I am opposed to the recent Liberal ban on “assault-style” rifles, so let’s just get that out of the way because it isn’t worth writing a full column on.
Even if you support gun control the recent Order in Council (OIC) — the Commonwealth equivalent to one of Trump’s Executive Orders — was inherently flawed.
This is because, in layman’s terms, the government banned a bunch of five-round rifles because they look scary and let other five-round rifles stay because they don’t. That’s all there is to it. The Government of Canada banned some guns and let others stay because the public has a perception that if a gun is black with a rail system and attachments like a scope and flashlight it is bad.
But here’s the thing, if you’re on the pro-gun control side, you shouldn’t be celebrating this as some sort of a victory.
It would be like celebrating the defeat of obesity because you made pastries below a certain nutritional standard illegal, or celebrating the end of auto deaths because you banned all red Corvettes and blue Mustangs.
Does the gun ban do what it claims? Yes, technically it bans guns. But to suggest it has changed anything at the heart of the issue or addressed any root causes of gun violence is a laughable notion at best and a claim which is unsupported by statistics at worst.
After all, what is a gun’s function? Sure, all those little attachments are nice and helpful in a variety of situations but if you were to ask anyone they would tell you a gun shoots things.
To add insult to injury to those looking for actual gun control, many available rifles with a capacity for five round magazines are not only legal to own, but unrestricted (available to anyone who completes the standard Possession and acquisition licence [PAL] course) as well.
In other words, the victory was largely symbolic, and perhaps detrimental, in that all it did was pander to people who have a fundamental misunderstanding of firearms while pissing off legal gun owners in Canada who see the hypocrisy of these laws.
This is without mentioning the 328-million pound elephant in the room: our gun-loving neighbours down south, and the fact that banning these kinds of weapons won’t prevent another tragedy like in Nova Scotia.
The blunt facts of that shooting are this: three of the five guns which the shooter used were illegally obtained in the U.S., while the fourth was obtained illegally in Canada and the fifth was Const. Heidi Stevenson’s firearm. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has declined to specify the specific models of weapons used.
I don’t know how the individual got those illegally-obtained guns into Canada but I’d hazard two guesses: driving them through the border or smuggling them through one of thousands of kilometres of unguarded brush seperating our two countries in stark contrast to the highly-politicized US-Mexico border.
Either way, both things that the gun ban cannot control.
The harsh reality is this folks — there will always be people who use guns to commit heinous crimes, especially in our unique geographical situation. Unless you want to force people to have their vehicles torn apart every time they come into the country and “build the wall” in Canada (all seriousness aside, could you imagine Trudeau pitching this?) this is impossible. It’s the same reason we can’t ban cars in response to the numerous instances where terrorists have used them as a weapon. To quote Michael Caine in The Dark Knight, “some people just want to see the world burn.”
If you really want gun control, fight for gun bans based on function.
As for me, again, I’m not going to try to deceive anyone. I am a big supporter of legal and responsible firearm use and I think it is what sets Canadians aside from our Commonwealth brothers and sisters in terms of guaranteed self-autonomy and protection from a hypothetical tyrannical government.
I can’t end this without appealing to the pro-gun side, so I’ll say this. This is by no means over. Make no mistake that the floundering Conservatives will make an issue out of this (I guess a broken clock is right twice a day). Conservative MP Erin O’Toole has previously said if he won the party leadership he would reverse Trudeau’s decision and redraft federal firearms legislation.
Sounds good, but make sure you actually put it through Parliament.