Didn't Canada Already Ban Handguns?

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Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's promise to ban handguns if the Liberals are re-elected is predictably provoking gun owners who are still angry about the intrusive, expensive, and ineffective National Firearms Registry created by his Liberal predecessor, Jean Chretien. But the proposal also seems to be eliciting skepticism from police, criminologists, and Liberal legislators in rural areas. From a London Free Press story:

"It plays well in the Jane-Finch area of Toronto," Sarnia-Lambton Liberal Roger Gallaway said, referring to the site of Martin's promise. "For the legitimate gun owner…it just creates anxiety. The perception is that it affects a bunch of people that aren't the problem and never will be."

Some experts say Martin's focus on banning handguns may, in fact, be pointless.

Canada's more than 500,000 registered handguns are mainly confined to police, security guards, licensed target shooters and collectors.

Sales to the public have been tightly controlled for 60 years.

Slapping even more restrictions in place isn't likely to stop criminals, said a University of Toronto criminologist.

"We've got lots of laws (already)," Anthony Doob said. "We've got laws about carrying. We've got laws about ownership. We've got laws about transfers of ownership."

London police Chief Murray Faulkner, whose officers have handled 18 shootings this year—up sharply from three last year and seven the year before that—echoed that reaction.

"We've got laws now. Unfortunately, the people that have handguns don't care about our laws," he said.

Similarly, the Globe and Mail reports that

police questioned the effectiveness of [Martin's proposal], noting that except for a small number of gun enthusiasts who have permits to use the firearms at shooting ranges, handguns are largely banned already.

"We should point out that it is currently illegal in almost every circumstance to be in possession of a handgun," [Vancouver] Deputy Chief [Doug] LePard said.

The Globe and Mail says British Columbia's former chief firearms officer considers the gun registry "a disaster that penalized lawful gun owners but didn't do much to curb crime," and it quotes a Conservative politician who notes that "violent criminals don't obey the law."

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  1. I wait with baited breath to discover Michael Moore’s take on this!

  2. Canada needs a good civil war. I think the western provinces would win.

  3. Here is what happened in my neighborhood this week. I tried to get C. Oliver to Brickbat it, but he wuz havin’ none o’it. From Toronto Sun:

    Finally able to put a name and face to the woman’s remains found scattered across the city over the last month, Toronto Police are now defending their controversial door-to-door [warrantless, “consensual”] search of homes in Parkdale to catch a killer.

    One day after arresting Robert Wiszniowski, 50, the common-law husband of the now identified Rose McGroarty, 46, Homicide Det. Gary Giroux stood by the investigative tactic, which civil liberty groups and even Toronto’s mayor spoke out against this week.

    “It provided us with the opportunity to pen the individual into a specific area and keep him from fleeing,” Giroux said at police headquarters yesterday, explaining residents welcomed officers into their homes, for the most part.

    “If I was assigned to this type of investigation an hour from now, I’d do exactly the same thing,” he added.

    Earlier this week, [NDP] Mayor David Miller said he had some reservations about officers asking to search citizens’ houses.

  4. btw, AFAIK they were not going around asking for these consensual searches where the couple lived, or even particularly close to it (their building is along my route home when I drive). Rather, they were focussing on a different part of Parkdale, where one of the body parts was dumped. They did not come to my house. Nevertheless, I am quite disturbed by this.

  5. “We’ve got laws now. Unfortunately, the people that have handguns don’t care about our laws,” he said.

    Nooooo! Really?

  6. When they passed the registration law a few years ago, they said no one ever intended to outright ban handguns. Now, look what is happening. Gun confiscators start with restriction, the go to registration, then confiscation. It happened that way in Austrailia and Britan and now Canada. Thank God for the NRA.

  7. I wait with baited breath to discover Michael Moore’s take on this!

    And I’ll wait to see why linguist is chewing on nightcrawlers. 🙂

  8. And I’ll wait to see why linguist is chewing on nightcrawlers. 🙂

    Well, insects, arachnids, and annelids, are actually high in protein.

    Slimy, yet satisfying.

  9. What really got to me was one politician quoted as saying “We want to get handguns out of Vancouver!” (or wherever it was) My reaction was, “Hey, dummkopf, what about getting violent criminals out of Vancouver? Is that too hard for you and Dudley Do-Right, there?”

    But here’s the crux of the thing: ‘”The less amount of lawful traffic that’s permitted, the fewer guns that will be available to fall into the hands of criminals,” he said.’ So to hell with all you “law-abiding” folks; we need to restrict what you can do so we can try and stop crime. Here’s something funny, though; try reading it this way: “The less amount of lawful traffic that’s permitted, the less cocaine that will be available to fall into the hands of criminals.” Still make sense? Somebody should ask Mulroney how criminals get drugs if they can only get guns by stealing them from the law-abiding…

  10. I think some of this is just for lack of a better term wierd cultural superstitions of the left. My girlfriend is from Boston and here family is somewhere left of Ted Kennedy. You should see the amazed looks on their faces when I tell them I own a handgun and keep it in my nightstand. “Isn’t that dangerous?” “Won’t it go off and arenn’t you worried about shooting yourself?” Like the thing is going to magically jump out of my night stand some day and start mowing people down. I think deep down they understand the gun laws don’t stop crime but they are just so afraid of the culture of self-reliance that guns represent that they think that getting rid of that culture through getting rid of guns is worth the cost.

  11. “I wait with baited breath to discover Michael Moore’s take on this!”

    ?!

  12. “ou should see the amazed looks on their faces when I tell them I own a handgun and keep it in my nightstand. “Isn’t that dangerous?” “Won’t it go off and arenn’t you worried about shooting yourself?”

    It’s peculiar how in many instances otherwise modern people happily attach all sorts of talismanic tropes to firearms.

    Back on topic, if this law goes through, I expect a lot of Canadians will be watering their lawns with Break Free CLP

  13. And I’ll wait to see why linguist is chewing on nightcrawlers. 🙂

    Whoa! I really always thought it was baited 🙂 Thanks for educating me!

  14. John, you wrote: It happened that way in Austrailia and Britan and now Canada. Thank God for the NRA.

    Don’t be so sure that the NRA will really oppose more gun control. If you haven’t yet, read L. Neil Smith’s Am I the NRA?. Remember, the NRA tacitly supported the Brady Ban & Registration (Lite), by not punishing the Congress Critters who approved it by withholding support in the following elections. Also notice that George Bush has been a long time darling of theirs, even after he promised to sign any Brady Bill and/or Assault-look-a-like Weapons extensions the Repulican controlled Congress cared to pass. Full disclosure: I am a paid-up, 10+ year NRA Life Member. But like L. Neil, my gun rights charity goes to other more dedicated groups such as J.P.F.O. and The Second Amendment Foundation.

  15. The perception is that it affects a bunch of people that aren’t the problem and never will be.

    No, you moron. That’s not just a perception, that’s the reality.

    By calling it a perception, he implies that its wrong, without actually coming out and saying so.

  16. Like the thing is going to magically jump out of my night stand some day and start mowing people down.

    I don’t know, John, haven’t you seen the X-Men movie? You never know when Magneto is lurking about… 😉

    Also notice that George Bush has been a long time darling of theirs, even after he promised to sign any Brady Bill and/or Assault-look-a-like Weapons extensions the Repulican controlled Congress cared to pass.

    The NRA withheld its endorsement from Bush until the assault weapons ban expired. And you can bet that if he had signed such legislation, he would have been in danger of losing their support entirely.

  17. Thoreau: just think of the revenue the ol canadian lawyers can rake in from suing gun makers now.

    since normal usage instructions for cigarettes are hazardous to the user, does that mean we can sue them on the same grounds?

    and, use canada whenever someone starts foaming about how the electoral college is dumb.

    yeah. the north-east and maybe california would determine everything. woo hoo.

  18. On one site where this was reported the comments (from Canadians) were predominantly against this.

    A cursory examination led me to conclude rural and small town and city, against: big metropolitan areas, some for most against.

    Just an impression though, nothing scientific.

  19. “. . . The problem is the continued flow of illegal guns in the country,” Harper said.

    See and even Harper thinks it’s all because of the evil ‘merkins.

  20. Sad coincidence, but just a few days before this announcement, Karla Homolka, the wife of notorious serial killer Paul Bernardo who took part in the vicious rape and killing of three women-including her own sister-was releaved of all remaining release conditions, including the obligation to report any changes of address and contacting her still imprisoned husband, after serving her plea bargain reduced 12 year sentence. Granted this was the result of an ill-advized prosecution strategy of pitting her against her husband, but it’s sad that have a situation where legitimate gun owner, who refuse to licence their firearms, face the full wrath of the law while she goes free.

  21. Canada needs a good civil war. I think the western provinces would win.

    I doubt it. About a third of the active force of the Canadian military is Qu?b?cois and a large chunk of the rest is from the maritimes. Both sides, esp. the Quebeckers, would almost certainly do a General Lee with all their guns and airplanes. Westerners are probably tougher but there aren’t nearly so many of them as there are Easterners.

  22. Wouldn’t the Qu?b?cois stay out of the fight between east and west Canada, or at least make it a three-front civil war? They’re always trying to secede from Canada anyway.

    Just curious.

  23. It all depends on which side the RCMP choose to support 🙂

  24. “I think some of this is just for lack of a better term wierd cultural superstitions of the left.”

    Can we stop with the blanket assumptions please? I consider myself a “lefty” (fiscally conservative and socially it’s none of your friggin’ business and leave me the hell alone if I’m not intruding on anyone elses rights) yet I grew up around guns and hunting with my “lefty” father. Most of my “lefty” friends did as well. Curiously, it is my “righty” friends who know nothing about guns. Maybe I’m just a bit touchy and you were exagerrating for effect, but I hear this bullshit all the time and am tired of it. I apologize if I seem a bit snarky about this.

    BTW, I’ve been mulling over purchasing a .45 cal pistol for self-defence and am leaning toward a Sig, but they are expensive as hell. Can anybody advise me on other handguns that I should consider? Seeking reliability, safety and stopping power.

    Thanks.

  25. Taiko – look at the Springfield XD series of pistols. I own the 9mm and I like it a lot…plus they are fairly inexpensive. Not sure if they have a .45ACP (I think they do) but they’ve definitely got a .40.

  26. Lowdog,

    Thanks, I’ll be sure to check that out. Is there a significant difference in power between the .45 and the .40? One of the weapons I used when I was in the service was the Beretta 9mm, and it was alright, but a friend of mine who is a SEAL said he’s seen many an aggressor shrug off a few 9mm hits and keep on coming…of course those were actions that he could only say “hypothetically” happened.

  27. Evan M.,

    There have actually been murmurings from the western provinces that if Quebec were allowed to become independent, they’d consider seceding and applying for statehood in the US. If they did so, and the US was willing to accept them, you’ve got to like their chances against the eastern provinces.

  28. Next week, Canada outlaws crime. Again.

    – Josh

  29. In five years or so Canada can catch up to Britain. They’re working on banning pointy kitchen knives. While the gun crime rate is going through the roof.

    It’s all the fault of the folks who buy cheap guns in Texas gun shows, put them in their trunk, and drive to London.

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