Should semi-automatic firearms be banned?
All semi-automatic firearms should be prohibited and confiscated, Professor R. Blake Brown urged in his submission to the Mass Casualty Commission in Nova Scotia. Despite the MCC’s attempt to hide submissions, I managed to find and criticize a copy of Professor R. Blake Brown’s paper. It’s now available here.
However, Professor Brown did not provide any evidence that semi-automatic firearm pose any greater threat to public peace than any other type of firearm. He showed scary pictures and provided examples of when semi-automatic firearms were used in multiple-victim homicides. He ignored cases involving other weapons. See here and here. He also ignored the research showing that Canadian gun bans were failures. See here. And here. And here.
Professor Blake Brown misled the Mass Casualty Commission. While he surveys Canada’s gun laws, he failed to recognize that previous Canadian firearms legislation have been ineffective in reducing homicide or multiple victim murders. See Professor Langmann’s presentation to SECU.
Notably, Professor Brown did not mention that the killer, Gabriel Wortman, possessed his firearms illegally. Wortman was prohibited from owning firearms, yet he still managed to acquire his guns illegally even though he was prohibited from owning firearms. Some were smuggled; some were stolen from the RCMP.
Professor Brown correctly pointed out that the Canadian government has previously confiscated firearms from people deemed ‘suspect.’ That does not make it morally right.
In the past, the government has confiscated firearms from ethnic minorities deemed ‘suspect,’ as Professor Brown has reported. In the 19th and 20thCenturies, the Canadian government repeatedly crafted firearm legislation so that it fell more heavily on recent immigrants than it did on Canadians of either English or Scots ancestry. Canadian gun control has at various times targeted law-abiding Canadian residents of Irish, Italian, Ukrainian, Chinese, or Japanese ancestry, as well as First Nations and Métis peoples.
Should this practice be called racism? Xenophobia? Or ethnocentrism? It’s not morally defensible.
If the government can confiscate property lawfully held and used by any group claimed to be ‘suspect,’ no one in Canada can consider their property safe from arbitrary seizure. Although it may seem outlandish and unlikely, a government influenced by radical environmentalist dogma might order the “buy-back” of internal combustion motor vehicles, and base this confiscation on vague concerns about climate change. More and more restrictions on internal combustion engines are based on these vague concerns.
Should semi-automatic firearms be banned? Indeed, the Commission’s focus on firearms may be too narrow. Rampage killers are not limited to using firearms to murder victims. A recent multiple public killing involved a driver of an SUV plowing into a crowd at Christmas time. Earlier, a similar event happened in Toronto, where the driver of a van attack killed 10 people and injured 16 others, some quite seriously.