Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lessons from Canadian Gun Control

I have a blog friend (and occasional nemesis) who lives in the Great White North. He's a liberal who hates guns and favors gun control. We debate about this topic quite vigorously. We share some common interests (when we aren't trying to gnaw each others faces off).

He thinks our gun culture is crazy. One of the things he claims is that he is safe in Canada from gun violence because his government cares about him and they have common sense laws restricting guns. Their police force is capable of enforcing the law and protecting the citizens.

We should learn a lesson from them, he says.

Hmmmm..... Lets look at that, shall we?

Prior to 1934, Canada had relatively few laws concerning firearms. That year, the Canadian Government began mandatory handgun registration for everyone in the nation. Not much happened over the next 30 years in regards to gun control. A tweak here, a tweak there... just little nibbles at the apple.

In 1969, though, somebody somewhere got a serious gun-hating bug up their ass. They passed laws classifying "non-restricted", "restricted", and "prohibited" weapons. It was your basic "can have this, can't have that, don't even LOOK at those over there" type of law. All very scientific and virtually guaranteed to keep people snuggly and safe....

In the 1970's they decided people needed a "Firearm Acquisition Certificate", with a mandatory criminal background check, to buy a gun. I'm sure they sat around feeling very safe indeed while eating poutine down at the local cafe.

Looks like it's just like my friend said... Canada developed common sense gun control laws and everyone is safer for it. The Wise Government and capable Police Force are keeping people safe!

On December 6, 1989 a 24 year old man walked onto the campus of a University in Montreal and shot 14 people to death. He didn't face any resistance because there wasn't anyone else there with a gun. No Cop. No Politician. No Gun Control Advocate. His weapon was legally obtained and legally owned under Canada's Gun Control laws at the time. The shooting only ended after the man shot himself.

Then, as now, the cry for immediate revisions and toughening of the Gun Control Laws was loud and persistent.... and irrational.

Between 1989 and 1991 they tightened up restrictions even more. Lets Double Down on a failed policy! They went after "military style" weapons, and made changes to the nifty Firearm Acquisition Certificate that utterly failed them the first time around. They made it tougher to legally get guns, enacted a 28 day waiting period to get a certificate, made safety training mandatory, restricted "high capacity" magazines, limited semi-auto rifles to 5 rounds.... on and on and on.

WOW! Way to get tough, Canada! Your politicians and liberal think-tanks sure tackled that problem with modern vigor. The people of Canada should be REALLY safe now.

In August of 1992, an associate professor at Concordia University got pissed off with about his job, walked on campus, and shot four people to death while wounding a fifth person. The Police didn't end the shooting spree here either. Two of his hostages managed to get the gun away from him and overpower him.

But... but.... they had just passed all those restrictions, rules, and laws intended to make people safer.

In September of 2006, at Dawson College in .... you guessed it: Quebec... a guy walked in and started shooting students. Before he was done, he had fired 60 shots, killed one person, and seriously injured 19. All of his weapons were legally owned under Canada's restrictive gun laws.

There actually were Good Guys with Guns on the scene this time - although strictly by accident. Two police officers were at the college on an unrelated matter. They shot the murderer in the arm and he then took his own life by shooting himself in the head. Had they not been there and/or the gunman been a better shot - you'd be looking at a massacre that could have made the recent tragedy in Connecticut pale in comparison.

In the aftermath, the Politicians (who know best) all had opinions on what to do So That This Type of Tragedy Never Happens Again. My favorite, from Wiki (emphasis mine):

Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe: "It's tragic. We can never explain why these things happen. At the Polytechnique women were targeted. But here, we have no idea." Duceppe also suggested the need for a national gun registry.

Yeah, Gilles... that should probably fix everything.

So, you tell me Calvin. Exactly what is the lesson I'm supposed to learn from the "success" of Canadian Gun Control? Is it that I should hope for a shooter with really bad aim, or is it that I shouldn't visit College Campuses in Quebec?

The lesson here is this: Gun Control does not make us safe from violence of any sort, least of all "gun violence". Banning specific types of guns because they look "scary" does not reduce violence. Making people use smaller magazines does not reduce violence. Keeping detailed records of every person's gun purchases does not reduce violence.

Class Dismissed.


Kal said...

We can count the incidents of mass killing in our country on ONE HAND and we never stop remembering those massacres. You guys have one of these a week. It's no comparison. We are safter and have more wild area where guns are needed. We seem to have found a compromise that works. Like our medical system we have a lot to teach you pigheads.

3boxesofbs said...


Mass shootings once a week? Care to provide any evidence to support that.

And then could you provide anything close to evidence refuting what Paladin wrote -- that your gun control laws did not stop the incidents of mass murder!

Paladin said...

Once again, Cal, you miss the point entirely.

I'll spell it out for you in a shorter format:

The restrictions being called for in the US to stop this sort of thing from happening are the same restrictions that were in place in Canada when the last shooting I referenced occured. He shot 20 people in spite of the massive gun control legislation in place. And he did so with legally owned firearms. Today, no gun law you have on the books is capable of keeping someone from doing the EXACT SAME THING.

Given that fact... don't you think, just perhaps, that there's some other reason for your lack of mass shootings besides gun control?

Of course not. I forgot guns are evil.

Divemedic said...

I think that comparing crime in Canada to crime is the US is an apples and oranges comparison. Canada's entire population is less than the population of the state of California, and spread across a much larger land mass. In other words, Canada is a largely rural nation, having only 6 cities with a population of over a million people.

Even so, violent crime rates (per 100,000 population) between Canada and the US will surprise you. The violent crime rate in Canada is 1282 per 100,000. The violent crime rate in the US is 386 per 100,000.

The murder rate in Canada is lower overall, until you exclude the large urban areas from the US statistics, and compare the areas of the US with similar population density areas of Canada. In this sort of apples to apples comparison, the US actually has a lower murder rate than does Canada.

I believe that this indicates that we have a problem with culture in our large cities more than it indicates a gun problem, being that our suburban and rural communities have a higher rate of firearms ownership than do the cities.


FBI Uniform crime report:

Canada Crime report:

Paladin said...

Divemedic - That's precisely the conclusion I was trying to nudge Calvin into reaching. It's not an accident that all three of these mass shooting occured in high-population density areas in Quebec.

When Calvin sees the words "Gun Control", though.... he chases after them like a cat chasing a laser pointer.

BobG said...

I never have met an anti-gun person who actually knew what they were talking about; most of them just swallow the bullshit that the media feeds them, and most of it is wrong, or sometimes bald-faced lies.