Source: CBC NEWS: Duck Shooting Video Leads to Charges Against 3 Sask. Men
Source: CBC NEWS: Reward Offered to Help ID Illegal Duck Shooters
Source: CBC NEWS: Hunt on for men who Shot Ducks From Car Window
This is a bit of a short source, and may not seem political, but allow me to give a chance to explain why I've decided to talk about this.
When I read these articles, the first thought that popped into my mind was the issue of gun control. How some groups would argue that this is proof that gun control is too lax in Canada; while others would argue that 'leftists' would try and use a few 'bad eggs' to support taking away guns from 'law-abiding' Canadians.
Growing up in the riding of Yorkton-Melville, I've heard a lot about gun control during my life time. I've heard both sides of the argument, the idea over freedom and the idea over restrictions, and I like to think that I've chosen the right side on the issue.
I would like to start off by saying that while I don't own a gun, I've always been interested in the idea of taking up hunting at some point in my life. As such, I don't believe that a person should be restricted from owning a weapon for the sake of hunting.
However, there are limits. Why does someone need a semi-automatic or fully automatic rifle to hunt? Is an assault rifle really needed to take down a deer? A moose? Ducks?
The answer, of course, is no. The further question, which really complicates things, is the question of whether or not a person should own a gun solely for the sake of protection. The person does not engage in hunting, but simply owns the gun and keeps it stored away for the day when they might need it to protect themselves or their family.
The problem with this argument is the problem of escalation. When criminals start carrying knives, we start carrying knives around home to defend ourselves. They start using guns, we want a gun. And so on and so forth.
The bigger problem, of course, is that simply providing access to a gun is not a means of stopping crime. Were that so; if every Canadian had a gun or some kind of weapon, surely there would be no crime...
So what does that tell us? Unlike the Cold War, where the threat of the use of weapons was enough to prevent full scale war; the threat of gun use is not a deterrent in the face of crime. This is because if someone is driven to the point where they need/feel they need to commit a crime, then the risks are not outweighed by the benefits.
Sure, the person could shoot them; but they could also get away with whatever they are planning. As such, simply allowing guns for the sake of protection seems like an effort in futility.
As such, I do not believe that guns for the sake of protection while serving any no other use should be an option for Canadians, as there is no logical use for them.
This of course brings us to the gun registry. Much maligned by Conservatives since its inception, the gun registry has always been under constant threat of destruction and has been repeated subverted during Stephen Harper's tenure as Prime Minister.
Many people say, well the opponents anyway, that the gun registry is a waste of money. That it is an unfair tax against law abiding citizens who use their guns for sport or hunting, and that it does nothing to stop crime.
This is because of a misconception. The Firearms Registry alone is not going to reduce crime statistics. What is will do, however, is protect RCMP and City Police officers by allowing them to know whether a situation could be more dangerous than reported. No one is going to object to protecting our police officers in the line of duty, yet moving to scrap the gun registry would do exactly that.
I'm not saying that everyone with a registered gun is likely to shoot a police officer, what I am saying is that is allows officers to know whether a domestic abuse call is likely to include a person with a weapon and thus allow proper precaution to be taken.
The registry here poses a problem in that its implementation has been flawed since the beginning. But, then let's look at a country that seemingly had done the job right.
If you look at the United Kingdom, mainland Britain in particular, you see incredibly low gun related crime rates. According to these statistics, crimes committed in Britain with guns represented only 0.3% of all crime, or 1 in every 300 crimes. (Source: GNC Comment - Annual Gun Crime Figures)
Compare those 2008 figures with Canada; where gun crimes represented 2.4% of violent crimes. (Source: CBC NEWS: Gun Crimes Among Teens on the Rise: StatsCan) To make matters worse, the same statistics show that gun crimes were often two to three times higher in the Western Provinces than in the Maritime Provinces.
So, why does Britain have such a lower gun crime rate than Canada?
Well, probably the main reason: Britain has one of the lowest counts of private gun ownership world wide, and as legislation restricting and prohibiting many types of weapons from being owned privately.
Furthermore, all certificates for guns licensed within Britain are issued by the local police authority and require the owner of the weapon to provide a good reason for EACH firearm they own. With the exception of Northern Ireland, self-defense is not considered an acceptable reason.
So, is that the answer? To follow the British example and require gun owners to demonstrate why they need to own the weapon or weapons they do? To further restrict certain weapons from public ownership?
Perhaps. It's often true that what works for one country won't work for another, so a Canadian made solution would be better.
What can be said, though, is that Canadians are indeed becoming as infatuated with 'gun culture' as our neighbours to the south. We, like them, are beginning to think that we have an inherent right to own a weapon.
And much like them, some of us begin to believe conspiracy theories that suggest the government wants an unarmed populace or will move to take away all their weapons; for a variety of reasons.
But where in Canadian law does it say that we need weapons?
And for those who argue in favour of the American Constitution, please read the following sentence:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,shall not be infringed. (Source: The United States Constitution - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net)
The second amendment is often cited by Americans who defend gun rights; but they often ignore that fact that private citizens do not constitute a militia and that it is these militias that are given the right to arms.
The fact of the matter is that Canada has no such legislation that enshrines gun ownership into our rights and freedoms. And even if we did, I fear it would become as twisted and as misquoted as the American equivalent.
So, perhaps this is only going to end one way: Either the guns are going to go, or we're going to live in a nation that begins allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons with a permit or allows them to store one in the trunk of their car.
I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like the Canada I know...And it doesn't sound like the Canada I would want to be a part of.