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LETTER - Proposed gun bill has little to do with public safety; it’s about votes

Dear editor,
(Black Press file photo).

Dear editor,

I read with interest the front page story in the Dec. 14 paper (Licensed gun owners say Bill C-21 is flawed)

I’d like to further clarify why this legislation is both misguided and deceptive. I recently sent an email to the Prime Minister with a link to two pictures. One was a group picture of Comox Valley Fish and Game club members gathered for an event up at the club and the other was of Lower Mainland gang members wanted for or suspected of violent gun crimes. “One of these things is not like the other,” to quote Sesame Street. The handgun freeze only affects one of those two groups… the club members.

The reason is not hard to understand. It has been firmly established that the overwhelming majority of crimes committed with handguns in Canada are committed with unregistered weapons smuggled in from the U.S. and elsewhere.

A vanishingly small number of such crimes are committed with handguns obtained legally or stolen from legal owners. Of the 277 firearms homicides in Canada in 2020, for example, only nine were carried out by licensed gun owners, of which there are approximately 2.2 million. The almost daily shootings you hear and read about among the members of drug gangs are clearly being carried out with illegally smuggled weapons by criminals who, by definition, aren’t prone to obeying laws to begin with, much less laws restricting the “tools of their trade”.

Contrast that with legal gun owners. These are your friends and neighbours who enjoy a variety of shooting sports with their legally obtained and registered and safely stored and handled firearms. They obey all of the regulations, even the ones they disagree with. They are not engaging in gun battles on our streets nor are their firearms beings used for such purposes. In short, the handgun freeze is both targeting people who are not the source of the problem, it’s also not doing anything to solve the problem. If every legally owned handgun in Canada was confiscated tomorrow, the shootings by gang members would go on unabated.

My personal opinion is that Bill C-21 was never intended to do anything to prevent gun violence and that those who drafted it have a very different purpose in mind. Clearly, as outlined above, the handgun freeze isn’t going to affect the gun violence on our streets being carried out by criminals with no regard for our gun laws or any other law. But that’s the point. Having passed the freeze, the government will, within a short period of time, be wringing its collective hands saying that they tried to do something about gun violence and it didn’t work. So the “only” solution will be confiscating all of the legal handguns from their owners. And, of course, it won’t have any effect. But by the time that is obvious, the guns will have already been seized and they won’t be handed back to their owners.

The point? Votes. In the case of both the Liberals and NDP (both of whom I vote for by the way), their largest voter demographic is urban and most of those voters know little of firearms or the shooting community in general. To them, it sounds plausible that restricting access to handguns will affect gun crimes here in Canada. It won’t. But this is all about remaining in office, not public safety.

Scott Goodman,


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