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I wonder if a new NEP is also being considered?
December 9, 2005 6:56 AM   Subscribe

Future handgun ban? Despite reassurances made during passage of C-68 that registration would not lead to confiscation, Paul Martin is promising to enable provinces to ban handguns if elected this January.
posted by Mitheral (77 comments total)

 
What the heck is he thinking? Why make the 2+ Billion dollars mostly wasted by the registry an issue for this campaign? Is he afraid that his party might actually gain some seats across the Prairies?
posted by Mitheral at 6:56 AM on December 9, 2005





posted by matteo at 7:01 AM on December 9, 2005


What the heck is he thinking? Why make the 2+ Billion dollars mostly wasted by the registry an issue for this campaign?

That was my first thought too. I would have never guessed that this would have been a major announcement from Martin's camp. Not only that, but the appeal is primarily to urban voters, and especially those in Ontario, where the Liberal vote is fairly secure anyways. Did the Liberals hire Stockwell Day's old advisors?
posted by loquax at 7:02 AM on December 9, 2005


This isn't going to do a bit of good unless it's strictly enforced on drivers coming across the US-Canada border.
posted by clevershark at 7:06 AM on December 9, 2005


The handguns have got to go. I know it'll upset the West, but, you know what? Tough. There's a gun problem in our largest cities, people are getting killed at an alarming rate (for Canada). Sure it's politics, sure it's an election bid, but can anyone here (specifically the Canadians) actually make a viable argument in defense of handguns?

And for the record, I don't have the same problem with long-arms, which I consider a seperate issue.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 7:08 AM on December 9, 2005


Non sequitur: handguns have been severely restricted in Canada for ages; the registry, because it applied to long guns, was a whole 'nother kettle of fish and affected a lot more people.

The point of the announcement was to sound tough on crime without necessarily doing much. Commentators yesterday were saying that enforcement (especially in re gun smuggling) was more important than an outright ban which, because they're already restricted, doesn't change much, from what I understand.

(Oh, and try linking to something beyond the party's press release. We do have newspapers in this country, some of which even have web sites. Posting a WTF based on a party web page lacks context. Let's see what else we can dig up ... )

(Also, I shudder to think of what will happen if every major announcement of the 2005-06 election campaign in Canada gets its own MeFi post. We're going to bore the rest of the planet, I just know it.)
posted by mcwetboy at 7:14 AM on December 9, 2005


The Globe and Mail on yesterday's announcement.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:17 AM on December 9, 2005


I saw a blogger posit that this was a way of linking the Conservatives to the NRA for the duration of the campaign, as the NRA has been invited by a Canadian Gun Lobby group to come and help them be more effective in supporting the Conservatives during the election campaign
posted by smcniven at 7:17 AM on December 9, 2005


The Toronto Star: Mayor backs Liberal "total" gun ban.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:19 AM on December 9, 2005


If we keep weapons from the terrorists, only the Americans will have weapons.
posted by Peter H at 7:26 AM on December 9, 2005


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
posted by fred_ashmore at 7:28 AM on December 9, 2005


From Canada.com: Liberals target urban ridings with gun plan; Ban won't solve gun problems, say observers.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:39 AM on December 9, 2005


Oh, this is Canada. Phew.

*goes back to shining his Steyr Aug*
posted by Plutor at 7:40 AM on December 9, 2005


Isn't there some way we could just convince everyone to keep their guns locked up and not use them until it's time to overthrow?
posted by sourwookie at 7:42 AM on December 9, 2005


I love Canada that this can even be considered. In the US, when you try to suggest that handguns are unneccessary, people get really mad. Almost as if you're threatening to neuter them. Go figure...
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:43 AM on December 9, 2005


As an American, I'm all for Canada banning handguns. Then we can watch their violent crime rate

DO NOTHING
posted by recurve at 7:53 AM on December 9, 2005


mcwetboy scribbled "try linking to something beyond the party's press release. We do have newspapers in this country, some of which even have web sites. Posting a WTF based on a party web page lacks context."

Well I always like primary sources for this kind of stuff, all the news stories were full of half ass analysis and man on the street quotes. I'd prefer us to discuss the actual party stance.

" The Toronto Star: Mayor backs Liberal 'total' gun ban"

Well if the mayor of Toronto thinks it's a good idea I'm all for it.

On the other hand Tony Cannavino, president of the Canadian Professional Police Association had this to say: "It's a nice principle, but at the end of the day, handgun ownership is already prohibited or restricted,"

Of course he also said: "What it says is, `Listen, this is not a cowboy country.' I think that's good," he said, but noted that professional criminals get their weapons illegally.

So I'm not sure we can really give creedence to anything from any polititican.

From the Globe and Mail:
Nor is there any doubt that illegal handgun use is far more prevalent in Canada's three biggest cities -- Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal -- than it was 10 years ago.

This contrasts sharply with the steady decline in the national homicide rate during the 1990s and with the decline in the use of firearms in killings. In 1989, there were 271 gun homicides; last year there were 172.

The percentage of killings involving handguns, however, had risen steadily, from about 46 per cent of gun homicides in 1994 to 65 per cent last year.


So the number of handgun deaths 1989-2004 actually declined from 125 to 112 even though the percentage had risen. The 1st paragraph doesn't really follow from the numbers, as it just seems that long gun homicide are just declining at a faster rate. I wonder if it was hand gun crime that was decreasing if we'd see a call for a long gun ban. Personally I don't see any need for sweeping action.

And:
In sharp contrast to the United States, so few Canadians commit crimes with legally owned handguns that there appear to be no statistics. In large part, that's probably because police background checks for would-be handgun owners are extremely rigorous. Any hint of a serious criminal record or psychological instability, and a rejection letter will soon be in the mail.

The overwhelming majority of handgun crimes are committed by people who don't legally own those weapons.


So let's waste a bunch more money and piss off many responsible owners and/or rural residents to gain a few media points in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto.
posted by Mitheral at 7:55 AM on December 9, 2005


The long term benefit of a hand gun ban is a growing social sense that such items are profane - they won't be sitting around in people's homes, kids grow up never even having seen one, the consumer purchase "gotta have one" mind-set doesn't kick in, so when a situation arises where one can be had or used, people are less likely to consider it, even when they've turned criminal.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:57 AM on December 9, 2005


Banning criminals seems an easier solution. The USA has a hand gun ban in the District of Columbia that seems useless looking at its crime rate.

Almost as if you're threatening to neuter them. Go figure...
Have you ever had to live under the restriction of no firearms? I have and it was in the USA - it sucked when the criminal minded people knew this about my home. Because they used it to their advantage. Criminals don't care about bans and laws --- do you see the problem.
posted by thomcatspike at 7:58 AM on December 9, 2005


So can we expect a commensurate rise in the incidence of people getting shot with rifles then?

As Mitheral notes above, criminals don't really care about handgun bans except that it makes for a less dangerous populance to prey upon. Its like the old Chris Rock bit about going to parties with metal detectors, sure you feel safe while you're there but the dudes waiting for you outside KNOW you don't have a gun.
posted by fenriq at 8:00 AM on December 9, 2005


Banning criminals seems an easier solution.

And given the burgeoning private prison industry, certainly a more profitable solution than banning assault weapons.
posted by Rothko at 8:04 AM on December 9, 2005


Yes, it's a stupid policy, even up here in la-la Liberal land. I would have hoped that Martin would avoid pandering in this campaign and stick to economic issues, but maybe people are too dim to understand the benefits of debt reduction.

I mean, Klein wipes Alberta's debt off the map and he's celebrated. Martin tries to do the same with a much, much larger debt and people don't even bother to yawn. Too bad he feels compelled to make dumb statements like this to get attention.
posted by GuyZero at 8:07 AM on December 9, 2005


I wonder if this isn't a ploy to increase urban voting rather than to convince a segment of the population to switch to Liberal. One of the things that could really hurt the Liberals in this election is low voter turn out.
posted by Mitheral at 8:09 AM on December 9, 2005


Have you ever had to live under the restriction of no firearms? I have and it was in the USA - it sucked when the criminal minded people knew this about my home.

I've been living under this restriction (self-imposed) my entire life. Also, I live in one of the most handgun-restrictive states in the nation, and it also has among the lowest rates of death from firearms.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:13 AM on December 9, 2005


Why do people keep making statements about "my home"? In Canada, a vanishingly small number of handgun deaths occur in anyone's home. (At least the ones reported in the media, if we take that as a statistical sample) Most are on the street or outside nightclubs. I recall one man was killed when a bullet went through a wall of his house - he was an innocent victim, but of a sloppy drive-by, it wasn't even a robbery. Why does this straw man keep getting brought up? Canada's gun problems have absolutely zero to do with home robberies.
posted by GuyZero at 8:17 AM on December 9, 2005


There were a total of 32,436 people killed by guns in the U.S. in 1997.

17,566 were gun suicides.
13,552 were gun homicides
981 were unintentional or "accidental" shootings.
367 were shooting deaths of undetermined intent.

So you ban guns and there are 981 folk you've saved instantly, you also probably save a large number of the gun suicides (yes they could go another route but a gun is an instant easy kill)
posted by zeoslap at 8:26 AM on December 9, 2005


I think it's brilliant politics. It forces Harper to either agree, or gives the Liberals a solid issue to hammer the Conservatives on for the duration of the campaign. The brilliance comes from the fact that it won't lose him any votes, traditional Liberals are already anti-gun, yet has the possibility, depending on how Harper reacts to win him votes.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:26 AM on December 9, 2005


The USA has a hand gun ban in the District of Columbia that seems useless looking at its crime rate.

The District of Columbia has a hand gun ban in the District of Columbia. It's hardly surprising that local measures fail when there are no borders.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:31 AM on December 9, 2005


Why do people keep making statements about "my home"? In Canada, a vanishingly small number of handgun deaths occur in anyone's home.

It's true in the United Sates, too. But it's easier to make a cheap emotional appeal when you make it sound like home invasion is the national sport and you need the gun to wave at would-be marauders. Or that rampaging hordes of career criminals are waiting to ransack your home (with you in it) if only they could be sure that you didn't have a gun.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:31 AM on December 9, 2005


it also has among the lowest rates of death from firearms.
Mayor Curley; Numbers are random and mean little in the end - your state is small looking at its land size and population. Which would have an effect of its rates being lower.

The real argument should be how can we make less criminals in society. Locking them all up is not the solution either. It seems some where in the past the battle was lost long ago here. As Society as we know it today failed both the non-criminal & the criminal. The solution may be to start at this point in time, then look back in time for the failure so it may be fixed today.

Heck, you could blame the Eisenhower era for glorifying the child's play of cowboys and indians. As in my home the pointing of a toy gun is a crime.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:39 AM on December 9, 2005


Why do people keep making statements about "my home"?

Many people are shot with their own gun in their home because after pulling a gun on an intruder, the intruder shoots them with their gun. Many gun owner are not fully prepared to use one when confronted by an intruder. So the home owner fails to properly use the gun thus being shot themselves.

If you own a gun for protection makes sure you are willing to fully use it (mentally), but mostly be trained knowing the weapon. Otherwise use 911.

P.S. What is meaner than a burglar? A wounded burglar holding your weapon.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:49 AM on December 9, 2005


It's true in the United Sates, too. But it's easier to make a cheap emotional appeal when you make it sound like home invasion is the national sport and you need the gun to wave at would-be marauders. Or that rampaging hordes of career criminals are waiting to ransack your home (with you in it) if only they could be sure that you didn't have a gun.

What Mayor Curley said, in spades. I'm always skeptical when American gun advocates raise the home invasion scenario as a reason guns should be cheap and plentiful.
However, I have not researched the topic extensively, and if anyone in the anti-gun control camp can point me towards a study or article indicating that home invasion rates are higher in Canada (or an area of the U.S. with restrictions on gun ownership), I would be interested in reading it.
posted by you just lost the game at 8:50 AM on December 9, 2005


your state is small looking at its land size and population. Which would have an effect of its rates being lower.

My state is definitely tiny in area, but it's 13th in population. So it's not small that way. Which should make the problem worse if density is high.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:50 AM on December 9, 2005


If just _one_ of the handguns used in the recent gang violence in Toronto was legal, I'd be very very surprised. As a previous poster has noted, you get checked thoroughly before owning a gun in Canada.

The firearms causing a problem are stolen or come across the border in the trunk of a car, and the folks using them are already beyond the pale. Criminals could give a shit if you pass laws banning firearms.

Useless proposal, but I guess the Libs figure it will get some votes...
posted by login at 8:54 AM on December 9, 2005


I am all for banning guns because by getting it over with we can end the jackass stupid debates about gun laws which are probably almost as dangerous as the guns themselves.

I can always cower in fear in my residence and avoid guns but there is a pretty good chance some of the "Only outlaws will have guns" rhetoric will penetrate my walls via the TV, internets, or tinfoil beanie defeating radio waves. Then my head will explode like it always does when I realize these arguments were made by people who are the end result of either creation by an omnipotent power or millions of years of selection.

Then this causes my body to evacuate wastes increasing the concentration of greenhouse gasses which melts the ice caps and causes sea levels to rise and washes my bloated rotting corpse into the sea where it enters the food chain and eventually ends up being a giant jellyfish threatening the far east's sushi supply and sushi is delicious so please just get on with the damn ban.

If you want a firearm to play with get a rifle. Then you can go get drunk and lost in the bush for the weekend and accidentally blow three toes off your foot and not even realize it until the Blue clears your bloodstream and the frostbite numbness wears off. Just like a true Canadian. If your really lucky you might even succeed in the close contest of wits and kill a large mammal and have to carve it up and feed it to your friends and relatives for the next month. You can't have that kind of fun with a handgun (unless you give it to your children to play with).

As in my home the pointing of a toy gun is a crime.

I was once disarmed by a friend's mutt when we were having a water pistol fight. The dog wasn't trained and it was completely unexpected. We both just stopped and stood there stunned that a dog could be so instinctively smart. Looking back I am still amazed at the layers of self-justifying crap evolution has added to the human mind.


Why make the 2+ Billion dollars mostly wasted by the registry


Because the gun registry waste was largely a fabricated preemptive hit on a popular (at the time) political rival in the Liberal party? The registry was over budget but not due to mismanagement of the project itself - its problems were due repeated political interference (pandering to the gun lobby actually - they got their cake and ate it too) in the date of implementation and fees affecting the programs cash flow. Another cause for the increase was that initial estimates of the programs costs were based on a different set of accounting rules than the later more inclusive and in spots ridiculous estimates (such as including the salary of gun registry search officers for every police force in canada).

Notice now that The Paul is firmly in charge of the party the issue just isn't an issue anymore. It was the second most spectacular political assassination in Canadian Politics (The Charest hit being the best ever ).
posted by srboisvert at 9:00 AM on December 9, 2005


Criminals could give a shit if you pass laws banning firearms.

Agreed. Imposing harsh minimum sentances for possesing an illegal handgun, on the other hand...

I don't think this buys the Liberals any new votes. I find it hard to believe that anyone considers this to be a key federal election issue. They may simply be trying to avoid losing ground (and possibly even one or two seats) to the NDP or the Greens. And one or two seats may make all the difference in this election. Vote splitting is starting to be a problem for them too, especially in the 905 region around Toronto.
posted by loquax at 9:00 AM on December 9, 2005


>>iAgreed. Imposing harsh minimum sentances for possesing an illegal handgun, on the other hand.

I don't think we even have harsh sentences for the _use_ of illegal firearms, forget the owning of one. I suspect the laws we already have would serve as an adequate deterrent if enforced. Anouncing more laws that won't get properly enforced is great though. /sarcasm

>>Vote splitting is starting

That was kind of my thought. I expect _any_ gun control anouncement will hurt them (Libs) in ridings they've already lost. I read this more as an attempt to shore up some urban (read Toronto) ridings.
posted by login at 9:15 AM on December 9, 2005


This is a stupid anonunement.

1) It is not a complete ban. Target shooters will get to keep their guns. (And collectors just have to become target shooters in order to keep theirs).
2) The people causing problems with guns - the criminals - aren't using registered legal guns anyways.
3) Already very few people in Canada have hundguns. According to the Canadian Firearms Centre, 24% of Canadian households own firearms, and of these only 12% own handguns. So that's less than 3% of Canadians households that have any handguns. (Unfortunately, these numbers are from 1998 and therefore kind of old, but the most recent that I could easily locate).

I'm not sure what the Liberals are trying to accomplish with this announcement. There is already extensive handgun control in this country and the gangs that are increasing gun violence will not be affected by these laws... so what's the point? I've never even held a gun let alone owned one, so I'm not some kind of big gun advocate. This just doesn't make sense to me.
posted by raedyn at 9:22 AM on December 9, 2005


If played right at the local level, this could be a smart political tool. By enabling the provinces to do this, the can have it both ways. Ontario gets the "tougher" gun laws they want, and Alberta can simply opt not to implement them. Everyone's happy (or at least not pissed). Of course, this requires the local Liberal candidates out west to explain this to voters (Alberta gets its own notwithstanding clause, in a sense).

Nice move, if it works. How effective it is (to attract votes) remains very much to be seen.

Understand, the value in this is not in its effect on the gun crime rates, but on voter's perceptions of its effect on gun crime rates.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:32 AM on December 9, 2005


This is good, this is smart. And I'm a 'westerner'. I hope talking about this chokes Harper and his neo-conmen and their 51st state agenda.
posted by Rumple at 9:41 AM on December 9, 2005


I am all for banning guns because by getting it over with we can end the jackass stupid debates about gun laws which are probably almost as dangerous as the guns themselves.

Taking away people's guns won't necessarily stop the debates. We're talking about politicians here; it's not like they need to have ever seen a handgun to have strong opinions about them. We need to get to the fundamental cause of the problem, and ban the debates themselves. Maybe create a national registry of handgun debate clubs, where talking about guns can be done in a safe and regulated environment. Then it only remains to somehow eliminate debate about gay marriage, the definition of pornography, and the importance of child care, and perhaps then Canada will be a decent place to have an election campaign.
posted by sfenders at 9:45 AM on December 9, 2005


If just _one_ of the handguns used in the recent gang violence in Toronto was legal, I'd be very very surprised. As a previous poster has noted, you get checked thoroughly before owning a gun in Canada.

The firearms causing a problem are stolen or come across the border in the trunk of a car, and the folks using them are already beyond the pale. Criminals could give a shit if you pass laws banning firearms.


Fewer guns to be stolen = fewer guns stolen, wouldn't you say that's a fair statement?

This law isn't going to be perfect, and no, it won't prevent all illegal guns from still existing. I don't think that's the point; the point is to prevent what we can with whatever laws will work. I think anything that takes guns out of the hands of the people using them is a positive step, whether or not it's going to drastically (or, by 1 death) change the crime rate or not.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 10:15 AM on December 9, 2005


"Many people are shot with their own gun in their home because after pulling a gun on an intruder, the intruder shoots them with their gun. Many gun owner are not fully prepared to use one when confronted by an intruder. So the home owner fails to properly use the gun thus being shot themselves. "

I cannot think of one single instance where that has actually happened. Seriously, I even Googled for such instances and could not find any. In fact, one of the top hits is a home-invasion attempt where the victims used the criminal's handgun against them. (One of the home invaders had a machete too)

That claim is often used by anti-gun folks but from what I can find, the stats don't seem to back it up at all.

Anyway, the point still remains - criminals don't care about firearm bans. Taking firearms away from citizens isn't going to solve much.
posted by drstein at 10:27 AM on December 9, 2005


Listen, if all it accomplishes is a compound charge against some ass waving a gun around outside a nightclub (say, assault + X bonus years for highly illegal handgun) I'll be happy. I just want it to suck more for those who insist on carrying the damn things. No, it won't make them all go away, nothing will, but I'm not going to sit here and go, "Well they're going to use them anyway, so f**k it."

Afraid of home invasion? Buy better locks. Most of us couldn't hit the broadside of a barn with a pistol - much less hit a moving target in the dark while shitting our pants with fear.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 10:33 AM on December 9, 2005


“That claim is often used by anti-gun folks but from what I can find, the stats don't seem to back it up at all.”

I think that people infer that scenario when they hear this often used slogan:

“A gun kept at home is more likely to be used on a family member than on an unknown assailant.”

And it true, not because the criminal is going to take your gun away and use it on you but because the majority of firearms deaths(in the U.S.) are suicides.
posted by Tenuki at 10:43 AM on December 9, 2005


Have you ever had to live under the restriction of no firearms? I have and it was in the USA - it sucked when the criminal minded people knew this about my home. Because they used it to their advantage. Criminals don't care about bans and laws --- do you see the problem.

Canadian criminals currently can safely assume that if they choose to break into a house, jack a car, mug a random stranger on the street etc. that the victim will not be carrying a gun. The value in the Liberals' proposal, as I see it, is that it will put resources into stopping the flow of handguns into Canada from the US, as well as perhaps making the carrying of a handgun by a criminal a proposition that carries increased risk in view of the greater penalties if they are caught. But most criminals are stupid, so I could be wrong about that last part.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 10:45 AM on December 9, 2005


I'm opposed to it, just as I was against gun registration. Neither are effective against people who are already criminals. I do believe that crimes committed with guns deserve far more severe sentences, with automatic, non-negotiable minimums.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:55 AM on December 9, 2005


Keith Talent has it - this was a masterful political move. Harper has been working very hard to present the Conversatives as a centrist, moderate party, in contrast to the picture the Lib attack ads painted at the last election. But here's one of those sort of "social" issues (like abortion, or gay marriage,) where the Conservatives will definitely disagree, and the Liberals can use it as a foundation for their image of the Tories: gun-totin', gay-hatin' 'mericuns.

loquax is right that this will appeal primarily to urban and Ontario voters. But that's the point: perhaps you've not been reading the news, but Ontario (and to a lesser extent Atlantic Canada) is where Harper is most hoping to steal seats from the Libs.

I'm for handgun banning. I can't see how the country loses from the proposition, except that it costs money I guess. But I'd rather prevent one death than have my taxes drop by $10/year or whatever the appropriate stat would be.

As for people saying that this will be ineffective as "criminals break the law", yeah well duh... But as per the linked page, the Liberals do plan other things to address those specific problems - more money for law enforcement, prevention, increasing mandatory sentencing for gun crimes.

I won't be voting Liberal, but I can certainly appreciate that it's canny moves like this that have kept them in power for the past decade and a half. Very well played.
posted by Marquis at 11:23 AM on December 9, 2005


I was once disarmed by a friend's mutt when we were having a water pistol fight. The dog wasn't trained and it was completely unexpected. We both just stopped and stood there stunned that a dog could be so instinctively smart.

Or maybe it had rabies.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:30 AM on December 9, 2005


Ontario (and to a lesser extent Atlantic Canada) is where Harper is most hoping to steal seats from the Libs

Scratch Atlantic Canada off that list. Harper dropped in here to launch the election campaign, but it's doubtful he'll return because there aren't enough seats, for one, and the odds of very many of them flipping is remote. And I say this knowing four out of four provinces here have PC premiers, and Harper's lieutenant runs in Nova Scotia. Voters here see a distinction between the old Progressive Conservative party and Harper's Conservatives. Remember this area was a sea of red in 1988 when the rest of the country was going Mulroney blue.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:00 PM on December 9, 2005


Actually, seen from the point of view of an only moderately informed foreignerer, this seems a clever ploy.
Since the point of the promise is not to ban handguns, but to give the provinces the right to do so, the Liberals can present this as strengthening the power of the provinces, something which I don't think many Western Canadians can oppose. Especially since the likes of Alberta aren't about to pass such bans. And it should go down particularly well in a certain urban Eastern province notably attached to its independence where the Liberaux have been losing ground in the last times, don't you think?

But above all, this is likely to attract lobbyists from South of the border to the campaign, and I get the feeling that few things could alienate Canadian voters more than Charlton Heston in a Conservative campaign act.
posted by Skeptic at 12:20 PM on December 9, 2005


I was once disarmed by a friend's mutt when we were having a water pistol fight. The dog wasn't trained and it was completely unexpected.

I'm surprised. Without an opposable thumb, how the hell could it pull the trigger?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:25 PM on December 9, 2005


Wait a minute...

1) Death by handgun is going down in Canada. Mitheral noted from 125 to 112.

2) Canadian career criminals use illegal firearms smuggled from the USA, not stolen domestically.

This proposal seems both unnecessary and ineffective. Why would anyone support it, exactly?

I propose that guns and gun laws have been fetishised by both sides of this debate. Yes, it's clear as (Mayor Curley pointed out) that gun owners tend to view firearms the same way they might view sports cars or viagra.

What seems equally clear is a parallel urge to make guns illegal. Given that the law is a logical dud, emotional reasons must remain.

Quoted bits follow.

a) "What it says is, `Listen, this is not a cowboy country.' I think that's good."

b) "I think anything that takes guns out of the hands of the people using them is a positive step, whether or not it's going to drastically (or, by 1 death) change the crime rate or not."

c) "The long term benefit of a hand gun ban is a growing social sense that such items are profane"

These are as much emotional arguments as they are logical ones.

Criminalization of possession shouldn't be used to send a statement, change societal opinions, or assuage our hatred of violence. Hell, I hate guns, have never owned one, and will probably never own one.

But that's no reason to start a fight with peaceful gun owners, and that's exactly what this law would be. That's not assertive, it's aggressive, and it's an abuse of the law.
posted by Richard Daly at 12:42 PM on December 9, 2005


Let me say it again: there is no reason to own a handgun. Period. Their sole use is for shooting other human beings. I am yet to hear an argument that would convince me otherwise. Not in this thread, not in the real world.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 12:51 PM on December 9, 2005


theinsectsarewaiting scribbled "I am yet to hear an argument that would convince me otherwise. "

It's not an arguement but lots of people target shoot with handguns. It's even an olympic sport.
posted by Mitheral at 1:43 PM on December 9, 2005


I've fired thousands of rounds down range with a 9mm Browning, and yet I still say ood riddance! Now whenever a handgun is seen, it could be confiscated. Whenever someone is apprehended on an unrelated charge and a handgun is found, it will be confiscated. Will it eliminate violent crime? No. Will it reduce it? Not much. Are we better off without them? Damn straight!

Our country has no use for these things in the hands of a civilian population. As to collectors, unless your gun is > 80 years old or you run a museum then boo freakin' hoo, I could care less if you think it's valuable. I know people who collect landmines from around the world (no, really), but do you think they're allowed to keep them functional? Hell no. They're all inert. Same deal for your handguns.

And for anyone thinking that hunting rifles or shotguns are next then they are just tossing out a red herring. Hand guns have no place here.

Oh, and compared to the US, you rarely see even security guards with hand guns. Only police officers, and those guards that are trucking large amounts of money, that's pretty much it.
posted by furtive at 2:24 PM on December 9, 2005


Criminalization of possession shouldn't be used to send a statement, change societal opinions, or assuage our hatred of violence.

Er, why not? It seems an eminently practical method of achieving those things.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:55 PM on December 9, 2005


five fresh fish: Some would say that government has no place telling us how to think about things, sort of like the government shouldn't tell us who we can sleep with and how we should do it. If the point of the "ban" is to save lives, well, fine (if misguided). If it's to change the way I think about guns or violence because the Liberal party knows better, well I'm quite capable of making up my own mind, thanks very much.
posted by loquax at 3:55 PM on December 9, 2005


you rarely see even security guards with hand guns.

Yeah, it's always a tiny bit unsettling to see them, on those rare occasions. Just the other day though, CBC news reported that the security guards on Vancouver's public transit system will be given guns. The very next day, the very same CBC had a story about how Vancouver police are "concerned that carrying arms has become a trend." A trend led by the city government, apparently.
posted by sfenders at 4:13 PM on December 9, 2005


there is no reason to own a handgun. Period. Their sole use is for shooting other human beings. I am yet to hear an argument that would convince me otherwise.

If you have ever been out muscled in your own home, it may serve a purpose. Lets see while unarmed; I have been shot at, had a pin knife held at my throat while driving (a foiled ganking & carjacking to me), scoped with a 306, the barrel of a 12 gauge shoved in my face and a broken bottle held to my throat when I stopped the near death beating of a man. All of these while out on the streets. In my home, I've been out muscled many times. Minus the out muscled in my home, the other instances were in part by chance and had nothing to do with bad judgement on my part Wait, my weapon of choice at home is a golf club.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:27 PM on December 9, 2005


You must live near me.
posted by IronLizard at 4:58 PM on December 9, 2005


You need to move. I've lived in heaps of weird places all over the world and never had any of those happen to me in nearly 50 years. Oh wait, I got threatened with a big sticks once by two cops in India. Does that count? Seriously, where have you been hanging out to attract so much trouble?
posted by Merlin at 5:18 PM on December 9, 2005


Oh Canada. THIS because banning drugs and alcohol have worked so well?

Prohibitions on commonly available and strongly desired things don't fucking work. Have we learned nothing?

Ok. We have another thread just a day ago where there was near universal consensus against prohibition. Yet here many of the same people are mostly arguing FOR it.

WTF?

So what if people don't NEED handguns. You don't NEED a beer or a swimming pool. And both those things kill people every year, too.

Yes. Arguably I don't need a handgun (though I believe some people might). So what. If I want a gun to use as a paper weight, stir soup, or shove up my ass it's nobodies business. I have never shot anybody. Most people who own handguns will NEVER shoot anybody. I don't care if people with guns have killed a million people a year - I know I haven't. So why can't I have one? This nanny-state argument is insane.

If your logic behind supporting a ban is supposedly ONLY about saving lives then I immediately demand you start successive threads discussing banning swimming pools and French fries.

And before you try don't give me this metaphysical crap about the intent of the object; ie: guns are intended to kill. Objects don't have intent. They have uses - each object may have many uses. People have intent.

Can't you people see what banning citizen weapons is really about? The elites and oligarchs will always be behind walls and be protected from criminals. It ain't crime they are afraid of. When there are armed citizens around they are afraid of YOU. Precisely what you WANT them to be: afraid. Give that power up you may as well burn your bill of rights next.
posted by tkchrist at 5:34 PM on December 9, 2005


I agree with tkchrist. Mostly. And I certainly use my handguns to threaten the oligarchs and elites. And sometimes the mailman.
posted by loquax at 6:51 PM on December 9, 2005



Let me say it again: there is no reason to own a handgun. Period. Their sole use is for shooting other human beings. I am yet to hear an argument that would convince me otherwise. Not in this thread, not in the real world.


Isn't shooting other human beings a reason?
Not a good one perhaps, but it's not like they're purposeless objects.
posted by atrazine at 7:19 PM on December 9, 2005


i suspect more people die in auto crashes. maybe we should ban cars instead.
posted by brandz at 8:06 PM on December 9, 2005


I would think the elite would be more afraid of scoped rifles?
Which would still be legal.
posted by Iax at 8:20 PM on December 9, 2005


theinsectsarewaiting
Obviously many people do see a reason to own a handgun that has nothing to do with shooting people. I say this because many people own handguns without shooting people.

You don't want to own a handgun? Cool, neither do I. But don't pretend like there are no reasons to own one; it's insulting to the people who do.
posted by Richard Daly at 8:48 PM on December 9, 2005


Richard Daly, if they own them for self defense (which is true of a lot of handgun ownership but not all) then they are for shooting people, yes?
posted by atrazine at 8:52 PM on December 9, 2005


tkchrist I realize we're on the same side of this issue, but damn man, breathe.

1) Objects to have a history. Weapons, as a class, were invented to kill things that moved. Those are either
--a) competing top level predators (the griz, sharks, whumpus)
--b) prey (deer and such)
--c) other people, which can be further divided into two more groups
------i ) People who need killing
------ii) People who don't

Some weapons, unfortunately, specialize in category c, sub group ii (killing the innocent). Fragmentation land mines and fuel-air bombs come to mind. I'm willing to argue for the preservation of handguns among their peaceful owners, but you're going to have to show me, or I suspect damn near anyone, a lot of data suggesting that, say, atomic land mines, should be available at Wall-Mart.

atrazine

The paradox of defense is that the less prepared you are, the more likely it is you will be attacked, and therefore the more likely it is you will need to defend yourself.

My roommate, bless his heart, has a hard time standing up for himself when the drunken fratboy bullies pick on him. Consequently, they pick on him a lot.

I, on the other hand, am prepared to defend myself (and him, for that matter). They leave me alone, and they leave us alone when we are together.

There are more ways of defending yourself with a gun than shooting people.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
posted by Richard Daly at 9:24 PM on December 9, 2005


Yes... but.
A gun is only an effective deterrent because you can use it to shoot them and they know that.

So I guess you could say that handguns can be used to shoot people or threaten to shoot them.

That being said, the same is true of long guns and I heartily endorse their ownership. I guess the difference is that you can use rifles to shoot the government (and more importantly, threaten to do so).
posted by atrazine at 10:02 PM on December 9, 2005


Who's threatening?
Asertive, polite, confidence backed by the knowledge that you're not totally fucked if things go badly is usually enough, in my experience.

There's a world of difference between that and an obscene display of superior firepower.

I'll stop quibbling now.
posted by Richard Daly at 11:20 PM on December 9, 2005


I completely support a ban on handguns.
Toronto Police Service recovered 1468 firearms in January – September 2003. Of these, 183 have been determined to be crime guns and 45 are still under investigation...
Of the 44 guns which were traced by the ATF, 32 were traced to US sources. The Task Force believes that most of the guns with serial numbers obliterated originated in Canada. They estimate that overall about 24% of the crime guns originated in the US...
From September to November 2003 Toronto Street Violence Task force seized 71 firearms: 60% were handguns.
Per capita, Americans possesses over 7 times the number of handguns that Canadians do. At the same time, the US has also had a murder-by-handgun rate that was over 14 times the number in Canada.
Since the biggest problem (proximity to the USA) is something we can't do much about, I think that taking action to reduce risk on this side of the border is a pretty good idea. Of course, not everyone agrees with me.
posted by Pseudonumb at 12:41 AM on December 10, 2005


Oh, and Mitheral, you may want to look more deeply into the cost over-runs for the gun registration system, why they occurred, and who was partially responsible.
posted by Pseudonumb at 1:18 AM on December 10, 2005


Believe me, I know the whys, whos and hows. The original projected cost was an obvious blatant lie from day one and I'm not in the least bit surprised, though still outraged, at the current numbers regardless of who is doing the tallying. The registry is an idiotic "solution" to a non existent problem. The money would have seen much greater benefit returned if we'd spent it on homeless shelters, domestic abuse shelters, or even road improvements.
posted by Mitheral at 9:37 AM on December 10, 2005


I'd like to remind the vitriolic and rather harpy-sounding Americans weighing in here that your protestations aside, whatever it is that Canada has going on with firearms has resulted in a murder rate an order of magnitude lower than what you've got.

Or in short, what we do works, and what you do does not work.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:39 AM on December 10, 2005


I should also state that I'm pissed that I can't own a long-arm without having my entire life stuck into the RCMP computers.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:40 AM on December 10, 2005


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