Category Archives: rights

Who ‘needs’ a gun?


This is an excellent editorial by Lorne Gunter at the National Post.  He perfectly summarizes one of the core issues of the gun control debate in Canada.

Who ‘needs’ a gun?

Lorne Gunter, National Post · Nov. 2, 2011 | Last Updated: Nov. 2, 2011 3:07 AM ET

On Tuesday morning, members of the National Post editorial board – a group that includes me – got into a fascinating email debate regarding the federal government’s decision to decommission the long-gun registry. We then segued into a discussion of the possibility of increasing restrictions for several makes and models of rifles that the previous Liberal government had deemed non-restricted.

“The point of getting rid of the gun registry was supposed to be that it criminalized farmers and hunters,” one of my colleagues wrote. “But now the Conservatives [might] delist sniper rifles and the kind of semi-automatic used in the Norway massacre. Why do farmers and hunters need sniper rifles that can pierce armour from a kilometre away?”

I do not own a gun. I have never owned a gun and can’t imagine I ever will. As objects of utility or recreation, guns hold little fascination for me.

My interest in guns is purely philosophical: I can’t trust any government that doesn’t trust my law-abiding fellow citizens to own whatever guns they want. It’s the instinct to ban – rooted in the notion that governments or “experts” know better than we ourselves what is best or safest for us – that scares me far more than the thought of my neighbour owning a sniper rifle. The banning instinct is never slaked. Once it has succeeded in prohibiting guns, it will turn itself to offensive speech or unhealthy food.

Even the notion that there are guns that can be readily identified as a “sniper” or “assault” rifle is specious. There is no definition of either that would be useful at law. Every country that has ever imposed a ban on certain types of rifles has encountered the same problem: It is impossible to define which rifles are safe for civilians and which are too dangerous, based on muzzle velocity, barrel length, bullet calibre, scope, etc. So in the end, each jurisdiction (Canada included) has been forced to resort to arbitrary and irrational criteria, such as that one model looks scarier than another. Typically the more military a rifle looks, the more likely it is to be banned, even if it is not operationally one bit different from a civilian “hunting” rifle.

But above all, it always worries me when the concept of “need” enters the debate, as in (to quote one of my colleagues): “Why do farmers and hunters need sniper rifles?”

The concept of “need” is antithetic to freedom in a democracy where the citizens are sovereign. No one needs a car that goes more than 110 km/ hr, because that is the highest speed limit in the country. So should any of us who want to drive more than a Smart Car or Fiat have to go cap in hand to a government official and explain our “need” for, say, a sports car, before we are granted the right to buy one? Many more Canadians – thousands more – are killed by speeding automobiles each year than by high-powered rifles that are beyond what ranchers “need” to kill coyotes.

If you are guilty of no crime, what you “need” is none of my business, or the government’s. In fact, it is the reverse. Any government that seeks to restrict the liberties of law-abiding citizens should have to prove it needs to do so, and that it is not just pandering to popular emotions and political sentimentality.

One editorial board member said he would feel completely “free,” even if he were prevented from buying a high-powered rifle. But it’s easy to give up a liberty that is unimportant to you. The reason we non-gun owners should stick up for owners’ rights is that someday it may be our rights that are under attack. Someday, the banners who are going after guns may decide that eliminating hate speech (as they define it) is more important than defending free speech. And if we free-speechers don’t stand with gun owners against the banners today, why would the gun owner stand with us tomorrow?

lgunter@shaw.ca

Disarming the harmless doesn’t reduce crime, it reduces freedom


George Jonas hits one out of the park with this excellent Op Ed piece on gun control.  I only wish our lawmakers had such a solid grasp on common sense.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/01/18/george-jonas-disarming-the-harmless-doesnt-reduce-crime-it-reduces-freedom/

It was predictable for anti-gun activists to surface after the Tucson tragedy of Jan. 8. Some are the same opportunists who tried blaming the attempted assassination of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, but others aren’t political. They’re simply gun-shy. It’s a condition, I suppose, or at least a phobia, beyond the reach of reason.

Gun-shy folk have this much in common with gun-enthusiasts.

Guns are loved and hated irrationally. Some people admire firearms, collect them, fondle them, all but have sex with them. Others abhor guns, consider them pornographic, react to them as Victorians did to risqué remarks. Both types are equally alien to me, but they aren’t equal.

Former Toronto mayor David Miller was gun-shy. (I imagine he still is.) He tried making Toronto a gun-free zone, or said he would. He wanted Torontonians to have no guns, gun clubs, gun collections or shooting ranges within the city limits. He himself had no guns, presumably, or any interest in shooting.

Had the former mayor been a gun enthusiast, much as he may have collected guns and visited shooting ranges himself, I doubt if he would have tried obliging his fellow Torontonians to do so.

Here’s the difference. Those who love guns rarely demand that you share their admiration, but those who hate guns demand that you share their aversion. Firearm-philiacs make no attempt to persuade, let alone oblige, anyone to have a love affair with guns, but firearm-phobiacs use the law at every turn to make their hatred obligatory. Gun-lovers understand something about freedom; gun-haters understand only coercion. In the gun debate, the peaceniks are the bullies.

What about the merits of the debate? Immaterial. Love and hate are beyond debate. Ex-mayor Miller, for instance, used to talk about public safety. He and I may not have shared many soft spots, but I’d defy anyone to have a softer spot for public safety than me. I pose no threat to my townspeople and I prefer my townspeople to pose no threat to me. Yet the same goal — public safety — would lead Miller and me to entirely different policies. His instinct would be to control guns; mine, to control crime.

Gun-control advocates would disarm the harmless, and leave them defenceless against the harmful they can’t disarm. If I couldn’t disarm the harmful, which would be my first choice, my second choice would be to arm the harmless, or at least encourage them to arm themselves.

Disarming the harmless is easier, of course. Passing a law is all it takes. People who don’t much shoot people pay attention to laws. Many even pay attention to bylaws. Pass a bylaw that says “give up your guns, please” and by golly, they’ll give ’em up.

In contrast, disarming the harmful may be impossible. They’re scofflaws. They don’t obey.

Politics, as they say, is the art of the possible. Mayors are politicians, practical people, favouring practical solutions. Passing laws for the law-abiding is practical because they’ll generally abide by them, while passing laws for the lawless is impractical for they will rarely do so.

For politicians, the matter seems simple. Only impractical people advocate measures that depend for success on compliance by the lawless — they say — when with the same effort they could put laws on the books that depend for success on compliance by the law-abiding. What’s the use of passing laws that people don’t obey, such as “thou shalt not kill?” We’ve hundreds of such laws on the books. “Don’t carry illicit handguns; don’t peddle illicit drugs; don’t shoot up the neighbourhood.” They’re all laws that cost a mint to enforce, to little avail. The practical thing is to pass laws that people do obey, such as “no shooting ranges within Toronto city limits.” Switching from low-compliance-rate laws to high-compliance-rate laws is the ticket.

It’s a ticket, all right — but a ticket to what? If the destination is public safety, gun collectors aren’t in the way, either in Toronto or Tucson. Citizens using guns in self-defence aren’t in the way, either. They aren’t making our cities unsafe. What makes our cities unsafe is drug-dealing youth gangs shooting at each other and hitting passers-by. Or deranged individuals hearing voices that urge them to shove people in front of subways. Or the authorities defending shoplifters against shopkeepers more keenly than shopkeepers against shoplifters, as they did in Toronto last year.

Outlawing shooting ranges within the city limits won’t change that. No passer-by has ever been shot at a Toronto shooting range. Threats to public safety don’t come from insufficient laws but insufficient people: teenage mothers, drug culture, youth gangs, mental illness. The problem? Try political correctness, self-censoring politicians, irresolute courts, hamstrung police. People obeying good laws reduces crime; good people obeying bad laws reduces only freedom.

One cannot restrict the defiant by constraining the compliant. A law that obliged everybody within Toronto city limits to breathe would bring 100% compliance from the living and no significant change of behaviour from anyone else.

National Post

Hunting ducks, protecting families


Excellent editorial from today’s National Post.

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/Hunting+ducks+protecting+families/3577605/story.html

George Jonas, National Post · Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010

Did Canada’s firearm-phobic urban elites score an own goal? Did they open up a political opportunity for Stephen Harper? Many commentators seem to think so.

I’m not as sanguine as some, but if, by their narrow rescue of the registry, Ottawa’s gunless wonders did elevate a wasteful program of loony liberalism into an election issue, it may open up an opportunity to re-examine the debate about gun control.

The police carry guns for a reason: They’re great tools for law enforcement. Letting firearms become the monopoly of lawbreakers, far from enhancing public safety, is detrimental to it. Canada has gone out of its way to make criminals as invincible, and victims as vulnerable, as possible. This wasn’t the aim of gun control, of course, only the result.

Canada isn’t alone. Two years ago, terrorists in Mumbai, India, claimed some 500 casualties, dead and injured. Among the many questions raised by the outrage, there was a purely practical one: Why was the attack so successful? How could so few terrorists claim so many victims?

One obvious answer, as I wrote at the time, was firepower. Guns were illegal in the hands of both the terrorists and the victims. The victims obeyed the laws, the terrorists didn’t. A Mumbai-type atrocity couldn’t have happened in Dodge City–or in Edwardian Europe, for that matter, where gentlemen routinely carried handguns for protection — but it could happen again at next month’s XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

Some regard carrying guns uncivilized. Would you call an era of legal guns in the hands of Edwardian gentlemen less civilized — or less safe — than our own era of illegal guns in the hands of terrorists and drug dealers? I wouldn’t. The civilized place was turn-of-the century London, where citizens carried guns and the police didn’t.

Society needs crime control, not gun control. Violent crime in America declined in the past 20-plus years after a majority of states enacted “right to carry” legislation. There may have been several reasons, but the “right to carry” was clearly one.

There are Second Amendment absolutists in America, and libertarians elsewhere, who regard a person’s birthright to own/carry a firearm beyond the state’s power to regulate. I’m not among them. Communities set standards for many things, from the possession of exotic animals to the operation of ham radios; why not lethal weapons? But our aim should be to enhance, not diminish, the defensive capacity of the good guys, and increase rather than decrease the number of auxiliary crime-fighters who are available to be deputized when the bad guys start climbing over the fence.

The relationship between citizens and the law is magnificently simple. Citizens are the law. Not the bureaucracy, not the police, not the pundits: Citizens. It’s all right for people to take the law into their own hands because in a free society the law is, in fact, in their hands. It is the people who delegate the power of law enforcement to the police, not the other way around.

The police may think they license citizens to carry arms, but they don’t. It’s citizens who license the police. They license them to carry arms, to enforce the law, to investigate crime, to serve and protect. All power flows from the public to the authorities, not the other way around.

In free societies, that is. There are societies where power flow is reversed. They’re called police states.

Canada isn’t a police state and we don’t want it to become one– not even our gun-shy urban elites, most of them. The police chiefs with their disarming rhetoric aren’t looking for a police state, either; it’s just that “the police-man’s lot is not a happy one,” as Gilbert and Sullivan pointed out, and being the only ones armed would make their lot happier.

Maybe so, except an arms monopoly only serves and protects the police, not the public. While we support our cops, making police work congenial isn’t Canada’s national purpose. Our entitlement to carry arms, unlike our American cousins’, stems from no particular provision of a constitutional amendment, but intrinsically from our fundamental traditions of freedom, subject to whatever conditions we choose to impose on ourselves.

If the gun registry becomes an election issue, it may serve as a reminder that guns aren’t only for hunting ducks, but also to help people safeguard themselves. It’s as proper for citizens to defend their homes in peacetime against domestic robbers as to defend their homelands in war against foreign invaders. People who defend their families act as honourably as those who provide for their families. They must do so within the law, needless to say, providing or defending, in war or in peace, but as long as they do, one type of action is simply an extension of the other.

If someone could persuade criminals and lunatics to obey gun control, it would be a splendid idea. As long as only law-abiding citizens obey it, it amounts to countering stray cats by neutering vets: Showy, but not very useful.

Disarmament Man


In the final days before the vote on C-391 to kill the long-gun registry, here’s a little something for gun control advocates to ponder.

Author unknown

Gun Control: The Ultimate Human Rights Violation


I stumbled upon this article today and thought it worthy of being re-broadcast.  Enjoy!

Gun Control: The Ultimate Human Rights Violation
by A.W.R. Hawkins
Posted 06/03/2010 ET

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=37303

Lucid students of the political sphere have certainly noticed that liberals are now using the phrase “human rights” even more than they once used their old standby, “civil liberties.” Of course they rarely define human rights, and even when they try, the definition varies depending on the goal of the person that’s using the phrase.

But this doesn’t stop them from having international conferences on human rights, dumping money into organizations like Human Rights Watch, and allowing surviving members of the Woodstock crowd to charge America’s military with violating human rights while simultaneously giving Iran a seat on the U.N.’s Women’s Rights Commission.

Perhaps the two clearest threads in all the human rights jargon are the focus on international law coupled with a potent strain of anti-Americanism. This is a combination that can be deadly when accurately aimed at national sovereignty or individual rights.

The most telling aspect of the left’s obsession with human rights is not so much what its proponents claim to defend but what they would be happy to sacrifice. And one thing all human rights activists are perpetually ready to jettison is the right Americans enjoy in keeping and bearing arms.

Ironically, this right, summarily stated in the 2nd Amendment, should be the lynchpin of any honest pursuit of human rights. Thomas Jefferson made this clear when he equated a government-backed prohibition against defending one’s self with a government-backed denial of “the most basic of nature’s rights.”

When one reads Jefferson’s statement in light of his many writings on nature’s laws and the benefits of private gun ownership, it’s clear he was implying that the denial of the right to self-defense with a firearm is essentially a denial of one of the core aspects of what it means to be human.

In other words, gun control actually steals part of our humanity.

How much worse of a human rights violation can exist than one that actually separates the “human” from the “rights”?

None of this is hard to understand if we just imagine a woman who lives alone, and is being stalked by a dangerous man. She goes to a gun store to buy a handgun with which to protect herself, but because she lives in Chicago, Mayor Daley will not allow her to purchase a gun. Thus she goes home, and hopes the lock on her door will hold.

When he’s ready, the stalker becomes an intruder who breaks the door open, assaults the woman, and then leaves with a smile on his face. After reflecting on the matter he realizes the woman has no means with which to defend herself, so he goes back for more, and in time, as his callousness increases, he goes back more frequently. He knows the woman is helpless to stop him because she has been denied that “most basic of nature’s rights.”

In this scenario, how long would it be before the woman felt less and less like a woman and more and more like a dog? How long would it be before she had a thorough understanding of what Jefferson meant when he coupled gun control with the denial of a core aspect of what it means to human?

America remains a shining city on a hill in this dark world, partly because we still have the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of our lives and property. In light of Jefferson’s writings, I don’t think I go too far in saying that this one freedom goes a long way in keeping our humanity intact.

If you ever doubt the degree to which private gun ownership and the freedom to use those guns for self-defense upholds our humanness, just head on down to El Paso, Tex., where the murder rate is around 23 victims annually. Then lock up your gun in the United States and cross the border into Juarez, Mexico, where the natural right to keep and bear arms has long been suppressed and where the murder rate, at 2,500 to 3,000 annually, is startling.

Once you get to Juarez, it won’t be long till you feel like the woman who sat in her apartment staring at the door, hoping the lock would hold up under pressure because it was the only line of defense she had against her assailant.

Gun control could just be the ultimate human rights violation.

And if we ever give up our guns in this great nation, we will ultimately give up our humanity.

HUMAN EVENTS columnist A.W.R. Hawkins holds a Ph.D. in U.S. Military History from Texas Tech University. He will be a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal during the summer of 2010.

Body Armour Control Act: Revisited


I first wrote about BC’s Body Armour Control Act on October 24, 2009.  At that time, I had little understanding of how quickly bills can move through provincial legislatures.  Even by provincial standards, this bill was pushed through with lightning speed, leaving practically no time for public input.  By the time I wrote my blog entry, it had already passed 2nd Reading.  Two days later, on October 26, 2009, the bill went through Committee, Report, Amendment and passed 3rd Reading – all in a single day!  On October 29, 2009 the bill received Royal Assent. 

First Reading October 20, 2009
Second Reading October 22, 2009
Committee October 26, 2009
Report October 26, 2009
Amended October 26, 2009
Third Reading October 26, 2009
Royal Assent October 29, 2009
Source: http://qp.gov.bc.ca/39th1st/votes/progress-of-bills.htm

What is it?

A brief backgrounder for those who don’t know, this Act was introduced in an effort to curb gang violence in BC, particularly Vancouver.  The idea is that by restricting access to body armour, it will reduce a criminal’s “sense of security” making them less likely to engage in shootouts in our communities. 

Though there are many faults with this legislation, the biggest one is the complete lack of logic involved.  Criminals will always have have access to body armour, and they’re highly unlikely to acquire a permit or register it with police.  In effect, the only thing this bill does, is give the Solicitor General 15 minutes of fame, and take away the ability of the public to possess a passive safety device.

For more details, see my previous blog post.

What’s the status now?

From February 25 – March 12, 2010 the Public Safety and Solicitor General’s office has opened the floor to “Interested Stakeholders” to give input into the regulations that will bring this act into force.  Here is the Proposed Framework on which they would like your feedback:

Proposed Framework

  • Types of Body Armour to be Included

It is envisioned that Body Armour Control Act (BACA) Regulations and policy will apply to body armour that is ballistic, stab and/or puncture resistant. This will include trauma plates, inserts and other devices that can be added to the vests over a localized area to increase the wearer’s protection against blunt trauma injuries or projectiles fired from a firearm.

This may include, but not be limited to garments and items which meet the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Standard 0101.06 – Standards for Ballistic resistance of Personal Body Armour, types II,IIA, III, IIIA or IV or National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Standard 0115.00 – Stab Resistance of Personal Body Armour, levels 1, 2 or 3.

  • Body Armour Permit Requirements

Unless exempt under the BACA or Regulations from the requirement to obtain a body armour permit, individuals wanting to possess body armour will be required to make an application to the Registrar of Security Services for a Body Armour Permit. This may include those wanting to possess body armour due to non-violent threats to personal safety related to a sport, hobby or occupation (e.g., sport shooting club members) or individuals with threats to their personal safety of an ongoing nature.

Permit applicants will be required to provide personal information – including name, date of birth and contact information – and will be required to prove a reasonable need for the possession of body armour. In addition, applicants will have to undergo a criminal record check and pay a permit fee (fee estimates at this time are $90 for 5-year term and $45 for renewal).

Once a risk assessment is performed on the applicant, a permit will be issued to the individual allowing them to purchase, wear or possess body armour. A permit holder must carry the permit when in possession of body armour and produce it upon request by a peace officer or inspector.

  • Body Armour Permit Exemptions

There are a number of legitimate uses of body armour where it is required for protection in the course of one’s employment or job-related duties. Among those that will be exempt from the requirement to obtain a body armour permit are individuals employed by police and other enforcement agencies, armoured car guards, security guards, security consultants and private investigators. Proof of exemption will be required to be carried by these individuals when purchasing body armour or when in possession of body armour and will be linked to their security worker license, badge number, employee identification or verification document as applicable.

Exemptions to requiring a permit will also be considered for those individuals who do not reside in British Columbia but require body armour during their stay (i.e., diplomats) and/or individuals with imminent threats to their personal safety.

An individual in an exempt category must carry proof of exemption and produce it upon request by a peace officer or inspector when in possession of body armour.

  • Body Armour Business and Sales Persons Licensing Requirements

Businesses that sell body armour and their employees play an important role in ensuring that purchasers of body armour are authorized to do so. Businesses that sell body armour in British Columbia will be required to obtain a security business license under the Security Services Act to sell body armour, and employees of the business selling the body armour must obtain a security worker licence with licence type Body Armour Sales. Body Armour vendors will also be required to record information about body armour sales to show that sales are made only to people who are authorized to possess body armour.

What can I do?

Use the feedback form provided by the PSSG or send an e-mail to Sylvia.Montagnaro@gov.bc.ca

Let your lawmakers know that it is completely unacceptable for them to push through legislation without public input.  Tell them that this Act is an abomination that infringes on your charter rights.  It is a useless piece of legislation that will do nothing to improve public safety, it will reduce public respect for police officers who must enforce it, and it is nothing more than a blatant tax grab.  Let them know that the voters will hold them accountable.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS:  MARCH 12, 2010

‘Twas the night before Gun Confiscation


I wish I could take credit for the following poem, but alas, it’s not mine.  This Christmas Eve, I give you an ode to the Gun Control Lobby, written by a fellow firearms enthusiast.  Enjoy!

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the village,
the guns were all locked up they’re not a right but a privilege.
The crack heads and thieves all danced in the street,
In hopes that unarmed victims they would soon meet.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of escaping socialism danced in their heads.
the wife in the buff, and I in my tin foil hat,
Had just settled down for a long winters nap.

When behind the 2×4 deck there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what’s the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
pulled down the blast shield, unlocked the bars, and peered out the sash.

The moon on the hood of the black SUV,
gave me the feeling antis where coming for me.
More rapid then eagles they kicked down the door,
traumatized my kids and pushed the wife to the floor.

Now, Miller! Now, Cukier! Now Duceppe and McGuinty!
On Soros, on Layton, on Obama, and Iggy.
From the guns in the safe to the gold hidden in the wall,
they confiscated, confiscated, confiscated all.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
my freedoms were stolen in the blink of an eye.
But then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
the prancing and pawing, possibly a reindeer hoof.

Just as the socialists were beating me down,
from the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, and well armed what a hoot,
behind him the Nuge and Chuck Norris to boot.

His eyes how they twinkled while racking his slide,
the grabbers were left with nowhere to hide.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
the smoke from his guns circled his head like a wreath.

Duceppe became teary and soiled his clothes,
as St. Nick pointed his colt at the bridge of his nose.
He spoke not a word as he went about his work,
slapping the stupid out of Count Iggy the jerk.

His droll little mouth drawn up like a bow,
as he held Layton’s face in yellow snow.
McGuinty and Soros both danced to the beat,
as the Nuge used his pistols to shoot at their feet.

Up snuck Obama and swung his peace prize,
but got gored by a reindeer of extra large size.
Hillary Clinton did hiss and shake fist,
Hoe Hoe Hoe pointed Santa your next on this list.

Now Mayor Miller tried running but got it worst of them all,
as Santa did slough foot him causing a fall.
Out came his footing and on some ice he did slide,
right into a flag pole, one leg on each side.

Wendy got tazed by this jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw this in spite of myself.
His cheeks were like roses when he gave back our guns,
the antis and socialists had no choice but to run.

Now our stockings are stuffed with primers and brass,
CCW permits and a rifle range pass.
I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all keep up the fight.