Commentary – Total handgun ban won’t make society safer

Mac Olsen

Once again, there are calls for a total ban on handgun ownership in Canada, but don’t believe for one moment that this will completely eliminate gun violence and tragedies from occurring, or that their use in armed robberies will stop completely.

CTV National News reported on the handgun ban proposal on Sept. 4, citing data provided by Nanos Research. The data finds that “48 per cent of Canadians [support] and 19 per cent somewhat support a handgun ownership ban for anyone other than police officers and other security professionals.”

Their data also found that women are 75 per cent more likely to support or somewhat support the legislation, compared to 59 per cent among men. Check the full reports at the ctvnews.ca.

In spite of the data, I will continue to make the case against banning handgun ownership because it will never work.

And I will turn the tables on Nanos Research and challenge them to conduct a poll exclusively of handgun owners. How do they feel about such a ban? What do they think the answers are to handgun violence? There should also be an emphasis on the questions and commentary around securely storing firearms.

I have no doubt that the vast majority of handgun owners in Canada play safe and act responsibly with their firearms, not to mention the AR-15 type firearms they may also possess.

And let’s remember, Canada already has one of the strictest forms of handgun legislation in the world, which dictates you can’t just automatically buy and use one. You have to complete the restricted firearms course and go through a background check with the federal government as part of the application process for a firearms licence.

And even if you succeed in your application for the restricted firearms component of your licence, any and all handguns that you purchase have to be registered with the RCMP.

A transport permit is also needed to go back and forth from your home to the shooting range or firearms dealer. The same process applies to AR-15 type firearms.

The public should also be reminded that former Prime Minister Stephen Harper had legislation on the books stipulating minimum mandatory sentences for gun crimes. In 2015, the Supreme Court struck that legislation down as unconstitutional. That legislation was appropriate for all who commit armed robberies and shootings with handguns. Harper’s ‘get-tough’ approach to this issue at least ensured that convicted criminals would get more time in prison for their handgun offences.

If you think that banning handguns from all responsible owners is going to keep them out of the hands of criminals, think again. Determined criminals will always be able to acquire what they want, and that includes handguns, whether on the black market here in Canada, the U.S. or elsewhere.

Moreover, given all the RCMP news releases and TV news reports I see about handguns being used in robberies, there is no way that governments and law enforcement will ever be able to eliminate the flow of illegal handguns and their use in the commission of crimes.

Society isn’t going to be any safer if we ban handguns. Let cooler heads prevail in the matter of handgun ownership.

 

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