Posts Tagged ‘gun laws’

Surprising news: Bad guys do bad things

July 1, 2010

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.


Airport regulations, gun bans and dog bans

January 14, 2010

I have been reading Malcolm Gladwell‘s new book, What the Dog Saw, and a chapter titled Troublemakers (What Pit Bulls Can Teach Us About Crime) resonated with some of my thoughts in previous postings.

Gladwell writes about troublemakers and how the powers-that-be deal with perceived threats to the public.

Specifically he relates an incident in Ottawa, where three uncontrolled pit bulls attacked a young child and in the following media uproar, the provincial legislature chose as their solution to prevent further attacks, a ban on the ownership of the pit bull breed.

But Gladwell  points out that the danger of dog attacks isn’t confined to one breed and that at different times other breeds have been considered and demonized as ‘dangerous’ dogs. Notably German shepherds and Dobermans, but also Rottweilers and others.

He also notes that a dog’s behaviour is directly related to how it is raised and how it is treated.

Where once German shepherds and Dobermans were valued as guard dogs and socialized as such, now it is pit bulls that fill that position. They have increasingly been associated with the ownership by outlaw bikers, marijuana grow operators and various other misfits and anti-social individuals.

But what really interested me was Gladwell’s analysis of the Ottawa attack, the dog owner’s previous history and the eventual political solution.

Jayden Clairoux was attacked by Jada, a pit-bull terrier, and her two pit-bull–bullmastiff puppies, Agua and Akasha. The dogs were owned by a twenty-one-year-old man named Shridev Café, who worked in construction and did odd jobs. Five weeks before the Clairoux attack, Café’s three dogs got loose and attacked a sixteen-year-old boy and his four-year-old half brother while they were ice skating. The boys beat back the animals with a snow shovel and escaped into a neighbor’s house. Café was fined, and he moved the dogs to his seventeen-year-old girlfriend’s house. This was not the first time that he ran into trouble last year; a few months later, he was charged with domestic assault, and, in another incident, involving a street brawl, with aggravated assault. “Shridev has personal issues,” Cheryl Smith, a canine-behavior specialist who consulted on the case, says. “He’s certainly not a very mature person.” Agua and Akasha were now about seven months old. The court order in the wake of the first attack required that they be muzzled when they were outside the home and kept in an enclosed yard. But Café did not muzzle them, because, he said later, he couldn’t afford muzzles, and apparently no one from the city ever came by to force him to comply. A few times, he talked about taking his dogs to obedience classes, but never did. The subject of neutering them also came up—particularly Agua, the male—but neutering cost a hundred dollars, which he evidently thought was too much money, and when the city temporarily confiscated his animals after the first attack it did not neuter them, either, because Ottawa does not have a policy of preëmptively neutering dogs that bite people.

On the day of the second attack, according to some accounts, a visitor came by the house of Café’s girlfriend, and the dogs got wound up. They were put outside, where the snowbanks were high enough so that the back-yard fence could be readily jumped. Jayden Clairoux stopped and stared at the dogs, saying, “Puppies, puppies.” His mother called out to his father. His father came running, which is the kind of thing that will rile up an aggressive dog. The dogs jumped the fence, and Agua took Jayden’s head in his mouth and started to shake. It was a textbook dog-biting case: unneutered, ill-trained, charged-up dogs, with a history of aggression and an irresponsible owner, somehow get loose, and set upon a small child. The dogs had already passed through the animal bureaucracy of Ottawa, and the city could easily have prevented the second attack with the right kind of generalization—a generalization based not on breed but on the known and meaningful connection between dangerous dogs and negligent owners. But that would have required someone to track down Shridev Café, and check to see whether he had bought muzzles, and someone to send the dogs to be neutered after the first attack, and an animal-control law that insured that those whose dogs attack small children forfeit their right to have a dog. It would have required, that is, a more exacting set of generalizations to be more exactingly applied. It’s always easier just to ban the breed.

Which is exactly what the Ontario provincial government did: banned the breed.

So while I rant on about the stupidity of the ongoing airport security upgrades, which do nothing to improve security, but everything to inconvenience the traveling public, and Canada’s vindictive firearms legislation that does nothing to address crime and/or violence, but seems to be all about restricting and penalizing the law-abiding, it appears that the problem is the inability of those who run our lives to address the real issues with real solutions.

Christie Clark, who is an ex-provincial politician in British Columbia and who currently has a radio talk show out of Vancouver, made an on-air remark recently, saying that politicians don’t need to actually do something, but they need to look as though they are doing something.

That has been a long-time belief of mine, but it was surprising to hear an ex-politician make the statement.

Of course, anyone who has dealt with the upper levels of the bureaucracy in any level of government eventually comes to terms with the realization that their function is to arrange meetings and then more meetings, but never actually come to a final conclusion, unless it fits their own agenda or comes down the chain of command from their particular political minister. Who also  makes few decisions unless they are approved or initiated from a higher power – nominally the Prime Minister’s office federally, or the Premier’s office provincially.

All of which would make it a fair statement to say that most individuals or groups that are looking for serious input on issues are spinning their wheels if they are spending most of their time trying to convince bureaucrats or even a minister – most of whom are more concerned with photo-ops, rather than issues – of the value of their position.

In any event, Gladwell’s analysis (read the whole article) explains much of the reason for many of the stupid laws we have on the books.

Remember: It’s not what you do, it’s what you look like you’re doing.

Damn, we’re in good hands.

Selling out Peter for Paul’s Benefit

August 3, 2009

When I started to read this article by Paul Craig Robert, I was intrigued by the title: Gun Control: What’s the Agenda?

Now I thought I always knew the gun-banners’ agenda. It was, and is, to get rid of guns owned by civilians. I also thought that I knew some of their motivations.

We’ve heard the arguments hundred of times. Banning guns (so the theory goes) would materially reduce crime, suicides, fatal accidents, violence in the home and make the public domain for all intents and purposes a a safer place and although it might not create a utopia but it would be a step in that direction.

Then there are the animal rights activists who would see the banning of firearms as a way to ending hunting activities. (They could ban bows later – or sooner for that matter).

I hoped that the author might have some new insights on the subject.

As a lead-in, the author pointed out the facts behind New York’s oppressive Sullivan’s Law.

New York state senator Timothy Sullivan, a corrupt Tammany Hall politician, represented New York’s Red Hook district. Commercial travelers passing through the district would be relieved of their valuables by armed robbers. In order to protect themselves and their property, travelers armed themselves. This raised the risk of, and reduced the profit from, robbery. Sullivan’s outlaw constituents demanded that Sullivan introduce a law that would prohibit concealed carry of pistols, blackjacks, and daggers, thus reducing the risk to robbers from armed victims.

The criminals, of course, were already breaking the law and had no intention of being deterred by the Sullivan Act from their business activity of armed robbery. Thus, the effect of the Sullivan Act was precisely what the criminals intended. It made their life of crime easier.

He then dealt with the fallacy of the epidemic of gun deaths among children in the U.S. and notes that the White House Offices of National Drug Control Policy says that drugs is one of the leading factors in homicides.

According to the National Drug Control Policy, trafficking in illicit drugs is associated with the commission of violent crimes for the following reasons: “competition for drug markets and customers, disputes and rip-offs among individuals involved in the illegal drug market, [and] the tendency toward violence of individuals who participate in drug trafficking.” Another dimension of drug-related crime is “committing an offense to obtain money (or goods to sell to get money) to support drug use.”

Roberts then writes:

Those who want to outlaw guns have not explained why it would be any more effective than outlawing drugs, alcohol, robbery, rape, and murder. All the crimes for which guns are used are already illegal, and they keep on occurring, just as they did before guns existed.

So what is the real agenda? Why do gun control advocates want to override the Second Amendment. Why do they not acknowledge that if the Second Amendment can be over-ridden, so can every other protection of civil liberty?

There are careful studies that conclude that armed citizens prevent one to two million crimes every year. Other studies show that in-home robberies, rapes, and assaults occur more frequently in jurisdictions that suffer from gun control ordinances. Other studies show that most states with right-to-carry laws have experienced a drop in crimes against persons.

Why do gun control advocates want to increase the crime rate in the US?

Why is the gun control agenda a propagandistic one draped in lies?

At which point he inexplicably goes sideways.

He blames the NRA for fueling the irrational fear of guns through trade advertisements in their members’ only magazine.

The NRA is the largest and best known organization among the defenders of the Second Amendment. Yet, a case might be made that manufacturers’ gun advertisements in the NRA’s magazines stoke the hysteria of gun control advocates.

Full page ads offering civilian versions of weapons used by “America’s elite warriors” in US Special Operations Command, SWAT, and by covert agents “who work in a dark world most of us can’t even understand,” are likely to scare the pants off people who are afraid of guns.

And although he begrudgingly acknowledges that there is some validity to hunting, he apparently believes that gun owners would be better served if  it kind of went away.

The same goes for hunters. Recent news reports of “hunters” slaughtering wolves from airplanes in Alaska and of a hunter, indeed, a poacher, who shot a protected rare wolf in the US Southwest and left the dead animal in the road, enrage people who have empathy with animals and wildlife. Many Americans have had such bad experiences with their fellow citizens that they regard their dogs and cats, and wildlife, as more intelligent and noble life forms than humans. Wild animals can be dangerous, but they are not evil.

Americans with empathy for animals are horrified by the television program that depicts hunters killing beautiful animals and the joy hunters experience in “harvesting” their prey. Many believe that a person who enjoys killing a deer because he has a marvelous rack of antlers might enjoy killing a person.

He is apparently ignorant of the fact that the aerial shooting of wolves in Alaska is a State initiative to control the predator population and is not done by “hunters”, and he identifies the person who illegally shot a wolf in the southwest as a poacher whom he apparently associates with legitimate hunters. In fact his whole diatribe on hunters and hunting would indicate that Roberts sits quite comfortably in the anti-hunting camp.

So after wondering what the anti-gun agenda is, we find out that apparently they don’t really have an agenda, it’s just that the NRA (and I presume other magazines) publish advertising for modern guns that “are ugly as sin”, and whose “appearance is threatening, unlike the beautiful lines of a Winchester lever action or single shot rifle, or a Colt single action revolver, or the WW II 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, guns that do not have menacing appearances” which makes people fear guns and makes them want to ban them. And if that isn’t enough those damned hunters are out there killing wolves and other beautiful animals which makes people think that they “might enjoy killing a person”. All enough reason to ban firearms – apparently.

The author then goes on to wax poetic about the joys of target shooting which one could apparently do without fear of the gun banners if it wasn’t for the NRA’s advertising practices and – again – those damned hunters.

It appalls me that there are still those out there, who profess to be “one of us” who have such a simplistic and  (dare I say) stupid view of the issues.

One would hope that by now we would have gone beyond the divisions where long gun owners were willing to sell out handgun owners in the hope that doing so would take the focus off their firearms. Or in Britain the owners of double barreled shotguns being willing to sacrifice  those who owned pumps and semi-autos.

But apparently the message that the anti-gunners are quite willing to pick us off one by one still hasn’t reached everyone.

Whether it is the anti-gun or the anti-hunting crowd, they know that they cannot get everything they want in one big bucket and are quite happy take their little victories. Unfortunately some of which we give them in the vain hope that they will be satisfied enough to go away and leave us alone. Which of course has never been in their game plan.

There is little question that Canada;s Firearms Act was written in such a manner as to make things more bureaucratically difficult for gun owners in the hope that many would get rid of their guns and drop out of the system. Which many did. The Act relegated some firearms (most notably handguns with barrels 4″ or less in length) to ‘prohibited’ status and while current owners were grandfathered it ensured that no-one else would ever be able to legally acquire them. In that way they would eventually be purged from the system.

Toronto Mayor David Miller has been on a crusade to ban handguns, obviously in a misguided attempt to demonstrate to his electorate that he is “doing something to fight crime”. All gun owners should the strongly and publicly opposing this.

Some years ago there was an attack against bear hunting in B.C. The ban proponents wanted to totally stop the hunting of black bear – not exactly a threatened species in this province. Of course they weren’t able to win that fight, but in the process the Ministry of Environment decided that they would put in a new regulation that would force all bear hunters to salvage the meat of any bears they shot. This was just for black bear. Although some bear hunters already kept the meat (actually good eating), most hunted for the hide. The Ministry thought that bringing the meat in would legitimize the hunt and remove the objections of the environmentalists.

Did it work? Well it removed a bunch of hunters from the system and the environmentalists are currently back again trying to stop bear hunting. And the new solution being floated around to blunt the attack? Put in a regulation to make it a requirement for hunters to salvage grizzly bear meat. Which shows that we have learned little from our past mistakes.

The antis are focused and patient. We, as gun owners and hunters, are divided and complacent. If that doesn’t change, our future is bleak.

I keep telling you: It’s not the tools

February 20, 2009

Blunt Object states the obvious – which unfortunately is not that obvious to the CBC. Plus a little reporting inventiveness.

Oh, yes, those dreaded firearms.  I find it in particularly poor taste that the CBC keeps harping on teh ebil gunz, when their own statistics show that plenty of people have been killed by attackers using other weapons.  If someone stabs me to death with a rusty screwdriver, is my death somehow less tragic to my friends and family because I wasn’t shot?

And once again, this zomg teh gunz attitude is somewhat less than perfectly supported by what people are actually saying.  CBC’s anonymous reporter writes:

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said he wants to see a co-ordinated approach by police forces to curb the increasing gun violence.

(Emphasis added.)

Gregor Robertson actually said:

“How many killings does it have to take before we deal with gangs as a metro police force?”

(Emphasis added.)

I submit that we’ll do better if we keep an eye on the human agents who’re off killing each other, rather than on the tools they happen to use to do so.

(Anyway, how could this possibly be happening here? Our gun laws are almost as strict as, um… Chicago’s.  Nevermind.)