It was a great plan.
To stop the wrong people from obtaining firearms and ammunition it was writ in law that a citizen would have to be vetted by the government in order to qualify for ownership; specifically through obtaining a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL). This would ensure that only those anointed by the bureaucracy, through testing and background checks, would obtain the government-given right to own and use guns.
Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way, although the powers that be assiduously worked to keep the general public safe from gun violence by confiscating guns of hunters, target shooters and collectors and dragging their owners into court based (in many cases) on police and crown prosecutors’ flexible definitions of what constituted safe storage under the law.
All the while gang-bangers and drug dealers seemed to manage to stay armed regardless of the laws of the land. And when the courts formally banned them from gun ownership they simply went back out on the streets, defied the law and got more guns. No doubt because (after all) they are criminals and their way of life is based on breaking the law.
Now you would think that this would be obvious to everyone, particularly the police, who deal with the unlawful segment of our population of a frequent basis. However a recent discovery seems to have caused them some consternation.
Six people have been charged with operating a forgery ring that has stolen hundreds of identities.
Police and RCMP searched a home in downtown Edmonton and discovered counterfeiting equipment, along with hundreds of forged documents and cards. A sword disguised as a walking cane was the sole weapon found in the home.
One man was allegedly in the midst of forging firearms possession and acquisition cards when police arrived. Cpl. Julie Macfarlane-Smith, of the Edmonton commercial crime section, said such forged documents could enable the unauthorized purchase of guns and ammunition.
The police spokesperson seemed a bit taken aback by the brazenness of it all.
Cpl. Julie Macfarlane-Smith of the RCMP’s commercial crimes section said she’s never seen forged firearms licences before.
“It’s quite a process to receive (a legal) one,” she said, “and to think it’s a matter of changing a face and the accompanying data (on a licence) so someone can say, this is who I am and I’m here to buy a firearm or some ammunition, it’s seriously a concern.”
Sources close to Edmonton’s gangs have said guns are easy to obtain, but bullets are scarce on the street. The reason, they say, is because you need a licence to buy ammunition from a retailer.
They suggest that if bullets were more accessible, there’d be a lot more shootings in the city.
If criminals can get their hands on forged licences, McGowan said, “it’s particularly worrisome. What are we going to do next if there’s any prevalence of this?”
Indeed. What are we going to do?
I suppose we could pass more laws to make the point that it’s really, really bad to forge documents or obtain guns illegally. Or even reiterate that stealing is really, really frowned upon by society.
But I suspect it wouldn’t make a lot of difference one way or the other.
It’s not as though these particular bad guys were just concentrating on firearm licenses.
They found hundreds of stolen and forged pieces of I.D., including bank documents, credit cards, driver’s licences, birth certificates, Canadian citizenship papers, Treaty and Metis cards and company I.D. cards. They also seized computer equipment and software to print counterfeit cash….
After all, if you can manufacture driving licenses, birth certificates and citizenship papers, firearm Possession and Acquisition Licences are just another run on the production line.
All of which goes to the truth that if you pass a law limiting access to a product or even banning it outright, most people will try and comply even if they strongly disagree with its premise.
But if there is a market for that product and money to be made, clever people who don’t give a damn about the law or the rules will find some innovative and of course illegal way to bypass the system.
And in the meantime politicians will look to pass more laws to do the work that their old laws failed to do and the police will continue to do photo-ops of the “arsenals” that they have confiscated from the homes of those the bureaucracy, through their laws and regulations, has arbitrarily designated as criminals.
And somewhere, in a basement possibly near to you, a printing press is rolling.