Debate and education is needed in the gun debate
Last Friday the prime minister of Canada announced the prohibition of 1,500 guns in the Dominion. There is so much to say about this alarming development in the country that I could probably write a book.
If we are going to criminalize up to 2.2 million of our neighbours and confiscate their legally acquired property we must do so with facts and compassion. Anti-gun advocates and the prime minister are inclined to propaganda, fear mongering and outright lies. Firstly, and most importantly, gun owners are not serial killers in waiting. In fact, you are one-third as likely to be killed by a legally owned firearm owner as you are by a regular citizen. That puts the odds in the range of being struck by lighting. There are no laws that would have stopped the Nova Scotia tragedy, or for that matter any of the other gun related tragedies that have happened in this country. Gun owners also grieve for the victims.
Second, ‘no one needs guns that are designed to kill people’. Cars aren’t designed to kill people either, but they do and often maliciously. Look, guns like the infamous AR 15 and mini-ruger Varmint are excellent guns in that they are reliable, easy and relatively cheap to shoot, have lots of accessories and are used to hunt small game. Farmers love the mini-ruger Varmint to shoot coyotes and other small pests (yes these guns are used for hunting). Neither of these guns are used to hunt large game because, ironically, they are not lethal enough. Lethality of a gun is largely dictated by its calibre. Regular hunting rifles are far more lethal than these now prohibited guns. The AR 15 is involved in so many U.S. tragedies (none in Canada) because it is such a popular gun, i.e. common. Neither of these guns are ‘assault’ weapons. In fact, most variants of the min-ruger are not even ‘assault-styled’.
Even if I were an anti-gun advocate, or apathetic, I would be very concerned how this policy was implemented; no public representation, no real consultation, during a pandemic, the use of propaganda, fear mongering and outright lies, and the criminalization of millions of citizens in a manner in which tyrannies enact laws. In two years the police will be breaking down the doors of your neighbours looking for these guns instead of protecting you from criminals.
If I were a gun enthusiast or hunter not effected by the current ban, I’d be concerned because the prime minister said this is just the start (and they might break your door down in two years to check your gun stash).
If we are going to confiscate our neighbours’ lawfully acquired property after unilaterally making them criminals, it is important that we do so with real facts and real debate, including some sort of parliamentary oversight and public education. Gun owners should also have the right to defend their beliefs in the public forum. The media has a responsibility to allow this debate and for the education to happen.
I would be concerned about any political party or politician, even if they support the ban, that would support the non-democratic process in which it is being carried out. Please remember that when we next exercise our voting franchise.