Today the details of the Liberals’ assault weapons ban has come out. I generally am supportive but still believe improvement is needed. All of the guns being banned are ones I do not believe are appropriate for civilian ownership and thus no objections to the ones being banned. My bigger concern is I don’t agree with idea of banning by model, I think you should ban by function and many similar types like IWI Tavor, Valmet, Norinco 81, some SKS models were not included in ban. My view is this is a good step to stop gun runs but once parliament returns they need formal legislation that bans all centrefire semi-automatics with detachable magazines. This will ensure we don’t have to redo this every decade as in 90s Chretien government banned several assault weapons by name, but all that happened is gun manufacturers created a whole new set of models that were not captured in ban, so this method just creates a cat and mouse game. By banning all centrefire semi-automatics with detachable magazines, it not only bans current such weapons, it stops any future ones from entering the market.
Below are some objections and why I disagree with them.
- Doing through OIC is undemocratic – The buyback requires legislation so if that fails this will be useless, but with NDP, BQ, and Greens in favour of this it will pass. OICs are a stop gap measure to stop gun runs as we have seen in past that when bans are announced, many gun nuts going on buying spree to buy as many as possible to get before sales ended and also to drive up cost of buyback hoping that will kill it much like with gun registry. This prevents that.
- Taking advantage of tragedy and such weapons, especially since legally owned weren’t used there: Timing can be questioned, but reality is gun lobby will do this no matter what so best to get this done. Yes would have likely not prevented Nova Scotia killings, but may have prevented Quebec City mosque shooting, Dawson shooting, and Ecole Polytechnique.
- Punishes legal gun owners and not criminals: As mentioned with above shootings, some legal gun owners are legal until they are not. Vast majority of legal gun owners are law abiding but its not 100% so for every gun we must do a cost-benefit analysis. In case of these weapons, I believe the costs in that they can kill a lot of people quickly clearly outweighs benefits as you don’t need them to hunt and only some obscure sports shooting events use these which we can survive just fine without. Owning a firearm is a privilege not a right in Canada and I believe in the saying the old PCs had in the 80s, “ban all guns for some people, ban some guns for all people”. First is accomplished by licencing, second by bans like this. Reality is very few countries on earth either ban all guns and very few allow ownership of any type. Its more a question of where you draw the line.
- This will be a huge cost: Costs may very well be high, but if anything this is more an indictment of waiting too long since if we had banned these after Ecole Polytechnique in 80s when ownership was less common, cost would have been much lower.
- It is very divisive: Vast majority of Canadians, close to 80% in today’s Angus-Reid poll support this. Yes a vocal minority opposes this, but we should not allow them to hold us hostage.
- It won’t make a difference: If it saves just one life it is worth it. And for those using the automobile argument, cars have lots of benefits these lack so benefits of automobile ownership outweigh costs
- Large numbers of gun owners as we saw in New Zealand won’t comply: Solution to this is stronger enforcement and start arresting and charging those who don’t comply once amnesty ends. We are a democracy not mob justice. I didn’t like Trudeau or Horgan’s tax hike on people making my income, but I will still pay the taxes I am owed as I believe in respecting rule of law even laws I don’t like. If you dislike law, by all means protest against it, vote Liberals out, but don’t flout it. Allowing people to thumb their noses at laws they dislike creates a very dangerous precedent.
Finally I believe Tories are handling this poorly. Yes argue it should be in a bill not OIC or that due to high cost grandfathering is preferable to buyback. But like on a whole host of issues, they run on repealing this they will lose. Party is spending way too much time pandering to base and if it doesn’t change fast, they are going to lose the next election no matter how badly Trudeau screws up. Only question is will it be a majority or minority and just how many seats the Tories will lose. In Australia and UK, it was a conservative government under Margaret Thatcher after Hungerford massacre and John Howard after Port Arthur who banned these while in New Zealand the opposition National Party supported the recent ban. Canadian views on guns and our tradition of conservatism is much more in line with those countries than the US and parroting the NRA lines even if CCFR, NFA and others in gun lobby like it is a huge turnoff to most Canadians including many key swing voters Tories need. I understand tough to win leadership race due to gun lobby’s strength and I almost wish two parties hadn’t merged as I believe Reform types while loud on social media are a small minority and demographic trends since 90s have gone sharply against them meaning party would be better being like old PCs not Reform party. I really want Trudeau to lose, but I am almost wondering if the Tories need to lose badly to finally get it through their heads Canada doesn’t want a sharp turn to the right. Only problem is economic harm will be bad which is why politics in Canada today is so depressing.