The shootings in New Zealand stimulated calls for banning guns based on the bogus claim that semi-automatic firearms are too dangerous for civilians to own. (But not government officials, of course.) Focusing on the tool misses the real problems. Not only are there seething social tensions in Canada, but for anyone bent on murder, other tools are readily available. The worst mass murder in Canada did not involve a firearm, it was an arson attack in Montreal. Gasoline is not hard to find. Similarly, arson in the US ranks high among methods of killing the largest numbers.
The campaign against “gun violence” is about winning votes in Toronto and Montreal.
Afraid to address the real problems facing Canadians, the federal Liberals fall back on a classic red herring to fool the public, “gun violence.” Trudeau’s Liberals are desperate to sweep revelations about Ottawa corruption under the rug. Instead of attempting to deal with gang violence and high suicide rates among First Nations, the Liberals need a scapegoat to divert Canadian eyes from their failures. Gun owners are a soft target.
Bill C-71 is just the opening move in this minuet. By conflating “gun violence” with “gang violence,” the Liberals have unleashed the man-hating radical feminists to go after law-abiding firearms owners. This excites the Liberal anti-gun base in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Unsurprisingly, the parliamentary hearings on Bill C-71 degenerated into bashing men.
Bill C-71 alone can’t keep Liberal scandals out of the headlines. The Liberals need a more powerful goad to excite fears about “gun violence” week after week. Former Toronto Police Chief, Minister Bill Blair does this by flying around the country promising funding for “guns and gangs” task forces in urban media markets. He titillates the public by making radical proposals, such as banning semi-automatic firearms or requiring law-abiding owners to store their firearms in community lockups. Of course, these promises are only good if the Liberals get re-elected. And political promises tend to evaporate after election day.
The Liberal’s campaign against civilian firearms is based on faulty assumptions
Greater access to guns does not mean more criminal violence. The Liberals want the public to believe that it’s not gangs, but gun ownership itself that threatens public safety. Parliament ignores the positive role of guns in Canadian society.
It is preposterous to claim that banning something will make it disappear. Ottawa hopes people will believe that more complex firearm regulations (or gun bans) will reduce criminal violence. This is a hard sell, because almost everyone knows banning heroin and cocaine failed to eliminate drug gangs; nor did banning murder thousands of years ago eliminate that. But government arrogance is eternal.
Just how big a threat are PAL holders to public safety?
Even moose kill more people annually than do PAL holders (16 vs. 12-13).
At least ten times as many people die each year due to medical mistakes in Canada than PAL holders are accused of killing (138 vs. 12-13).
It is not rational to focus exclusively on negative aspects of civilian firearms ownership. Doing so ignores the overwhelmingly positive contribution PAL holders make to Canada – to sport, conservation, and culture.
Millions of Canadians own guns legally; most are hunters, who are the mainstay of wildlife conservation. Hunting has considerable economic benefits – tourism, managing wildlife populations, particularly predators that endanger crops and livestock. Teaching firearms safety is an important part of teaching children to take personal responsibility. Helping young people make wise individual decisions will do more to protect them from harm than will government regulations.
PAL holders have a lower homicide rate than other Canadians
Based on a Special Request to Statistics Canada, between 13 and 20 PAL holders are suspected or accused of homicid000e annually, out of 2 million PAL holders (1997-2016). Obviously not all suspects are accused; fewer still are convicted. Out of about 200 firearm homicides annually.
These miniscule numbers indicate that PAL holders are much less apt to commit murder than other Canadians. These numbers are so tiny that both Statistics Canada and the police routinely ignore PAL holders when reporting crime. As Senator Pratte has demonstrated, the lion’s share of firearm homicide is committed by criminals. (Whether it’s 93% or 88% remains a matter of dispute).
Scapegoating civilian firearms owners is a red herring to divert attention from the failures of the police and Corrections Canada. The problem is criminal violence, not gun ownership. Statistics Canada routinely reports that approximately 2/3 of those accused of homicide (and 53% of victims) have a criminal record.
Gun bans fail to reduce homicide rates
No methodologically valid study has been able to find convincing evidence that tighter gun controls, (e.g., screening of gun owners or gun bans), have reduced general homicide rates or spousal homicide rates.
For example, the Canadian government banned over one-half of all legally registered handguns back in 1995. The ban failed to help public safety. Not only did gang killings continue to increase, handguns remain the murder weapon of choice for gangsters.
Firearms Availability Does Not Drive Suicide Rates
Suicide is an act of desperation, not opportunity. Suicide rates are shockingly high among First Nations people. Politically, it is easier to blame guns rather than to attempt to grapple with troubling social problems.
Suicide Methods, Canada (2012-2016)
Even in the Territories, where guns are readily available, hanging remains, by far, the dominant method.
The focus on “assault style” firearms is a red herring to distract attention from the failure of Canada’s police agencies to cope with challenges such as escalating gang violence, money laundering, and Chinese cyber-attacks. The RCMP is stretched thin trying to cover these problems. Expanding the firearms bureaucracy is not an effective way to defend public safety.