By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
As we’re all aware, the nation of Canada has enacted a sweeping ban of basically any and all semi-automatic rifles, especially any AR-pattern rifle. People who legally owned such a firearm have two years to voluntarily turn their guns in, after which time it won’t be voluntary any more. The ban was announced in the wake of a shooting rampage in Nova Scotia, which left 22 dead including the shooter.
Oddly enough, Canada also prohibits 10-gauge shotguns, but only skybusters use them anyway so who cares? Unfortunately, all 12-gauge shotguns are being prohibited as part of Trudeau’s new proclamation.
Obviously, what happened was a terrible and senseless tragedy, but nobody needs to be told that.
However, the reaction to the shooting – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau banned a whole bunch of guns – was predictable. Just like similar calls for gun bans in the United States, it was also comical in how hamfisted and utterly illogical it was.
Now, before anyone heads to the comments section to grouse, this isn’t to advocate for any gun control laws, but instead to say that some gun laws have some logic to them.
For instance, background checks make sense because the idea is to make sure someone isn’t a violent criminal or a mental patient because those are people that probably shouldn’t have guns. DUH. There’s some logic to limiting the number of guns a person can purchase per month, because that’s an indicator of straw-buying. There’s a certain logic to having people take training courses before getting a permit, because that way they’ve at least had some formal instruction in how to safely carry and operate a pistol.
Though logical, that doesn’t necessarily stop criminals from getting guns on the black market, and taking a training course doesn’t stop anyone from being an idiot. Plenty of people have gotten the training and commenced to do something stupid like carrying a loaded pistol in their pocket only for said pocket to explode. So while some gun control laws might be logical, it doesn’t mean they’re effective!
And if a law doesn’t work in the first place why bother having it? But one digresses.
Here’s where the plot thickens.
Under Canadian law, semi-automatic centerfire rifles of any kind are Restricted, but not Prohibited (at least for now; the guns specified by the Trudeau government will become Prohibited) so they can be legally owned albeit with restrictions.
To get one, a person has to have a Possession-Acquisition License (their version of a FOID) with a Restricted firearms endorsement before they can purchase a firearm. This includes taking a mandatory safety course (including a written and practical test, much like Hunter’s Safety courses in the US) and passing a background check. After that, a second course covering Restricted firearms must also be taken, another test passed, and another application and background check before the firearm must be purchased, kind of like getting a driver’s license and then getting a motorcycle endorsement.
Once licensed, ammunition capacity is limited to 10 and you ALSO have to have a license to transport the gun (Authorization To Transport or ATT) if you want to take it somewhere to do some shooting.
Pretty Draconian by American standards. However, this is where things take a turn.
The shooter didn’t have a license to own or transport any gun, let alone a restricted firearms license. The rampage was set in motion after he assaulted his girlfriend, who hid in the woods overnight to escape him. Furthermore, it’s also known that he had a standard capacity magazine, rather than the legal magazines for restricted firearms which are pinned to allow no more than 5 or 10 rounds to be held.
And yet, the Trudeau government believed the whole thing could have been prevented by making sure that Canadian citizens who aren’t committing crimes cannot purchase certain guns. As it turns out, firearm deaths in Canada occur at about one-fifth the rate they do in the United States (including suicides) and there’s some evidence that they haven’t had any effect at all.
Canada’s government believes stronger gun laws would have stopped a shooter who clearly would not have been affected by them, despite their current gun laws arguably not having much of an effect on firearm-related deaths to begin with.
It’s one thing to suggest or enact a gun control law that is at least proximate to an actual problem, such as to combat straw purchases which are a real problem. It’s another thing to make something illegal just because it looks scary.
Sam Hoober is a Contributing Editor to AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.