CANADIAN TO AMERICAN– Coming Out The Other End Of The Gun Control Tunnel
I am amazed that I find myself in this position, writing to gun owners south of the 49th parallel with a few words of encouragement in their fight against the forces of socialism and gun control. I can remember looking enviously south to the American’s 2nd amendment solidness, as my own country was locked into a lunatic push for the “control” of firearms. I am going to write a few thoughts down that may give a personal insight into what Americans may go through if this insanity continues to the point of written law. We, here in Canada, have plenty of laws when it comes to guns; but we were successful in getting rid of the hated long gun registry. I don’t want to focus on the numbers, one can probably google the statistics on how much it cost our society, or how useless it turned out to be in the “fight against gun violence”. I would rather write about the effect on me, and the people I knew who were just common folk: hunters, shooters, trappers, farmers, etc. To myself and the people I know, guns are tools; no more, no less.
When a person boils it down, at least in Canada, the gun debate is a rural vs. city fight; and the city folks have the voting numbers. Every farm I visited as a kid had their guns displayed on the wall, every pick-up had a gun rack. Hunting was a way of life, livestock had to be protected from predators and plinking with a .22 was a common pastime for rural Canadian boys. In Canada, the handgun has been regulated almost out of existence since the ’30’s. The draconian pistol laws don’t stop the gangs from shooting at one another with “illegal” handguns in the cities, but handguns are rare (almost non-existent) in the country. The forces of gun control in Canada are old, and modeled after a leftist European attitude. One of the oft heard phrases from the “progressive” liberals in Canada is, “Canadians must have decent gun laws or we will become like the GUN CRAZED AMERICANS.” In my youth, I thought being a little more like Americans (when it came to guns) wasn’t a bad idea. The few times our family vacationed south, to the land of the free, I was amazed to see handguns for sale in convenience stores and no bleeding, gunshot bodies in the streets. The idea came from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation “experts” claiming that easily bought handguns and rivers of human blood went together.
My own guns were purchased with sweat, at a very young age. Guns were expensive and doing yard or farm work didn’t pay much, but I wanted to hunt and shoot bad enough to put in many long hours of toil. I still remember the excitement when my money was saved up and it was time to take Dad to the store so I could buy my firearm. All the time I was working I was thinking about what brand or action of a gun I wanted to buy. I spent many pleasant hours of discussion with my Dad and brother about guns; and too much time daydreaming (when I should have been doing schoolwork) of the hunts and adventures I would have. I remember those times to this day, and I was quite young when I purchased those guns. These pleasures I never got to experience with my own son, it was not long after this that the foolish gun control garbage began to constrict Canadian freedom.
The first law I remember that affected us came through in 1979, with the advent of the “firearms acquisition certificate”. A Canadian who wanted to purchase any firearm had to apply to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for this piece of paper, good for five years. It took a month or more to get an F.A.C from the mounties, who took their time doing criminal background checks, etc. The F.A.C also gave the police search and seizure powers over and above a non-FAC Canadian, some provinces made a gun safety course mandatory for acquiring the right to buy a gun. There were protests and arguments at first, but in the end, shooters and hunters grudgingly went along with this “Canadian solution” to ending gun violence. The gun control crowd thought of this as a first step, and I remember my dad saying that the next fight would be for registration of all guns; that push wouldn’t happen for another ten years.
In 1989 an angry and demented individual, who blamed women for all his problems, took a legally purchased Ruger mini-14 into a Quebec college, and (after separating out the men) shot and killed 14 female students. I remember the outpouring of grief and rage that followed, and amid the tears and candlelight vigils, the cries for more gun control was heard coast to coast. The politically correct media never mentioned that the twisted murderer was the son of an Algerian immigrant, who held women in contempt, and abused both his wife and his son. It was also a fact that the shooter had multiple mental problems. To the press and political elite, however, it was the “easy access” to firearms that was to blame! The incident galvanized the anti-firearm crowd to push for stricter laws. Any citizen that argued against tougher gun laws was at best, “twisted by the American gun culture” or at worst a wanna-be murderer of women.
In 1995 bill C-68 was pushed through parliament and the registration of all guns was under way. There were many other restrictions and laws within the bill, firearm storage, ammunition sales, the banning of types of firearms, etc. I wont go into the nasty details, except to say it was confusing, alarming, and in the end; expensive to taxpayers. It was also useless and destructive. Many gun stores shut down, the big chain stores quit selling guns, people were arrested and put in jail because they didn’t understand the storage laws; I could go on and on. My own perception was that the laws were designed to be confusing, and that the gun control crowd had a “serves them right” mentality toward some hunter looking at five years because he didn’t lock up his ammunition, gun, and “bolt” separately.
I could be wrong about some of these stories, because I quit paying attention to them. My guns “went away”, as did many other’s guns at the time. I honestly think that was one reason that the registration was finally dumped, the government knew it’s database was severely short of the actual numbers of guns in Canadian society. Even though there were line-ups THE SAME DAY that the registration opened (it was years before compliance was mandatory) , the basic instinct of hunters, shooters, trappers, farmers and the like is that it was none of the government’s damn business what guns were owned by whom. None of this matters, overnight I had become an outlaw by the stroke of a pen, and shooting was never the same after that. Those guns I had bought in my youth, that had given me such joy, could now earn me ten years in jail.
I lived out in the country, so I was able to do some shooting. I quit hunting for the most part, and if I did I went alone, and within walking distance of my house. I taught my kids to handle firearms, but I also had to impress on them to keep quiet about guns. Maybe I was a little paranoid, but the law was in place and I was not complying. All the posturing that goes on amongst hard core shooters about “giving up my gun when they pry it from my dead fingers” is just that; posturing. It’s not the swat team kicking in your door that will get you, just circumstances. You go for a drive out somewhere to shoot, guns hidden in the car, get in an accident, and you’re caught. A friend or family member talks, the police wait for the right moment, and you’re caught. Your house catches on fire, fireman find your burnt collection, and you’re caught. There is a low grade fear that follows when you are outside the law, even an unjustified, foolish law.
Meanwhile, the politics of the situation were at a full boil. The cost was initially estimated to be two million dollars and ended up growing to over 2 billion. The system was hacked multiple times and the ineffectiveness was legendary (over 4000 stolen guns were successfully re-registered without alerting authorities). Estimates of non-compliance were at 70%. The politically motivated police chiefs united behind the gun law but the cops on the street didn’t trust the system. Political parties were born out of the turmoil and others lost the backing of the people. It was a mess.
The turning point, at least in my mind, was another tragedy that again happened in Quebec. On September 13, 2006 Dawson college was attacked by a twisted individual brandishing a legally REGISTERED firearm. The glorious gun laws of the Canadian left had failed entirely, and what little support the idea of gun control had; crumpled. Even the most left-winged newspapers focused on the shooters love of death metal music and his vampire fascination. In November of 2012, the conservative government of Canada passed bill C-19; which put a bullet through the head of the long gun registry.
Those who want guns controlled can be broken down into 4 groups:
Group 2– They don’t like guns. Guns are scary and evil and no one should have them. If mommy government would take away all the scary guns, people could all live in peace together under the rainbow with the birdies and flowers.
Group 3– They’re not sure about guns. They don’t shoot and don’t understand why others want to. They follow their politics and their politics say guns are “right-wing” and gun control a sensible “liberal idea”.
Group 4– They’re not sure about guns. They don’t understand guns. Gun violence scares them so doing “something” about it seems right. They don’t understand why the gun crowd won’t see “reason”. This is the largest group.
There is some blending of the groups but by and large if you talk to a gun control advocate long enough you can spot their mindset. Be courteous to group 4, try and educate them, heck, take them out for some plinking. Same goes for group 3, just forget arguing politics, it’s a waste of time. Ignore group 2, even group 4 knows they’re nuts. Never, ever turn your back on group 1.
Do not ever think, if you compromise what is logical to you, that the gun control issue will go away. To some gun control advocates even a sling-shot is evil and dangerous (to some even a picture of a weapon is grounds for panic). Hunters beware! Once the control crowd is done with semi-autos and handguns, scoped rifles and pump shotguns are next!
Registration of guns is, at best, an expensive, useless, and dangerous joke for fighting crime, and at worst, a hit list for confiscation.
Another observation was the attitude of other shooting enthusiasts about gun laws. Before the vilification of gun owners by the media and the torrent of confusing laws put into place, these individuals would never have dreamed of breaking laws. After the long gun registry was put into place, attitudes changed toward acquiring illegal handguns etc. “May as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb” was the reason given to me by one Canadian gun enthusiast.
Be firm, but kind, to all individuals who advocate for gun control (groups 2, 3 and 4), be cagey and ruthless with organizations that advocate for gun control.
Never give up hope for true justice. Never quit believing in liberty. Trust in God.