The Canadian National Post on the new Liberal Party Handgun Ban
The proposed handgun ban is a symbolic, politically motivated act -- and would be as ineffective here as similarly motivated bans have proven to be in other countries. As the Liberals surely understand, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegal weapons. According to one Statistics Canada study of gun murders, 84% of the firearms used were not registered. Criminals are surely no more likely to submit to a legislated gun ban than they were to register the guns in the first place.
Mr. Martin has made much of the fact that the Liberals' new plan would borrow heavily from the Australian model. But that nation's gun control experiment has been a failure. As John R. Lott pointed out in these pages in October, Australia saw its crime rates rise 32% and its armed robbery rates rise 74% in the six years following the nation's adoption of tougher gun controls in 1996. The U.K. fared little better after it banned handguns in 1997, as gun crimes almost doubled in England and Wales from 1998-99 to 2002-03.
It is hard to accept that Mr. Martin seriously believes that violent criminals, the same goons who do not think twice about committing a murder, will submit to the prohibition, or indeed that it will have any impact on the problem whatsoever. The idea, then, that he would campaign on it with his tongue in his cheek makes it all the worse.
Not only would such a prohibition be ineffectual, it would also unfairly target all the law-abiding handgun owners -- the target shooters and collectors -- who have dutifully (and, as it turns out, naively) registered their guns for decades, believing the government's assurances that, no, registration was not to be the first step toward confiscation. We now see that it was. . . .