When examining the types of arguments being advanced by the pro-gun and anti-gun lobbies, it seems that the arguments divide sharply along two ways of thinking. For those who think with their hearts, the anti-gun arguments strike all the right chords. For those who think with their heads, pro-gun arguments prevail. Gun crimes are shocking and horrific, but are gun bans the answer?
The Nova Scotia tragedy was the result of massive incompetence. The shooter appears to have gotten his rifles from the United States—illegally—and he should have been red-flagged in the system. As a 33-year-old, the shooter received a conditional discharge for repeatedly punching a 15-year old kid for standing to close to his business. Another man beat on the boy with a crowbar, and then both men stomped on him while he was on the ground. The shooter pleaded guilty to this offence and was made to pay the victim $50, complete nine months of probation, and enter an anger-management program. This left him with no criminal record. Our system of justice failed, as did government-mandated anger management.
There were reports that the shooter was illegally stockpiling weapons, but these were ignored by the RCMP. The provincial emergency alert system was never used to warn people that the shooter was masquerading as a cop, and for some reason, actual cops shot up a fire hall that was being used as an emergency refuge during the event. The two cops who shot up the fire hall defended their actions, saying they believed they had found the shooter. They were shooting at David Westlake, the emergency management coordinator for Colchester County. The police faced bureaucratic delays getting an aircraft to help track down the shooter. The RCMP helicopter was grounded for maintenance, and their fixed-wing aircraft was also unavailable. When the Mounties learned there was a military aircraft available, they called for it, but they had trouble passing the request up through official channels. Other resources that could have been mobilized simply weren’t, and so for 13 hours the shooter was able to carry on with his rampage, always a step ahead of the police. This was a failure of law enforcement.
Uvalde and Parkland were much the same. The Uvalde police could not have done a worse job handling the situation, and the absurd and contradictory explanations they have offered in defence of their conduct erodes whatever grace one might be inclined to extend their way. The inquiry into Parkland has revealed a range of failures on the part of law enforcement officials.
Law enforcement does what it can, but they make mistakes, are slowed down by bureaucratic red tape, and are often understaffed. Their leadership are often politically partisan, and in recent days rank-and-file officers have had good cause to be quite demoralized.
And how can we trust the Liberals? They have had police behaving very badly in service of their narrow political agendas. The Freedom Convoy in Ottawa was an objectively peaceful protest, yet the Liberals illegally invoked the Emergencies Act, froze bank accounts, and had police playing the part of thugs and criminals, stealing food and fuel from the truckers in a blatant and dangerous attempt to freeze them into submission. Police on horseback trampled an indigenous woman, pointed assault-style weapons at peaceful protesters, and used “mid-range impact weapons” on protesters in order to overcome a “barrage of resistance” from those they deemed unfit to gather on the public streets of our nation’s capital.
Complete reliance on police is impractical and untenable—especially given recent circumstances. People need to be able to look after their own security. Even if the police were consistently competent at doing their jobs, there will always be a delayed response. The police can’t be everywhere necessary to stop every crime.
Plato is reported to have said, “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." Most of Canada’s licensed gun-owners are the good people who obey the law, which is why they are licensed. Most of Canada’s gun violence involves people who are bad, and the law is not effectively restraining the excesses of these people. Depriving good people of the chance to defend themselves will only embolden bad people to do more bad things.
Good Guys With GunsGuns are necessary for people to defend themselves. Nova Scotia, Uvalde, Parkland, Christchurch, and dozens of other mass-shooting events all demonstrate that one cannot merely rely on police to protect you. Even stronger evidence comes by way of the hundreds of potential mass shootings that were only foiled because of the timely intervention of good guys with guns—many of whom were not in uniform.
The 2019 Christchurch shooting was used by the anti-gun lobby to generate a lot of reactionary fears, yet as a justification for a gun ban it made no sense. New Zealand had very tough gun laws, and the lack of a good guy with a gun is what enabled the shooter to rack up such a kill count. After all, he didn’t just hit one mosque. He hit two.
Mass shootings are tragic and emotional, and leftists rely on such events to push forward their anti-gun agenda, but these events also demonstrate the futility of the leftists’ approach to solving gun violence. All one has to do is sift through the evidence and ask a few questions, and the leftists’ assertions completely fall apart.
Perhaps more importantly, guns are necessary to oppose tyranny. A disarmed population is powerless to respond to a foreign invader or a home-grown dictator. Has no one thought it strange that the same people who rushed to put guns into the hands of Ukrainians are also hell-bent on taking them away from law-abiding Canadians? If Trudeau behaved less like a dictator, people might be less concerned.
In the 2020 assault on gun owners, Trudeau used an order-in-council to bypass the House of Commons (our elected legislative body). Orders-in-council are meant to empower the government to respond quickly to emergencies that could not be reasonably anticipated and that require swift action. They are also used to appoint people to federal office, because having Parliament vote on over 3,000 government appointees would erode their availability to debate/discuss other matters.
The only rational and reasonably persuasive argument I’ve ever heard a leftist advance in support of banning guns concerns the use of guns by those committing suicide. Over 75 percent of Canadian firearm fatalities are suicides. A UC Davis study found that male handgun owners were eight times more likely to die by suicide than non-owners. The study also found a strong association with heavy drinking. While many might claim that people bent on suicide will just find another way, there is cause to believe that the lethality of the method chosen does impact upon the success rate, and when it comes to lethality, it is hard to beat a handgun. A compelling case can thus be made that banning handguns will result in fewer suicides, yet I think this appeal ultimately fails.
If this logic were embraced, it would require that governments also ban most forms of fast food, many sports and recreations, rig our vehicles so they can’t achieve speeds higher than 50 kilometres/hour, and insist that rubber mats be placed in every shower and bathtub.
While I might want the government to protect me from you, I never want the government to have the power to protect me from me.