RIVERVIEW, N.B.—A New Brunswick man whose young daughter was gunned down in a robbery 29 years ago is calling for a renewed debate on firearm control and the federal long-gun registry.
Ron Davis of Riverview said Feb. 3 he’s concerned that military-style guns sold legally in Canada will end up in the hands of the wrong people.
“I have nothing against hunting rifles, that’s fine,” Davis, 74, said in an interview. “It’s the weapons that are available and legal that have nothing to do with hunting that concerns me most. We’re just asking for another disaster to happen.”
Davis’s 16-year-old daughter, Laura, was shot and killed with a handgun in a convenience store holdup in Moncton in 1987. Since then, he’s been an advocate for victims of gun violence.
Government response to gun violence is too often “lip-service,” he said.
Davis questions the need for the types of powerful firearms seen in mass shootings in the United States and Canada, including the June 2014 murders of three Mounties in neighbouring Moncton by Justin Bourque. In that case, a semi-automatic rifle was used to kill the three officers and wound two others.
Bourque’s lawyer, David Lutz, said the debate over gun control in Canada should be reopened after his client was sentenced to 75 years in prison in October 2014.
The RCMP officers were armed with guns that had a range of 50 metres, while Bourque’s gun—a Poly Technologies M305, 308-calibre semi-automatic rifle—had a range of 250 metres.
“I think that as a result of this case, Canadians have to start looking at the type of guns that are available in this country and the type of people who are entitled to use these guns,” Lutz said at the time.
The former Conservative government abolished the federal database for long guns in 2011 as part of a long-standing campaign promise.
Davis said he decided to speak out now after a two-page ad from a gun shop featuring mostly military-style firearms appeared in a local newspaper in December.
“I thought, boy, if there are people out there that possibly have mental deficiencies or problems, we’re just planting a seed in their mind that these guns could do it the same as they see on TV,” he said.
Meanwhile, Davis and his family are preparing to attend a parole hearing in Quebec in April for the man convicted in his daughter’s shooting. They have never missed a hearing, he said.
“That’s the least we can do for my daughter, is be there.”
Patrice Mailloux was convicted in the spring of 1988 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years. Davis said he is seeking unescorted day passes and full parole.
From The Canadian Press