banned the possession of magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. (An exemption was made for weapons and magazines manufactured prior to the ban.)

  • 2004: Law Banning Magazines Holding More Than Ten Rounds Of Ammunition Expires

    In 2004, ten years after it first became law, Congress allowed a provision banning possession of magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition to expire through a sunset provision. Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke told HuffPost that the expiration of this provision meant that Rep. Gabby Giffords's alleged shooter was able to fire off 20-plus shots without reloading (under the former law he would have had only ten).

  • 2007: The U.S. Court of Appeals For The District Of Columbia Rules In Favor Of Dick Heller

    In 2007 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled to allow Dick Heller, a licensed District police officer, to keep a handgun in his home in Washington, D.C. Following that ruling, the defendants petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

  • 2008: The NICS Improvement Amendments Act

    Following the deadly shooting at Virginia Tech University, Congress passed legislation to require states provide data on mentally unsound individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, with the aim of halting gun purchases by the mentally ill, and others prohibited from possessing firearms. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush in January of 2008.

  • 2008: Supreme Court Strikes Down D.C. Handgun Ban As Unconstitutional

    In June of 2008, the United States Supreme Court upheld the verdict of a lower court ruling the D.C. handgun ban unconstitutional in the landmark case <em>District of Columbia v. Heller</em>.

  • Gabrielle Giffords And Trayvon Martin Shootings

    Gun control advocates had high hopes that reform efforts would have increased momentum in the wake of two tragic events that rocked the nation. In January of 2011, Jared Loughner opened fire at an event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), killing six and injuring 13, including the congresswoman. Resulting attempts to push gun control legislation <a href="" target="_hplink">proved fruitless</a>, with neither proposal even succeeding in gaining a single GOP co-sponsor. More than a year after that shooting, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was <a href="" target="_hplink">gunned down</a> by George Zimmerman in an event that some believed would bring increased scrutiny on the nation's Stand Your Ground laws. While there has been increasing discussion over the nature of those statutes, lawmakers were <a href="" target="_hplink">quick to concede</a> that they had little faith the event would effectively spur gun control legislation, thanks largely to the National Rifle Association's vast lobbying power. Read more <a href="" target="_hplink">here</a>:

  • Colorado Movie Theater Shooting

    In July of 2012, a heavily armed gunman <a href="" target="_hplink">opened fire on theatergoers</a> attending a midnight premiere of the final film of the latest Batman trilogy, killing 12 and wounding scores more. The suspect, James Eagan Holmes, allegedly carried out the act with a number of handguns, as well as an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine. Some lawmakers used the incident, which took place in a state with some of the laxest gun control laws, to bring forth legislation designed to place increased regulations on access to such weapons, but many observers, citing previous experience, were <a href="" target="_hplink">hesitant to say</a> that they would be able to overcome the power of the National Rifle Association and Washington gun lobby.

  • Sikh Temple Shooting

    On August 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page opened fire on a Sikhs gathered at a temple in Oak Creek, Wis., killing six and wounding four more before turning the gun on himself.