Despite the salacious headline and implied fear-mongering from the CBC’s recent article, the rise in restricted firearm ownership in Canada is due to the growing popularity of handgun shooting at authorized ranges.
“The growth of the shooting sports in both young people and women accounts for much of the rise in handgun ownership in recent years,” says CSSA Executive Director Tony Bernardo. He points to a recent “Guns and Gals” shooting night hosted by media personality Faith Goldy.
“Ninety percent of them, probably even more, were first-time shooters. They loved it. The quickest growing market in the firearms community – right now – are females,” Goldy said.
The event was sold out overnight, introducing 150 women to the shooting sports in a single evening.
“Give your heads a shake and learn about Canadian gun owners and Canadian gun laws. Don’t let ignorance, fear and prejudice control you. If you get an opportunity to go shooting at a gun range, go. You will quickly realize the reason that gun ownership is on the rise. It’s because it is a fun, safe activity,” said Ned Logan, commenting on the CBC story.
Legally owning firearms in Canada is no simple feat, nor is it instantaneous or overnight. An individual must first take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and pass its written and practical tests. Then, if they want to own restricted firearms, such as handguns, they must also take the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course and pass its written and practical tests as well. Then comes an RCMP background check, a reference check and a waiting period. The entire process can take more than six months and cost roughly $500.
Those who dislike firearms and firearm owners all make the same mistake. They conflate law-abiding firearm owners with violent criminals who misuse guns.
When the Coalition for Gun Control’s Wendy Cukier states, “A million restricted and prohibited firearms in this country suggests that handguns are much more readily available than many Canadians know,” she’s deceitfully (and happily) sewing misinformation.
Handguns are no more readily available today than they were two decades ago when the 1995 Firearms Act came into force. The exact same rules apply to purchasing a handgun today as they did back then. To say otherwise is simply dishonest.
The facts are available in the RCMP’s 2016 Commissioner of Firearms report, in black and white, not the shades of grey Ms. Cukier would like Canadians to believe.
As of December 31, 2016, 2,076,840 Canadians held Possession and Acquisition Licenses, and 406,592 of those were new licensees or renewals, although the report did not differentiate between the two.
Of the 3,820 firearm license refusals, only 36 were for domestic violence. Based on the total number of firearm licensees, the total of license refusals is 0.000018 percent.
Of the 2,223 firearm license revocations, only 66 were for domestic violence. That is just 0.00000317 percent of licensed firearm owners.
While we can all agree that no level of domestic violence is acceptable and must be prevented by all practical means, what these numbers prove is licensed firearm owners are exactly what we’ve said they are for decades: Canada’s most law-abiding citizens.
Canadians with Firearms Possession and Acquisition Licences (PAL) are less than one-third as likely to commit murder as other Canadians according to firearm researcher Dr. Gary Mauser (2012).
“Lawful gun owners are the most peaceful, law abiding people in Canada. We are 1/3 as likely as a non-gun owner and 1/2 as likely as a cop to ever be the perpetrator of illegal violence,” says Dr. Mike Ackermann, a family physician and former member of the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee.
Equating violent criminals with law-abiding gun owners is absurd. It’s like claiming a chicken is a cow. They are two entirely different entities that have no correlation at all.
The reality of law-abiding gun owners’ culture of safety doesn’t sell newspapers nor does it fill donation jars for anti-gun groups, hence the need to attempt to fuse us with violent criminals who use guns.
For example, the two murderers who shot Leonard Pinnock on April 21 as he sat in his car in a Toronto parking lot do not have firearm licences, did not legally own the handguns they used to kill Pinnock, did not transport those firearms according to the Transportation Regulations, nor would the Ontario Chief Firearms Officer grant them an Authorization to Transport their handguns to the parking lot even if they did have licences.
These two murderers are violent criminals and the full weight of the law should be used to end their criminal lifestyles.
To associate these murderers with Canada’s 2,076,840 licensed and responsible firearm owners is disingenuous and insulting.