Archive for November, 2006

Desperate Measures?

November 29, 2006

An amusing sidelight to the Canadian Shooting Sports Association AGM in Toronto was when a reporter from the Toronto Star showed up at the banquet where NRA President Sandra Froman was to give her talk to the attendees. When he was told that this was a private event he said that he had an invitation.

Now the Toronto Star has been consistently negative on firearm issues over the years and he certainly had not received an invitation from the organizers. It turns out that the “invitation” came from Wendy Cuckier of the Coalition for Gun Control in the form of an email, telling him that this supper was an event that he should not miss. In fact he appeared to be under the impression that he was going to meet Wendy there.

He was not a happy camper when he took his leave.

Wendy said it was all a misunderstanding and that the email was really a press release. However it was not the same as the press release that the Coalition had placed on the Canadian News Service.

A little gamesmanship that backfired.

“Quebec as a Nation”

November 29, 2006

Small Dead Animals links to a quote by Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations which she titles “Beyond Parody”.

“Any action that elevates the status of one segment of Canadian society over another is completely wrong. There is a real appreciation in Canada that we don’t do nation building in this way.”

Is that funny or merely ironic?

Even more on firearm bans

November 28, 2006

The recent rumour that there was a move afoot to ban semi-autos seems to have fizzled out. At least for the time being, Prime Minister Harper has publicly stated that there will be no bans and we are told that it was never discussed in caucus. We don’t know if it was pushed by anyone in the bureaucracy and we will never know if there were discussions at that level. But at least as far as the government is concerned, apparently it isn’t an issue.

That doesn’t mean that it’s not still fermenting out there in the brains of many anti-gunners. One of the Liberal Party of Canada’s policy resolutions (page 58) to be debated and voted upon at the Liberal Leadership and Biennial Convention being held from November 28th to December 2nd in Montréal states: 

WHEREAS the cancellation of the gun registry is part of the Conservative Party’s program;

and

WHEREAS the Conservative government has started to slash into the registry by ending

requirements to register long guns; and

WHEREAS police forces have continually supported the gun registry and spoken out

against efforts by the Conservative government to weaken or end it; and

WHEREAS the continued support of police forces for a total gun registry is a strong

indication of the capacity of the current system to reduce the harm caused by guns; and

WHEREAS certain dangerous weapons are not found on the current list of illegal

weapons; and

WHEREAS it is necessary to continue to effectively control the possession and use of

guns;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada take the necessary steps:

1. to counter the efforts by the Conservative government to end or reduce the scope

of the current gun registry that was enacted by parliament several years ago;

2. to review the classification of guns so that semi-automatic weapons be classified

as an illegal weapons; and

3. to enact more severe laws to better control the possession and use of guns.

Liberal Party of Canada ( Quebec)

That’s pretty clear in its’ intent. 

On a more local level, after an apparently targeted shooting  in the District of North Vancouver, Darrel Mussatto, the Mayor of North Vancouver (the shooting took place outside of his jurisdiction) said “there is no room for any type of firearms at all, except for police”. (Vancouver Province, November 26, 2006). Does that mean we would have to disarm the military as well? So much for an effective military in Canada.

The point being that even though you may write those remarks off as being merely stupid, the speakers are serious and any firearm owner who gets complacent or doesn’t believe that anyone would ever actually ban his or her firearms needs to get a grip on reality.

 

Just remember: “Even paranoids have enemies”. I think that applies here.

CSSA AGM

November 28, 2006

Just returned from Toronto from the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) AGM. The highlight was an address at the Saturday night banquet by NRA President Sandra Froman. A very good talk going back to how a young, San Francisco born, Los Angeles based lawyer, who had never been exposed to firearms ownership, ever ended up being President of the strongest gun-rights organization in the world. (I will link to this talk as soon as it is posted on the CSSA site).

 

There were other interesting presentations given at a townhall meeting on Saturday afternoon by Garry Breitkreuz (Federal MP – Yorkton Melville) and Ed Burlew, an Ontario lawyer specializing in firearms law.

Garry received an enthusiastic welcome from the participants – both at the townhall meeting and the evening banquet – in recognition of the fact that he and his parliamentary assistant in Ottawa, Dennis Young, have been crucial in keeping the issue of gun control and the failings of the federal Liberal’s ill-conceived Bill C-68 in the public and parliamentary view.

 

Garry’s talk centered around what is happening in Ottawa regarding firearms legislation and the difference in fighting the fight as an opposition MP as compared to being a government MP. The difference being in the main that as an opposition MP you can raise hell publicly but as a government MP you have to be more circumspect. Some call it being muzzled, but unfortunately it is simply a fact of political life. If you are a member of government that is formulating policy you simply can’t lay all of your cards on the table ahead of time. So we as constituents are forced to simply wait and keep the faith.

 

Ed Burlew’s talk was more disturbing as he dealt with firearms cases in the courts and how the federal prosecutors ware dealing with firearms charges in Ontario. None of it was good news. They are aggressively going after gun owners with the intent of confiscating firearms. That’s not meant as seizing them until the individual has had his day court and then returning them if he is found to be not guilty. That means confiscating them and refusing to give them back come hell or high water.

This is particularly disturbing in light of the fact that the Conservative government is supposed to be friendlier to the beleaguered Canadian gun owner. What it appears to me is that the old bureaucrats from the previous government are still alive and well and doing business in Ottawa. At least I presume that is is why these policies are still being followed to the detriment of gun owners. I had hoped to see a much more positive attitude toward gun ownership once the Conservatives came to power, even as a minority government. Unfortunately a positive change in attitude in the bureaucracy hasn’t been that noticeable. 

                                               

Canadian Homicide Statistics for 2005

November 10, 2006

Statistics Canada recently released their statistics on 2005 homicides.

As their report notes, homicides have gone up to their highest point in a decade after reaching an all time low in 2003 and the number of homicides with a firearm went up for the 3rd year in a row. Stats Canada also makes the point that the increase in homicides was mostly due to an increase in gang related homicides and that 2/3rds of those are committed with a firearm – usually a handgun.

Yorkton-Melville MP Garry Breitkreuz also has an interesting analysis of Stats Canada figures.

More on semi-autos and gun ban

November 9, 2006

Word is that Yorkton-Melville MP Garry Breitkreuz met with Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and in response to the rumour about the banning of semi-automatic firearms,  the Minister said: “There will be no reclassification of firearms.”

Not sure exactly what that means. Does it mean that they would have to reclassify them to ban them or can you ban them without reclassifying them? Was that a real answer? I don’t think that I feel any better about the issue.

But speaking of semi-autos, the above-mentioned Garry Breitkreuz received an access to information answer from the RCMP about the number of semi-auto firearms legally  registered in Canada (Note that I didn’t say the actual number in Canada).

The info is broken down by province, but the total number of registered non-restricted semi-autos – handguns, rifles and shotguns – is 974,449. (There were 3 non-restricted handguns listed. I haven’t figured that one out yet, but the RCMP note says that they are “anomalies”.) The overall total including non-restricted, restricted and prohibs is 1,309,546.

And they were excited in Toronto about collecting 261 guns last November during their gun amnesty.

Mounties get their man

November 9, 2006

In an earlier post I asked what had gone wrong with the RCMP, considering all of the problems they have been going through, referencing a newspaper article that detailed misconduct of 81 officers in BC alone. In that article an RCMP spokesperson said that none of the officers in question had been fired  but most had received counselling or a reprimand on their file.

But there are transgressions that merit immediate and continuing action. An article in the Vancouver Sun reports:

In a Vancouver hearing connected to Ottawa via video-conference, a tribunal of senior officers today found Const. Derek Smart guilty of disgraceful conduct over a seven-week period in September and October of 2003 while he was working in the community policing section for the Comox detachment.

What was his crime?

He used a computer in the RCMP office to check his personal emails on his coffee breaks and after his shift.

He was suspended with pay for more than two-and-a-half years while the case, along with a second matter, was investigated. The subject of the second matter was not disclosed, and the tribunal dismissed it after being told no evidence could be found to substantiate it.  

There has to be more to this than meets the eye. Suspended with pay for 3 years for checking your personal email? Where was the counselling?

Seeing the unseen

November 8, 2006

William A. Whittle on his blog site “Eject, Eject, Eject” has an excellent essay titled, “Seeing the Unseen” which is well worth reading.

Today, it seems that legions of people – growing legions – are falling victims to ideas and beliefs that on the face of it are patently false…things that are so clearly and obviously nuts that you really have to wonder what deep, mighty engine of emotional need could possibly drive a brain so deep into a hole. Seriously now, there are millions and millions of people on this planet who will torture logic and reason to mind-bending extremes in order to believe monumentally ridiculous “theories” … theories drawn from an emotional need so warped and debased that you are catapulted beyond anger and disbelief directly into pathos and the desire to call 911 before these people hurt themselves.

So perhaps we could take a walk through Fantasy Island armed only with a shotgun of logic and a few fact-filled shells and see what intellectual tumors we may safely blow into atoms. Time is short! So let’s start with the easy stuff and work our way up to the Lord God King Mack-Daddy falsehood of our age.

 Read the whole thing.

Firearm amnesties: a cynical public relations event

November 4, 2006

The new fad these days seems to be firearm amnesties run by local police departments.

British Columbia held an amnesty over the month of June, 2006. Toronto held a 24 day amnesty in November, 2005 and Hamilton a month long one in March, 2006. Manitoba, Cape Breton, Sudbury, Edmonton and Ottawa are among other areas that have held their own firearm amnesty.

The stated reason for these amnesties is to “get firearms off the streets”. Of course few to none of these firearms were ever “on the street”. Many are turned in by older people who have had a particular firearm around from the days when they hunted or farmed. Some would be firearms that have been passed down from a relative, now long-gone.

The sad part is that many of these firearms have some real value that these people could realize if these guns were sold or if the government would fairly compensate them when they turn them over.

Of course that will never happen because:

1. No one wants to allocate any funds to paying these people for their property, and
2. The police want the public relations boost of being able to say that we can now sleep safer in our beds at night because these dangerous weapons (which have never been used in a crime) have been removed from the “streets” and therefore don’t want any outside buyers to take ownership.

An article in the May 7th, 2006 issue of the Edmonton Journal quoted a spokesman for the Edmonton police as  saying, “The main point for this gun amnesty is to have citizens turn in weapons they will not be using, whether it’s old hunting rifles or historic weapons. What police are trying to do is reduce the number of weapons out there that are accessible to criminals.”

Old hunting rifles or historic weapons? No Uzi’s or AK47s that the gun banners seem to have palpitations over? It seems to me that if they are worried about the relatively few firearms that get turned in on an amnesty they must be frothing at the mouth to find some reason to get their hands on the rest of the legal firearms out there.

And it is certainly only the legally owned firearms that they are concerned about as they freely admit that the guns that are really out on the street are not going to be turned in under their amnesty program.

The Edmonton Journal article goes on to quote the Deputy Chief for the Hamilton police force as saying, “Because every gun we took off the street made officers safer, it was a real positive.” and that, “the long-term effect of the firearms amnesty is difficult to determine. “We haven’t had any shootings, touch wood, since that event.”

I have yet to figure out how destroying some hunting rifles and antiques that have been in the possession of law-abiding citizens for decades without ever causing the police a single iota of trouble would make the police officers noticeably safer, especially when I think that there are millions of similar firearms spread around the country that are similarly causing no harm to the community. Is the thought of all those legal firearms are keeping those officers up at night?

And the value of the amnesty is “difficult to determine?” I think not. The police themselves in moments of candor recognize that the amnesties will not reduce crime. An Edmonton criminologist says that “Gun amnesties serve more as a waste disposal program than as a way to curb gun violence”. 

So what purpose do these amnesties serve? Well, police chiefs, like all good politicians – and never doubt the fact that they are politicians in their own right – know that it is better to be perceived by the public as doing something (anything). And it makes no difference if what you are doing in no way solves the stated problem (crime and violence in the streets) as long as you can convince the media (and therefore the public) that you are “doing something” (taking guns off the street).

Times have changed. When I was much younger, a firearms amnesty was made available so you could legally register any unregistered handguns you might have in your possession without fear of prosecution. But that was another time and a different Canada. 


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