Guns Don’t Kill People. People Kill People. I’m sure you’ve heard this line or saw it on a bumper sticker on some redneck’s jacked-up 4 X 4. You know the blacked-out Dodge Ram with the rifle rack in the rear window and the white Browning decal on the tail gate. Well, truth is people use guns to kill people.
We have gun control because our legal system of people control doesn’t work well. At least not in Canada.
Canadians don’t have the ingrained gun culture that America has, but we still have our share of firearm related homicides. I took a look at the stats and see Canada has .51 gun murders per 100,000 people. The United States has seven times the rate at 3.55 / 100K. Interestingly, Japan has zero (0), Australia has 0.11, Mexico has 10.0, Colombia 27.1, Guatemala 34.8, El Salvador 39.9, and Honduras topped the list at 64.8.
So, you’ve got a lot better chance of being shot to death in Central America than in New York, LA, or even Vancouver where we have daily drive-by shootings – but the little punk gang-bangers are such piss-poor shots that they rarely hit anyone.
What got me writing this is the horrific shootings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The details of what the psycho used as a firearm or how he got possession of it are yet to come out, but it’s no secret firearms are much easier to obtain, and are much more plentiful in supply, in the US than in Canada.
Canadian gun control laws are not without flaw.
To own guns, Canadians are required to have a firearms Possession and Acquisition License (PAL). You must take an accredited training course, undergo a police investigation where your criminal record is checked, your family is interviewed – especially your spouse, or ex-spouses – and two independent people must sign-off that you’ve no history of mental illness.
Firearms are divided into three groups. Non-restricted, such as hunting rifles and shotguns. Restricted, such as handguns and certain assault rifles. And Prohibited, such as fully-automatic weapons. There’s also caveats like locking mechanisms, transport regulations, and magazine capacity.
Restricted firearms have special permits and can only be used on certified firing ranges. Civilians are not allowed to carry handguns in public – with the exception of a very few cases. Even hunting firearms have regulations about where they’re handled and God help if you’re caught with a machine gun. In Canada, possession of firearms is a privilege, not a right.
The US is much different and laws vary from state to state. Recently, I attended a seminar in Austin, Texas, and one of the students packed heat in the classroom. Perfectly legal. I saw both his piece and his permit.
It was his constitutional right to bear arms. Right in the 2nd Amendment.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
I’m not sure the founding fathers had the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in mind when they wrote that piece.