Opinion Piece – We’ve seen all this before.
The gun control narrative for fifty years follows a familiar pattern. Some violent crazy person takes out his or her frustrations on others in an act of mayhem. People want to prevent such an incident from happening again, but instead of addressing the root cause of the incident, governments attempt to go after the tool – at least, when that tool is a firearm. The pattern continues, firearms owners and leaders of gun groups are contacted by media for comments on an incident which they have no connection with, except that they are now being forced to justify their peaceful activities of sport shooting, collecting, hunting, and personal defence – all under threat of having property confiscated and these activities ended. The reaction to feel-good legislation attacking firearm rights is predictable: firearm owners organize politically and fight back. Since they are generally individuals with resources and time which gives them the freedom to pursue expensive activities like firearm ownership and the shooting sports, they put their time and resources to work.
The next phase is the one in which leaders of gun groups are called racists, extremists, or connected with dark eminences referred to as the “gun lobby”, which is also wrongfully accused of being directed by uncaring interests in the US. Liberal MP Pam Damoff, in one of her typically looney pronouncements, even claimed that “…gun owners are law-abiding until they aren’t.” The uncomfortable truth for some is that ownership and use of firearms is a strong Canadian tradition with far more participants than hockey. People who own firearms have many reasons for doing so, and very few will ever give them up for reasons which they know will never prevent the next spree-murderer.
Gun control laws that force firearms owners to be licensed and checked daily, require registration of any firearms, and classify firearms, magazines and accessories into categories intended to prevent and limit lawful uses have nothing whatsoever to do with preventing criminal misuse of firearms, limiting the effect of firearms in criminal acts, or making Canada safer. In fact, what these actions really do is to divide Canadians into irreconcilable political camps. Both camps have at their essence some desire for security, but there are significant and stark differences about whether or not such a goal is achievable, and if it is, how it can be achieved. Fifty years of gun control laws by successive governments has never affected criminal behaviour rates. Nothing the Liberal government proposes now, or that any government has enacted in the past, to limit lawful access to firearms will do anything more than add a significant cost to the federal debt.
The false claim of gun control efforts is that they will somehow prevent the next run-amok from using firearms to harm people. Gun control has never been able to do that. Firearms owners know that gun control takes away security, rather than providing it. We are well aware that gun control has always been about civil disarmament, marketed as crime prevention, and sold as necessary for achieving a mythical public safety. If the government really wants public security, then it’s time to break the pattern and start rolling back fifty years of expensive and irresponsible gun control.
Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users. Canada’s National Firearms Association is the largest Canadian organization fighting for the rights of Canadian firearms users. NFA is a registered UN NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC.
Sheldon Clare, M.A.
President, 250-981-1841 Sheldon@nfa.ca
Canada’s National Firearms Association (NFA)