Wednesday, February 11, 2009

God made men...

...but Samuel Colt made them equal.

Toronto's mayor has asked London, Ontario's fourth or fifth largest city, for support in asking the provincial government for a province-wide handgun ban.

This may surprise you, considering my political affiliation, but I'm not really a fan of rules. I recognize that they are necessary, but I also recognize that many well-meaning rules are often misguided. Ontario's pitbull ban is a good example. It's a blunt instrument designed to punish irresponsible dog owners, but instead punishes the dogs.

And I know that Greens seem like well-meaning-do-gooder social engineers, but we're not about banning things, we're about internalizing costs.

Having said that, I dig on handgun bans.

I know that a ban won't significantly reduce the incidence of violent crime. And I know that people who are willing to break the law in order to kill, rob or terrorize aren't likely to be swayed by the prospect of another charge of possession of a banned weapon. And I know that there are lots of law-abiding handgun owners that will be adversly affected by this law, and they won't have done anything wrong.

But still, a handgun ban strikes me as a good idea.

I'm not saying ban all guns. And I'm not saying that just because guns kill people we should ban anything that kills people. That's absurd. But here's the thing.

Handguns are specifically designed to kill people.

Long guns are for hunting. Knives are for cutting. Baseball bats are for baseball. Cars are for transportation. Pills are for medicine. And they all kill people. But none of them exist specifically for the expressed purpose of killing people. And that's why a ban is a good idea.

Think about it. We have controls on things that are designed to kill people, and we only let certain people have them. Tanks, armoured personnel carriers, grenades, bioweapons, and the like. How are they different from handguns, besides the scope of murder available?

You may have to defend yourself against a bad guy with a gun someday. However, that bad guy is more likely to have a handgun if they're not banned. And it's not your job to kill the bad guys. That's the job for the cops. As for killing people in other countries? That's the job of the military. If you want to be allowed to kill people, become a cop or a soldier.

The fact is that a handgun ban will reduce the number of guns on the street. And it will be easier to identify the people who are bad. You'll be able to tell, 'cause they'll be the ones with the guns. If the only people in the province who are allowed to have handguns are the cops, we'll all be a lot safer. And if someone does use a gun in the commission of a crime, I find it reassuring that they'll have an extra five or six years in the cooler to think about whether or not they should have grabbed a machete, instead.

Yes, people are violent, and they will kill people. But they will at least have to use a little ingenuity and use a tool that isn't designed specifically to make the job of killing someone easier.


Canajun said...

I have to disagree on this one.

Handguns are already highly restricted in this country. Handgun owners (I'm not one, incidentally) have to go through rigorous security checks before being allowed a permit, and they cannot be simply transported around in the glove box of the family sedan.

So, legally owned and registered handguns, typically used for target shooting, are not the problem and have never been the problem. And banning them will not address the bigger problem of illegal guns and illegal gun use.

There's a lot of hyperbole around this issue by Mayor Miller and others, but it would be nice to see some sanity. For example - how many legally owned handguns are there in Ontario? How many get stolen and subsequently used in crime every year in Ontario? How many illegal handguns do we think there are in Ontario? And so on, instead of the typical the-sky-is-falling-we-must-do-something knee jerk reactions we get from self-serving politicians.

Canajun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Father Shaggy said...

I see your point, but what I don't see is the point of handgun ownership in the first place. Sure, you be a sport shooter, but that essentially is killing practice. What's the point of being able to more effectively fire a projectile at a paper target, if not to make you more effective at firing a projectile at a meat targret?

Anonymous said...

If the only people in the province who are allowed to have handguns are the cops, we'll all be a lot safer

You deluded fool.

Loki said...

"about whether or not they should have grabbed a machete, instead."

Imagine that you are being forced to chose the type of murder your child (just run with me here). You are given two weapons.

A machete, or a handgun.


Anonymous said...

Father Shaggy, I have a few comments for you.

Until recently, handgun hunting in Ontario was legal, it was the government that said we couldn't anymore. Is that the hunters fault? Should we now just give them up because YOU don't see a good reason for having them?
How many shootings with handguns happened in the woods back then?

Answer: ZERO.

I don't know where you are getting your facts from on bans. Jamaica has a handgun ban in place. over 1500 people murdered by handgun there last year. England has a ban in place, gun crime up over 400%. So I see it's worked so well elsewhere, lets do more of the same stupidity here huh?

How about you let ME decide what I want, and what I need. Whether it be the car I drive, or the hobby I choose, or what tool I use to defend my family.

I KNOW one thing, ban or not, if I have to defend myself one day against a "bad guy" I want the tool best suited to my defense. I don't want to be on unequal ground because someone named "Shaggy" "doesn't understand why anyone needs one". I want the tool best suited to defend myself and my family.

This used to be a free country.

Father Shaggy said...

I'm not suggesting that a handgun ban will eliminate murders. Not even handgun violence. I simply don't see the point of a populace armed with a tool that was specifically designed to kill people.

And what do you hunt with handguns?

I recognize that my position is not popular, and I even understand why. And I realize that there is effectively a handgun ban in Ontario as it is. Banning handguns will not eliminate violence. Banning handguns will not eliminat murder. Banning handguns will not eliminate crime. Those are far deeper and more complcated issues.

Calling me a fool, implying I'm stupid, or appealling to my sense of "freedom" won't change the fact that handguns are for killing people.