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Essays (37)

The Gun Control Scam
©William Gairdner
1995

     A good case can be made that inside every Canadian is a little police officer. That wouldn't be so bad, except the officer is there not to control ourselves, but others. We manage to combine ritual gentility with officiousness, and cheerfully accept a gazillion Tribunals, and Directorates, along with quotas and correctness. Soon we'll fit Churchill's description of the wartime Germans: "They're either at your feet, or at your throat."
     So when Justice Minister Allan Rock reacts to criticism of his draconian Bill C-68 gun law (that will suddenly criminalize 3,000,000 citizens if they do nothing) with: "This is not an invitation for further discussion. This is final." And: "We're willing to have it out right now. Let's decide who's running this country," a lot of people stifle a Sig Heil!
     For the past three decades in particular, Canadians have been discovering that modern democracy has little to do with their consent, and rather a lot to do with the imposition of elite views by way of gutting ancient and hard-won rights and duties. On almost every issue, Canadian public policy seems contrary to the deeply held views of the people.
     But Rock has already lost the "optics" war on this issue (his sizeable effort to convert appearances into reality) because an army of researchers has shown quite competently that "gun control is not crime control." (That is the title of the best, must-read summary of arguments against gun control available, written by Professor Gary Mauser, and published by The Fraser Institute in March.)
     He wants to take a sledgehammer to the fly, and squish our freedoms. And if Canadians don't react by speedily rejecting Bill C-68, they will get far more than they bargained for. Upon passage, all Canadian firearms will effectively become the property of government because the Bill says you cannot sell, dispose of, gift, or transfer a gun, even to an heir in your will. When you die it will be seized by Big Brother, without compensation. The Bill allows armed, jackboot police to enter private homes and businesses any hour of day or night, on the flimsiest of pretences, to search without warrant and confiscate without compensation. You get handcuffs, and two years in jail.
     This lends an ominous credence to a recent Newsweek article that characterized right-wing worries as paranoia by citing a sentence from a militia pamphlet that warned Americans: "House to house searches and seizures are being conducted without warrants across the land." It should have said, Hey, look north to see this in action, folks.
     But Bill C-68 goes even further, trashing many ancient freedoms and rights. Abandoning the fundamentals of our law, it criminalizes not an act, but mere possession and passivity. It denies our right to refuse co-operation with police when they break the door down, thus forcing self-incrimination. It legalizes the state taking private property without compensation, against which we and our ancestors have been protected for a thousand years. It creates a reverse onus by forcing the citizen to prove his innocence, rather than the state to prove guilt. Most worrisome for all citizens, especially those in high-crime areas - it directly offends Section 7 of our Charter (our ancient right to self-defence, or security of the person), and Section 8 (unreasonable search and seizure).
     Some critics argue that the gun control law is just another form of "interdictionism" common to elite-dominated societies - a symbolic general prohibition that provides an illusory resolution of crime. It permits the privileged, educated class that dominates the power structures of Canada to pacify the crime-bedevilled middle class. At the same time, it permits selective enforcement against the uneducated (read: uncivilized) underclass and selected ethnic targets who increasingly worry elites. History is replete with such general gun law interdictions used against: southern blacks, Italians, Reds, and, of course, against whole populations by every tyranny in history.
     Most interesting will be Rock's response to native claims to exemption on grounds that gun ownership is a treaty right...when, at 3% of our population, natives constitute 23% of all homicide suspects, and 22% of all victims!
     The Minister's four main arguments fail miserably. First, he knows there is no evidence gun control reduces crime, it may even increase it. Second, he patronizingly worries we may shoot ourselves (80% of gun deaths are suicides), yet it's Rock who wants to legalize so-called “assisted suicide” as a "choice"! Third, he says we register cars, and the like, so why not guns? But cars cannot be used for self-defence, nor to protect us against intrusive governments, nor is ownership of an unregistered car (or anything else) a criminal offence.
     I hope the Canadian Air Farce does a skit on Rock's assumption that if police "could get full details on firearms registered [in a household] they would be better able to plan their approach to the home."
     The last time I spoke to an RCMP officer he warned that in fact a government registry of gun owners would be a perfect source of information for criminals needing guns. All they have to do is bribe an official for a copy of the list by Email – and the gun thieves will come straight to your home.