No civilian in Canada needs a hand gun or a military weapon unless a criminal or unless a law-abiding-citizen who believes their government institutions are not to be trusted. Others see lethal weapons as entertainment.
Growing up on a farm, my father needed neither a hand gun nor a military weapon. He’d returned from World War II ending his military career as a gunner and never ever spoke of his war experiences—including killing bad guys!
His single-action rifle and a shotgun were absolute necessities for a prairie farmer. A coyote needing to be shot to protect the chickens, geese; and wild game shot for extra food on the table, a horse or a dog needing to be put down humanely, a cow to be butchered.
Yet today many law-abiding citizens seem to believe handguns and war weapons are a right. Much of those beliefs come from the American National Rifle Association (NRA) and are regurgitated by conservative politicians.
‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people’. ‘Bad guys can always get guns.’ ‘Statistics show crime goes down when good guys have guns.’ ‘Concealed carry laws help reduce the number of rapes and property crime.’ ‘Overall mass murderers have repeatedly been deterred or stopped by citizens carrying lawfully concealed firearms.’ Or the latest — ‘hammers kill more people than guns.’
On the NRA’s website for legislative action, it states that ‘criminals actually fear armed citizens more than they fear the police’.
Unfortunately, police fear an armed citizenry as well. And once the police are fearful, there is a sharp increase in police-shooting deaths and a move to militarize police forces. A scared police officer, fearing for his/her life, shoots to kill and asks questions later. They, too, want to go home at night to their families.
As was the case in New Brunswick in 2020 when a police officer shot dead Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, during a wellness check.
On-duty police officers fired at 64 people in 2021 and killed 32.
Military personnel are trained to kill human beings on command. Police are trained to maintain peace and order and protect all lives. In sharp contrast to France and the United States, the police cleared up our illegal trucker occupations without tear gas, pepper spray or violence.
An armed citizenry doesn’t make a safer society, it makes it easier for tragedies to occur.
Farmer Gerald Stanley was found not guilty for shooting and killing a 22-year-old Cree man, Colten Boushie, who was illegally on his property and believed to be stealing. Stanley said the killing was unintentional, he meant to just scare Boushie.
Two white men were recently found guilty of murder and manslaughter for killing two Metis hunters. The father, Roger Bilodeau, accompanied by his teenage son, followed Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal down rural roads at high speed, believing their truck had been spotted on his property the day before. During the chase Bilodeau telephoned his son, Anthony and told him to bring a weapon. The Metis men were shot dead and left for others, or animals, to find.
The problem with citizens lawfully owning handguns and military-style weapons is that a ‘lawful’ person can within seconds turn into a killer, intentionally or unintentionally.
When a country’s institutions—its parliament, police, courts and media—are no longer deemed trustworthy, and when an ‘armed citizenry’ and ‘civil disobedience’ becomes the norm, fearfulness and individualism becomes the nation’s DNA, and violence always follows.
The majority of Canadians look to the U.S. gun laws and their second amendment and ask, “is what we see working?” The majority have concluded, it has not.