In the wake of nearly every mass killing (except, perhaps, those involving bombs, knives, or motor vehicles), a call comes from the virtue-signalling weepy social engineers for more restrictive laws on guns.
In the United States, where the recent horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas took fifty-nine lives and wounded over 500 other people, including several Canadians, this politically-motivated hysteria has ranged from the likely-sensible banning of kits to convert semiautomatic weapons into automatic weapons, to outright banning of all firearms.
Apparently, our very own federal government is on the trail to leave no ‘progressive’ stone unturned to transform Canada into a totally risk-free playpen with coddled child-adults monitored by benevolent nanny-supervisors who know what is best for us – despite them being elected by us, the people, who are now, it seems, too clueless to govern our own lives.
Canada already severely restricts handgun ownership, despite the risks we all face from increased home invasions and carjacking. Automatic weapons and high-powered weapons are outright illegal.
In Canada, would-be gun purchasers are required to have a ‘possession acquisition license’ after a training course under the aegis of the RCMP and before they buy a rifle or shotgun. Convicted felons or legally insane people cannot buy or own guns. So, theoretically, all legal gun owners are ordinary, presumably law-abiding, gun-wise citizens. Of course, as everywhere in the world, criminals, terrorists, and other nefarious individuals, can and do find ways of buying, or stealing, guns. Otherwise, Europe, which is even more restrictive than Canada, would have no gun crime or gun-related terrorism. Yet Belgium now has a higher gun-violence death rate than Canada.
Going back to the Las Vegas shooting, the burden of proof must be placed on those advocating for stricter gun laws to show how those laws would have made the debacle less likely to happen or to ensure it would be less deadly. Certainly, making it more difficult to convert a semiautomatic to an automatic would have lowered the casualty count, but, at about 600 victims, that is less than one shooting per second, and a trained marksman can fire more than once a second in the eleven minutes that elapsed from the time the gunman began shooting and before he killed himself.
Making it more difficult to acquire a large arsenal of weapons or ammunition would not make much difference either. In the Texas Tower incident in the early 1960’s, a man afflicted with what later was diagnosed as a brain tumour shot dozens of people with one ordinary rifle. It is not known yet, but it seems unlikely that the Las Vegas shooter used all 23 guns at his disposal; perhaps he only used one or two.
The Vegas shooter also bought all his guns legally at lawful gun stores where he was subject to background checks. Since he had no recorded criminal or mental illnesses, he passed the reviews. Also a longer ‘cooling off’ period would not have made much difference. He bought nearly all his guns in June of 2017, or even earlier. He also did not show any outward violent or anti-social tendencies. Apparently he was irascible, but he did not engage in threats, nor was he a member of any suspect criminal or extremist organization.
The people who buy and own guns in Canada are, by definition, law-abiding citizens, and they often use their guns for hunting and for protecting their homes, families, and livestock from wild animals in rural and northern parts of the country. These people are not a problem. However, crusading politicians who ignore real criminal or terrorist risks to restrict the freedom of their fellow peaceable Canadians are more problematic. The United States has more than five times the rate of gun violence than Canada has. The frequency and magnitude of mass killing in the U.S. has other causes than gun deaths here in Canada.
Now it seems that motor vehicles are a favourite tool for terrorists to use, with bomb-carrying drones likely to follow. Self-righteous politicians need to look at the real dangers, and figure out how to safeguard citizens.