Welcome Conversation readers!
I hope you discover things that shock your previous assumptions when reading this blog. That’s always a good thing. That’s how I got interested in guns originally.
I’d like to thank R Blake Brown for reminding Canadians that Gamil Gharbi was Marc Lepine’s original name and that young Gamil was raised by a single mother who was abandoned by her abusive husband. Gamil later changed his name to Marc Lepine in a vain effort to fit into Canadian society.
R Blake Brown uses the legality of Lepine’s firearm to insult millions of Canadians who own firearms legally and responsibly. Blake Brown assumes that Gharbi was a typical Canadian gun owner. But he provides no empirical support for this assumption. Because he can’t.
It’s an intellectual error to generalize from aberrant members of a group. This is not the first time R Blake Brown misunderstands data.
What do we know about gun owners?
Statistics Canada statistics show that Canadian gun owners are less likely to commit murder than other Canadians.
Lepine/Gharbi was an aberrant gun owner
Lepine/Gharbi owned his rifle legally. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict who will be violent in the future. Gharbi/Lepine was a disturbed individual who shouldn’t have been allowed to buy a firearm. However, it is impossible to predict who will become violent in the future. Many people have some type of mental problems but they typically function well enough in society without causing problems.
No test is perfect.
Tests always have false positives and false negatives. Health checkups can’t predict how long you will live. Nor can tests for drivers license, marriage licence, or a firearms ownership predict your future actions. Obtaining a drivers licence doesn’t predict who will drive drunk in a few years, perhaps killing someone in a drunken auto accident. It’s the same with screening someone for a firearms licence.
No solid scholarship links gun ownership to homicide. See here and here and here. Homicide is usually committed by individuals with a criminal record, and their victims often have criminal records as well. This is true for street crime as well as domestic murders. Guns aren’t the problem, it’s violent criminals.