Friday, December 09, 2005

Hand Guns, Why Exactly Are They Being Banned?

Throw this in the "mediocre politics, bad policy" bucket - it sounds good off the cuff, but when people think about it more, they realize it doesn't address the problem it's meant to. It certainly resonated somewhat with urban voters, initially. I mean, afterall - who needs a handgun, right?

I read two excellent "reality check" articles today. One via CBC [Is happiness a banned gun?] and one in the Globe & Mail [Will Liberal gun plan really help?].

Both conclude that the proposed banning of handguns will not have the desired effect.

In sharp contrast to the United States, so few Canadians commit crimes with legally owned handguns that there appear to be no statistics. In large part, that's probably because police background checks for would-be handgun owners are extremely rigorous. Any hint of a serious criminal record or psychological instability, and a rejection letter will soon be in the mail.
Handguns used in crimes come from one of three of the following sources:

1. The black market, which I'm presuming gets the supply from the below sources or are funneled via back alley dealers.

2. Smuggled from the United States. There are no stats for this volume, but it's not hard to see how they can get here.
Customs Excise Union president Ron Moran said 232 roads connecting Canada and the United States are unguarded, and about 1,600 vehicles simply drove past Canada's unarmed border guards without stopping last year.

3. Break-ins.

The G&M piece concedes that the third source may be the impetus behind the legislation proposal, that if "legally registered handguns [are] out of private homes and gun shops[, then] they can't be stolen." The problem with that theory is that most of the guns stolen in burglaries were not legally owned in the first place, the article goes on to say.

The target of the ban will be those who own the guns responsibly - collectors and some target shooters.

The CBC piece ends:

The reality is that despite the newspaper headlines and concern of politicians, there has not been a massive rise in violent crime. Over the past 30 years, the level of homicides has declined dramatically, so it is hard to see what difference the current election campaign will make.

All said, the announcement coincided nicely with Anne McLellan and Brian Tobin scolding the NRA for apparently peddling influence in the election and came around the same time as anniversary of the Montreal massacre, and gives the Liberal Party the illusion of being tough on crime, while truly accomplishing nothing concrete.

On a side note, Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant has already committed Ontario's support for the ban, because we like a good banning.

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OMMAG said...

Wasn't it Michael Bryant who approveed the invasion and sezure of a private home and business in Northwest ON?
A gunsmith who did maintenance on the OPP's weapons!
As part of a plan to launch random surprise raids on gunshop owners accross the province??

How did that work out anyway?

Hallab Mada said...

Hi Jim, I think it was a great move on the part of the Liberal's. Sure the policy is redundant, but it could put a lot of pressure on the Conservatives to move to the right thus freeing up space in the centre. I wrote more about it in my blog .
Cheers, Adam

Anonymous said...

Excellent, that was really well explained and helpful