February 10, 2013
Those American Gun Laws 😟
Ya, Sure, Sure … Everybody Should Be Totin’ A Gun …
I watched an episode of The Fifth Estate recently called Crossfire … The Furious Fight Over Guns In America … very interesting. I’ve gotta say it though … some of those “guns for all” interviewees are so extreme! It’s an all or nothing proposition with them. There’s no discussion, no compromise, no willingness to see a bigger picture (and not much common sense either, I’d say!). When I heard the press release again that the president of the NRA made 3 days after the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut – that all schools in America should have armed police officers on duty everyday and then his comment in a later press release that every adult in a school should be armed … I just shook my head. That’s so sad … it really is! It’s hard to believe that anyone would want the children of their nation to be saturated in an atmosphere like that during their precious childhood years. Armed police officers in elementary and junior high schools? Armed principals and teachers in all schools? Armed custodial staff for Pete’s sake! Are those people for real? Not only that, but who’s going to pay for all this? It seems that the NRA folks who came up with this so-called “idea” couldn’t have spent a moment with a calculator before offering what is .. imho … an absurd solution to the big, big problem that the USA has with its gun laws.
The NRA types rant and rave about the American Constitution and their precious 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. Now don’t get me wrong – I firmly believe that’s it’s absolutely critical for a country to have a strong, solid Constitution. And … although there are certainly some differences between the Canadian Constitution and that of our neighbors to the south, the citizens of both countries are very fortunate to live in democratic societies where leaders are elected to office for set terms because of the Constitution that each country enacted all those years ago. But … when I hear them saying words to the effect that we Canadians know nothing and how dare we question the wisdom of their forefathers, I can’t help but say, seriously? For one thing, I say to them, there’s a very large (and growing) number of your own people who think American gun laws must be changed immediately. And for another thing, the founding fathers of America lived in an era that pre-dated even the Wild Bill Hickok era … there was no such thing as an AR-15 assault rifle. For that matter, at the time that the American Constitution was being drawn up, automatic weaponry had not yet been invented! And, as wise as they certainly were, those great men could never have contemplated what the world would be like in this day and age.
Apparently there are close to 3 million of those things … AR-15 assault rifles that is … floating around down there! Oh and by the way … they’re legal here in Canada too (I know! And I agree, it’s ridiculous!). But … at least an AR-15 assault rifle is classified as a restricted firearm in Canada and can only be legally purchased by a person who has obtained a permit for the purchase and possession of restricted firearms. On top of that, AR-15’s (like all restricted firearms in Canada) must be registered and can only be used at a shooting range. We have strict rules around the storage and transportation of firearms here too so … for example … if you sleep with a loaded gun under your pillow and your 11 year old finds it and proceeds to accidentally shoot out your neighbor’s windows with it, you the owner will most likely be charged with – minimally – careless storage offences (and then, a worker from Social Services aka Child Protection Services may very well pay you visit … loaded firearms that are easily accessible to children … not in this Country!). Even so, we’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 to 4000 of the stupid things that have been purchased legally (AR-15s … there are plenty of other restricted firearms in this country!). And who knows how many illegal firearms there are … most of which have been smuggled into Canada from the US (but that’s a whole ‘nother story!). It’s all relative though … Canada’s population is around 35 million while the population of the US is sitting somewhere around 314 million. We have some strict laws around the production and sale of firearms … they don’t. It stand to reason that we have fewer guns of all types per capita than they do.
If these weapons aren’t to be banned completely (which would definitely be my vote!), then in my estimation, our Canadian gun laws are preferable by far to American gun laws. I’m glad Canada requires that people get checked out pretty thoroughly before being given an authorization to purchase and possess unrestricted firearms and that there is even further scrutiny for people wanting to purchase/possess restricted firearms (such as AR-15 assault rifles) in that they must qualify for a restricted firearm permit (and then, as mentioned above, the firearm must be registered). I love that our Canadian culture is such that most Canadians DO NOT own any type of firearm although I must admit that I was quite surprised to learn that Canada ranks 3rd in the world for number of gun owners overall! Apparently though, the USA ranks #1 and is considered to be the “most armed country in the world“. (Surprise, surprise, eh!)
Please note … I’m not naïve … Canada’s laws are far from perfect and there’s way too much gun violence here too! I really do believe though that Canadians have a better handle on gun laws than do Americans at the present time.
And what say you? Are you for tougher gun laws?