Debate over Handguns in Canada

Canadian newspapers come out against the big pushing going on up there to ban handguns:

1) The Ottawa Citizen - 1/22/2008 - PAGE: A10
Gunning for easy answers
"There's no doubting the sincerity of his grief and anger. Indeed, outrage is an appropriate response when people kill, especially when they kill people they've never met out of indifference to human life. But outrage isn't a solution. It's an emotion that leads people to assign blame, as quickly and loudly as possible. Outraged people need rallying cries, and rallying cries must be short and simple.

But the social factors that create crime are not simple. A ban on all handguns would certainly not end gun crime. It wouldn't root out violence, or alter gang behaviour, or topple the markets in illegal drugs and weapons. . . . ."

2) National Post - 1/22/2008 PAGE: A14
Handgun bans don't work
"If restricting ownership of handguns among ordinary law-abiding citizens had a positive impact on crime, our existing laws would already have produced the benefits. Since 1934, anyone wanting to own a pistol in Canada has had to be registered with the RCMP or the federal gun registry. The application process is long and arduous. The fact that almost no registered handgun owner ever commits murder or other forms of violent crime in Canada (one of the recent Toronto shootings being a noteworthy exception) is a testament to the thoroughness of the background checks.

On top of that, since the early 1990s, Canada's 500,000 or so handgun owners have had to have police approval to move their guns from their homes, and even then may only move them under the strictest of conditions. Typically, owners must lock their guns in a tamper-resistant case, which must further be locked in the trunks of their cars. Then they must drive directly from their homes to an approved shooting range and back, making no stops along the way -- even for gas or a restroom break."

3) The Toronto Sun - 1/22/2008 - PAGE: 6 - By MARK BONOKOSKI
Despite what Mayor Miller says, a ban on handguns would do little to quell gun violence in this city -- just look to the U.K. for proof
. . .
The following year -- in 1997 -- the British Parliament passed a law banning the outright ownership of handguns.

Two years after those weapons were banned, a report by the Centre for Defence Studies at London's prestigious King College indicated the use of handguns in crime rose 40% in Great Britain -- from 2,648 incidents in 1997-98 to 3,685 incidents in 1999-2000 -- and concluded that the ban served to only target legitimate gun owners, and did absolutely nothing to target criminals.

And the problem, according to the latest figures, is worsening.

In what was cited as the "stark truth about the battle against gun crime" in Britain's major cities, gunshot murders in 2006 rose 6%, and gunshot injuries rose 10%, totalling out at 958 victims -- all of which represented a 20% overall increase in handgun shootings since the statistics were first compiled two years into the handgun ban. . . .

At least this is progress when even the Toronto newspapers are opposing the ban. On the other hand, the NDP came out for the ban.

Labels: ,


Letter From Canadian Police Officer to Member of Parliament

I received this from Garry Breitkreuz's office:

I am a peace officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and am currently posted to the xxxxxxxxxx Detachment.

One of my current responsibilities is to train new cadets that have recently graduated from Depot Division by furthering their "hands on" training in the field. I am very concerned about this new Bill regarding firearms registration. I am concerned that if it is not passed in the House that more Mounties may face the same fate as the two young men did within this last month.

This firearms registration must be abolished once and for all! I find that I have to deprogram every cadet that I train when it comes to CFRO checks and their reliability in regards to officer safety. One dark evening, myself and a newly graduated cadet had to visit a residence of someone suspected of a violent crime. The cadet told me, rather proudly, that they had conducted a CFRO check on the house and that it showed that there were no firearms present, so we would not have to worry.

I scolded his ignorance and naivety. I told him to stop and think about that for a moment. I said, "Do you honestly think that someone who is already living a criminal lifestyle and is in possession of firearms has any intention of registering them?" I told him to never place any faith in the registry and most of all, never trust that notion that just because nothing is registered to an individual then an officer's safety is insured. Conversely also, do not ever believe that just because someone has a firearm registered that they will never use it in the commission of an offence! It does not matter if a gun is registered, if someone is bent on crime they will use a registered or non-registered gun. If no gun is available, they will use something else.

In my evaluation, the registry only causes more criminal code infractions (before the amnesty) as police query law abiding citizens' guns to see if they are registered only to find out that they may not be - in spite of the claims that the owner did in fact attempt to register them; or the information on the registration certificate is incorrect, etc. making the gun owner appear negligent.

The gun registry places police officers' lives at risk. The gun registry offers a false sense of security. The gun registry is making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens. The gun registry is eating up resources that the RCMP and every other municipal or first nation force desperately need. The gun registry consumes valuable time for the average police officer on the street who has real crime to fight. Saying that the guns are the problem in this society is like saying pens are the cause of spelling errors, or that cars are the cause of drunk driving, or like saying fast food restaurants are the cause of obesity.

When will common sense prevail? People need to be held accountable for their actions - whether with firearms, alcohol, vehicles, etc. That is what the Conservatives did with the Liberals when in opposition and then on a larger scale once elected.

The gun registry brings justice into disrepute. It is an absolute waste of taxpayers money. The registry does nothing to fight the crime issues in this country. Please do everything possible to make sure that this Bill passes.

Labels: ,