Dear Ms. Lethbridge,
I would be most enlightened if you would explain to me, in simple terms, as I am but a simple man, exactly how registering guns or cars enhances public safety. Oh, I know you /believe/ it does, but pray do tell how? Please be factual and provide evidence.
You see, I think you are somewhat confused, and at the very least are mixing up your terms. Registration refers to informing the State that you or something you own exists, usually (as in the case of automobiles) for tax collection purposes or less often so we may avail ourselves of a government service.
While there may be some justification for licensing lawful gun owners like drivers – to show that that they have been trained and security vetted, for example – no such reason exists for registering each and every legally held firearm in the country. Unlike driving cars on public roads paid for by fuel taxes and registration fees, there is no similar cost to the State when lawful gun owners use their guns. And unlike gun owners, car owners do not face criminal sanction when they drive unregistered vehicles on private property. Even the few benefits of gun owner licensing are questionable, given that all the same screening and training requirements existed under the prior certification, which came into full effect in 1979. The main and crucial differences are that under a certification program no one was going to haul you off to jail or confiscate your personal property if your papers were not in order, and in addition unlike the current system, the FAC program had the enthusiastic support and consent of those it governed.
It is largely moot anyway because those responsible for most of the gun violence in Canada are career criminals who don’t try to license or register and couldn’t even if they did. Most have Court orders prohibiting them from owning firearms, but that never stops them from causing harm with guns or any other thing that comes to hand. That is because our current Firearms Act spends all its time regulating the millions of law-abiding sport shooters, and does absolutely nothing to track the relatively few violent criminal abusers of guns. Guess where we would get most bang for our gun control buck?
Unfortunately, and despite our opponents claims to the contrary, the one thing a gun registry does do very well is to allow for the widespread confiscation of firearms, again only from the lawful. This has happened repeatedly globally and historically, and has already taken place in Canada with the prohibition of .32 and .25 caliber and small barreled hand guns, namely those in use in Olympic competition and most suitable for women.
So getting back to your car analogy, how would you like it if your vehicle registration was used to prohibit, model by model, most of the cars you have ever wanted to drive? How would you like it if the drunk drivers still had no trouble getting behind the wheel of say a Mini Cooper, but lawful driver like you was denied one because the drunk had caused a crash. You would be even more outraged if the already prohibited repeat drunk driver got less punishment for his crime than you would for letting your vehicle registration lapse.
As to your claim that guns are solely designed for killing, there must be something terribly amiss with all of mine because after 47 years and many hundreds of thousands of shots fired no one has ever died by one of them! You see, they are designed to allow for friendly competition and enhance camaraderie, provide food for my table, and yes even to defend me and those under my guardianship against the immediate threat of deadly assault if need be, as we wait for the police to arrive. In this way they are life affirming devices.
Certainly they do share features with specifically designed military hardware, but then so do your car, kitchen knives, the plane you fly to vacation on and any of the numerous other tools and sporting gear you use every day. All can be abused by the ignorant, misguided, or malicious to cause harm, but that in no way justifies the far reaching intrusions into your personal and private affairs that the current Firearms Act does nor the arbitrary prohibition and confiscation of your legally acquired and harmlessly held personal property.
Now I will leave you with one last thought, again based on your automobile analogy: When you are driving home tonight after work, consider the trust you place in the other drives you share the road with. As the car approaching you at 100 km/h closes the gap, how sure are you that the driver isn’t despondent and suicidal, homicidal, tired, drunk, or distracted by her kids, the radio, or her Big Mac and fries?
You trust them implicitly to do the right thing and pass you safely by, this despite the fact that fully 3000 people die in vehicular accidents annually compared with combined murder and accidental gun deaths of only 200. You trust them with your children’s lives as they hurtle by in their 2000 kg steel juggernauts! I submit to you that if you trust your fellow Canadians to use their cars safely, you should be even more trusting of us who use firearms to do so safely.
M.J. Ackermann, MD (Mike)
Rural Family Physician
Always getting in the way of emotional anti-gun rhetoric.