Posts Tagged ‘gun rights’

Flumian spins the gun registry

August 27, 2009

Maryantonett Flumian who was the federal bureaucrat who ran the Canadian Firearms Centre for a year and a half was recently part of a two person panel discussing the early days of the federal gun registry.

Flumian was brought in to take charge of the program when it looked to be in serious trouble and had the potential of being a major embarrassment to her political masters.

Flumian was a pistol with a reputation for taking on tough jobs and making things work. She could be charming when she needed to be, but if you crossed her she could cut you off at the knees and throw your legs away. Talking to people who had worked under her in other departments, I got the distinct impression that it could be a stressful assignment.

For gun owners at the time, next to Justice Minister Alan Rock, she became the face of the gun registry. And it wasn’t a face that they loved.

It would be interesting to hear the inside story of this period in time from someone who had first-hand knowledge, but that is unlikely to happen. My take on it at the time was that Flumian was brought in as a ‘fixer’ and was told to make the program come together come hell or high water and damn the expense. And that is what she did. I don’t think that the Liberal politicians at the time gave a tinker’s damn as to what the registry cost just as long as it was made to work.

But the high cost of success has haunted them ever since.

From Flumian’s comments on the panel she wasn’t too enamoured by the pressure applied by¬† gun owners.

Canada’s controversial gun registry was the country’s first scandal at the dawn of the Internet age, says Maryantonett Flumian, who ran the Canadian Firearms Centre for 18 months in the late 1990s.

The early Internet allowed average Canadians to express their outrage about the cost and complexity of the gun registry, she said.

But it also allowed a small minority to hijack the issue, sometimes using mistruths, said Flumian.

“Particularly the anti-fire arms registry lobby was very adept at getting their message out,” she said yesterday. “It went viral.”


“It was the first time when you could watch that (Internet) campaign actually play out,” said Flumian. “It (the Internet) both helps democracy and sometimes allows a small group of people, especially in the early days … (to dominate an issue).”

I get the feeling that democracy only comes into play when it agrees with the government’s direction.

Flumian “now runs the non-profit Institute on Governance think tank in Ottawa that helps governments govern effectively”.

For some reason that amuses me.


Hunters, Anglers and Gun Owners: Fighting for your rights

August 13, 2009

I had lunch with a friend a few days ago, and we were talking about the issues of gun control and the attacks on hunting by various groups and individuals.

He pointed out that the anti-groups ask for the moon and settle for something less, while we try to defend the status quo. By doing so, we lose our rights, bit by bit and piece by piece.

He argued that we need a different mindset. We have to go to the table with the intent of of getting more and not just maintaining what we tentatively have. We need to push the limits of the government bureaucrats and the politicians.

We may not convince them to give us what we are asking for, but we may – not right now, but somewhere down the road – realize other concessions.

The key is that we don’t go in once, get rejected and then quit. The object is to keep coming back to the table to make our case.

Thus we should be pushing for the right to hunt with a handgun.

We should be demanding that transport permits for restricted and prohibited firearms be part and parcel of the firearms licence.

We should be demanding the right to carry a handgun in the backcountry for protection, rather than being forced to pack the weight of a long-gun.

How about making them take some of those firearms off their arbitrary prohibited list rather than worrying about which guns they will next add to the list.

We should make them justify the existence of the pointless and stupid laws that are currently on the books.

Why is a shotgun with a 16 inch barrel from the factory legal, while a shotgun whose barrel has been cut back to 16 inches is illegal?

Why are noise suppressors illegal? Wouldn’t their use make eminent sense in noise sensitive areas?

We need to demand more hunting and angling opportunity for resident hunters and anglers. There is room for more opportunity – we are just not being allowed to access it.

The problem is that too many of our organizations don’t want to take the hard line. Hell, they don’t want to take the semi-hard line.

But the animal rights, the anti-gun and the anti-hunting groups have no qualms about pushing their agendas and they haven’t been disenfranchised. In fact, they have identified people within governments who, if not favourable to their views, are not willing to stand up against them.

It seems that no-one else seems to have any problem pushing their agendas. Just us.

But the blame for our weak bargaining position doesn’t lie solely with our organizations. Every gun owner, hunter and angler needs to become educated about the issues and get personally involved at some level, whether it be letting their organization know what they expect from them, communicating their concerns to politicians and government staff or informing the public of the issues. Some people are there now, but not enough.

To be overly dramatic: We either fight or die.

Gun rights and Heller vs District of Columbia

March 21, 2008

There is an interesting article by Tom Gresham in the Shooting Wire on the DC gun ban case, or Heller vs District of Columbia.

Gresham gives a quick overview of the case and some commentary on where he thinks the decision by the Supreme Court Judges will go – he’s very positive.

But what I found interesting was his analysis of how the gun control debate has changed over the years and why. I think he is bang on.

Several points should be noted. First is that it took 20 years to set up this case. Over the course of two decades, beginning with the publication of Sanford Levinson’s article “The Embarrassing Second Amendment” in the Yale Law Journal, constitutional scholarship of the Second Amendment appeared (it was invisible before that) and grew. Almost all law journal articles about the amendment concluded that the widely-accepted (by courts and the media) concept that the right to keep and bear arms is a “collective right” was, in fact, wrong. Eventually, under the weight of this barrage of articles, even noted constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe changed his view, supporting the individual right concept in the latest version of his book, American Constitutional Law,” a standard text in law schools.

Two things have changed which also made it possible to reach this point. One is the destruction of the information gatekeepers — the mainstream media. Twenty years ago the established media could and did prevent any stories about effective use of guns for self defense from getting to the public. The media hammered gun owners in ways that can only be called bigoted. They could get away with it because there was no other way to reach the general public. Enter the internet and talk radio. Talk radio is the end run around the mainstream media, which is why the traditional news outlets hate it so much. When a national radio talk show called “Gun Talk” can reach a audience of some 20 million listeners with simple, reasonable, coherent conversations about gun rights, it rings true to the public. Of course, with the internet, all controls are off, and the validity of any argument must stand up to scrutiny often reaching the level of assault. The gatekeepers are out of business. Additionally, 20 years ago, no one could have imagined a television series called “Personal Defense TV,” where we go to gunfighting schools each week!

Through those communication devices, we have been able to make the other major change. We changed the vocabulary. A big tip of the hat to Alan Korwin ( for understanding early on that the words we use make a difference. Alan and I have pushed for a decade to have those on “our” side realize that we aren’t speaking to gun banners. We are speaking to the uncommitted public, and that we need to choose our words carefully.

Did you note that the media reports no longer call us “pro-gun?” That’s huge. Now, the stories talk about us supporting gun rights, and there are no quotation marks around that phrase. We are not “anti-gun control,” but rather, we are “pro gun rights.” That puts our opponents in the position of being against rights. “A day long-awaited by gun-rights activists,” said the Chicago Times. “To gun rights advocates, the numbers prove a different point,” noted the Associated Press. USA Today’s story began, “The Supreme Count will hear oral arguments Tuesday in the gun rights case . . . .”

That single change in vocabulary may be one of the most important things to happen to the gun rights movement.

I love his comment about the “information gatekeepers”, except that I think that the term extends not only to the media but to government bureaucrats and probably others as well. If you can control information and communications you can pretty well manipulate whomever and whatever you want. The internet has put an end to much of that, which is why totalitarian governments do their damnedest to restrict internet access to their citizens and why there is always talk about legislation to ‘control’ the internet in so-called more enlightened countries.

There are a enough politicians and bureaucrats out there who think that democracy is fine as long as it doesn’t leak down to the masses.