Well, As you pointed out earlier, we don't know the total context. Perhaps there had been a previous scare, or something recent in the caller's mind that would put them on edge or made them feel this was not normal behaviour. In any case, unfounded or not, once called, the police had the obligation to respond. In the US they would, in this case, be operating under both Good Faith and Terry, as there would be (presumably) reasonable suspicion that a crime is being or about to be committed allowing the police to conduct their business.
That said, you can infer there are additional details not added into the article by virtue of a SWAT team showing up. In the US (I Know Canada is slightly different), SWAT is not a first response, Patrol Ops are (beat cops). Generally, a supervisor at the scene makes the decision to initiate a call-out, and there are criteria that must be met in the first place. It takes time for a SWAT team to be set up (call members in, get equipment/vehicles, set up command post, relieve/debrief first responders)
Don't forget there are also Moral Obligation (welfare) calls (Personally I think this is one, but there's not enough in the article one way or the other). Simply put, while not criminal per se, Police in the US are obligated to check on the welfare of individuals (unable to care for themselves, suicidal, etc) and get them help, if needed. Sometimes, those end up in SWAT call outs as well (Ie suicidal individual w/gun barricaded in a home).
I refuse to make assumptions. Given what was written there, I think this was a gross overreaction. The only indication the articles gives on the man's state of mind is to say he wad sitting and the gun was laying on is desk. He wasn't even holding it, much less waving it around.
Just owning a gun and letting other people see it does NOT constitute reasonable suspicion. Unless the woman on the phone is able to point to something threatening in the man's demeanor, or there have been threats for the area or other outside circumstances, there is no reason to call in SWAT. There is nothing in the article to indicate such a situation, so given the knowledge at hand I can't agree with the actions taken by the police. Sending a couple cops to check it out is no big deal, but sending in SWAT and handcuffing him? Good grief.
The rest of your post makes assumptions, and attempts to tell a story based on them to fit your arguments. I refuse to argue hypotheticals, which essentially any argument based on an assumption must necessarily become.
Edit to add another reply:
Ok, this thread could get highly political any second, so I'm just going to post some facts about Canadian gun control law here. Please don't devolve into calling them stupid laws. Last thing we need is a flame war about guns. Anyway:
Gun ownership is not a constitutional right in Canada. Period. It is, however, a legal right, so nearly anyone can own a gun anyway.
Most rifles and shotguns are Non-Restricted Firearms, because they have important utilities in rural areas. You still need a Non-Restricted Firearms License to own or use one.
Handguns are Restricted Firearms in Canada. This means you need a Restricted Firearms License to own them.
Automatic weapons, any gun you'd think of as "Wow that's big," is a Prohibited Firearm, and require a Prohibited Firearms License to own. I imagine this requires serious ability to jump through hoops, or an excellent reason otherwise.
Illegal guns are the only guns obtainable without a license. Naturally, they are very, very
illegal. I suggest not getting one. :P
Each individual gun has to be registered with the Gun Registry. There is legislation being debated to take rifles and shotguns off the registry, for various reasons. Handguns and BFGs are unlikely to ever be removed from the registry, however, because they have no notable mundane utility. A rifle is more useful, and can't be easily hidden.
Transporting Non-Restricted guns is not illegal. Transporting a Restricted/Prohibited firearm is illegal without obtaining a temporary authorization from the government.
Displaying a gun in a public place, in a way that is likely to cause a breach of the peace, is illegal. Any gun at all. This applies to Police and Security Guards as well, though there are some exceptions, like when guarding objects of extreme value, or when SWAT is called obviously. A lot of cops are not armed at all when on duty, beyond tasers, pepperspray, that sort of thing. This is basically why SWAT showed up in this case. In Canada, an unregistered probably illegal handgun on display by someone with no license = intent to kill. That's the only logical conclusion anyone can make. Luckily, it turned out to be made of lego, which is not a logical conclusion to jump to at all, but is sort of funny. :)
Anyway, hope that clears things up a bit.
Well, there ya go. In Canada, this was the correct response, since having a gun in plan sight IS against the law (unless expressly allowed by the government). Thanks for clearing that up, MooseHowl, that was the question I asked in my first post, I think. In the U.S., I still think this would be a gross overreaction, but that is only because the laws are different.