NFA UN Presentation

UN BMS 6-10 June, 2016
World Forum on Shooting Activities
Sheldon Clare – Board Member

Mr. Chairman, I am Sheldon Clare, a director of the WFSA and president of Canada’s National Firearms Association. The NFA is the largest advocacy organization representing the rights of firearms owners and users in Canada and it is a member of the WFSA.  I should like to make three brief points in regards to the issue of civilian ownership of firearms.

First, Mr. Chairman, civilian ownership of firearms is a net economic benefit to society.  Hunting, sports shooting, collecting, self-defence, and the manufacture and sale of firearms, ammunition, and accessories are beneficial positive drivers for economies around the world.  Canada and the United States are important examples of this major benefit, with hunting and firearms related activities generating billions of dollars of economic gain.[1]

Second, a key element of aboriginal treaty rights in Canada is that access to firearms and supply of ammunition is often found as part of treaty obligations to native peoples in order to support hunting rights.[2] Besides the obvious sports benefits, civilian ownership and use of firearms is a legitimate and often necessary defensive requirement in modern civil society.  UN efforts need to remain focused on State actors, not civilian firearm communities and cultures within states.

Third Mr. Chairman, the research from Canada has conclusively demonstrated that control of civilian arms firearms is expensive, bureaucratic, harmful, and has little to do with reducing criminal misuse of firearms. Using government data, Dr. Caillin Langmann has demonstrated conclusively that none of Canada’s firearms control efforts, including licensing and registration, from the 1970s forward have had any effect upon reducing violent crime rates.[3]  It is clear from recent events in Europe and other jurisdictions that the need for civilians to protect themselves and others is as important as ever.

Finally Mr. Chairman, civilian owner and user groups have significant expertise with firearms and ammunition, and legitimate concerns about repeated misdirected attempts to blame civilian firearms ownership for criminal activity and problems of international mass violence. This expertise should be thoroughly consulted before making changes potentially affecting the rights, lives, and livelihoods of millions of people.

In conclusion Mr. Chairman, we hope you will take these suggestions in the spirit they are offered. We do thank you for making this time available to us for our contribution.

– – – – –

[1] The economic effect in Canada has been documented in: Canada. Tourism Commission. Sport Fishing and Game Hunting in Canada – An Assessment on the Potential International Tourism Opportunity. CTC Research and Evaluation, October 2012, pages 3-29.

 [2] For more information see the texts of various treaties between Canada and aboriginal people, including, but not limited to Treaty 4 and Treaty 6. Available online at: https://web.archive.org/web/20150508194337/ http://www.canadiana.ca/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals7_e.html#othertreaties; see also:  https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100032291/1100100032292

 [3] Dr. Caillin Langmann, MD, PhD.   “Canadian Firearms Legislation and Effects on Homicide 1974 to 2008.“ Journal of Interpersonal Violence.  From the summary: “This study failed to demonstrate a beneficial association

between legislation and firearm homicide rates between 1974 and 2008.”  Available online at: http://jiv.sagepub.com/content/27/12/2303.abstract