Canada : Handgun ban idea off-target

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Canada : Handgun ban idea off-target

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2007-08-21 08:36

Handgun ban idea off-target

Evidence suggests measure is not only useless, but also harmful

A salute to Nova Scotia Justice Minister Murray Scott, and Liberal Leader
Stephen McNeil, for refusing to climb on the bandwagon being rolled out (yet
again) by Ontario's Liberal government and Toronto Mayor David Miller.
They're calling for a total ban on handguns in Canada in the wake of another
rash of shootings in cities across the country last week, including two in
Halifax - one a murder.

The point gun-ban advocates tiptoe around - or just refuse to acknowledge -
is that handguns are already essentially banned as far as the vast majority
of Canadians are concerned. Certainly they are for the gangbanger morons who
perpetrated the recent spate of gun-killings.

Handguns have been tightly restricted in Canada since 1934. Only people able
to demonstrate that they will use them for legitimate recreational purposes,
such as collecting and target shooting, or need a gun for their personal
safety can get handgun permits.

Few are granted. Even when they are, handgun-permit holders must store
registered handguns under strict conditions under lock and key. And they
have to obtain a permission certificate from police any time they want to
transport the weapon - even between their residence and the target range.
And they must transport it with a trigger lock in place.

Stolen guns

Of course, gun-ban advocates argue that even legally registered and stored
handguns can be stolen by criminals. That's a relatively remote possibility.
But I'm confident that only a tiny fraction of crimes committed with
handguns are perpetrated using stolen legally registered handguns.

You can be sure such thefts would be extensively reported. But you simply
don't hear of them very often.

No, handguns used for crime are overwhelmingly illegal ones smuggled into
the country - which are, duh, already banned.

Consequently, all a blanket handgun ban would achieve would be to punish and
gratuitously penalize legitimate, law-abiding handgun users, while doing
essentially nothing to take illicit firearms out of the hands of thugs and

As Scott commented last week, "we need to zero in on the illegal firearms,
as opposed to taking away firearms from people who use them in a lawful

The Canadian Encyclopedia notes that competitive pistol shooting is growing
rapidly in Canada, and is as popular as other forms of recreational
shooting. There are three Olympic pistol events: rapid fire and free for
men, and match pistol for women.

Federal Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day suggests a handgun ban would be
useless, and might do more harm than good.

"We have looked at other jurisdictions that have put in bans on handguns,
and it has not reduced crime with firearms, crime with handguns," Day
commented to CTV.

He's right. A 1997 study by John Lott of the University of Chicago Law
School determined that when concealed firearm-carry permits were available
to citizens in a county, murders fell by 7.65 per cent, sexual assaults by
5.2 per cent, robberies by 2.2 per cent, and aggravated assaults by seven

It also found that in American states where gun availability is higher,
crime rates were significantly lower.

Flying in the face of anti-gun propaganda and disinformation, in American
jurisdictions that have "right to carry" laws (38 states do), violent crime
rates have generally decreased. Seven of the 10 lowest-crime U.S. states
issue handgun carry-permits. Another of the 10, Vermont, requires no permit
to carry a handgun.

Tragic failure

In general, disarming of citizens has been a tragic failure, accompanied by
increasing rather than decreasing incidence of violence everywhere it's been
implemented. It serves only to embolden the still-armed criminal who still
has his illegal guns. Home invasions are a new phenomenon of the disarmed
populace era.

Incidentally, only about one-third of Canadian homicides in 2005 were
committed with firearms (including long guns). It was reported last week
that knives are used at least twice as frequently as guns in crimes of
violence in this country, with 69 per cent involving knives, while only 31
per cent involve guns.

So why no calls for knife bans?

Because that would be stupid and impractical given the ubiquity and
indispensable utility of knives, and the fact that perfectly legitimate
types of knives such as steak knives and chef's knives make extremely
efficient and effective murder weapons.

The point is that neither knives nor handguns per se are the basic problem.
You could ban both and people will still devise ways to kill each other.
Until we proactively address the breakdown of character, morality, honour
and respect in our society, violence will continue to escalate.
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
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