Friday, March 12, 2010

Canada's schizophrenic Conservative government: Drunk drivers vs. "law-abiding" gun owners

Why does it make sense to assume all shotgun and rifle owners are law-abiding citizens, but that everyone behind the wheel of a car is a drunk? Isn’t that the message behind the federal Justice department’s recent proposal to institute random roadside breathalyzer tests?

On one hand, the government, hiding behind the skirts of its latest sock puppet, sends Candice Hoeppner to pontificate: “Irrational government policy had to be challenged…The long-gun registry is a massive Liberal policy failure and it needs to end. It makes no sense to force law-abiding individuals with firearms licences to register their long-guns. It makes no sense to believe the registry will prevent a gun crime from taking place.”

But apparently it makes perfect sense to assume that all drivers are drunk. Memo to Justice Minister Nicholson: if a policy has the Western Standard saying “Harper government wants full-blown police state,” you have a problem on your hands—a “Houston-we-have-a-problem”-sized problem.

Minister Nicholson is said to approve of the random breathalyzer idea, while Mothers against Drunk Drivers Executive Director Andrew Murie does, too (by the way, aren’t there any actual mothers capable of executive directing that organization? Or is this an example of “the best woman for the job” being a man? I’m just asking).

Purchasing a gun must magically confer “law-abiding” status on an individual through some noble alchemy of lethal weapon possession. Meantime, the latest example of small town gun mayhem unfolds on our front pages: the sad murder of Ontario Provincial Police Constable Vu Pham, 37, allegedly by the late 70-year-old Fred Preston, former reeve of the Township of Joly, and lifelong resident of Sundridge ON. Const. Pham was a Vietnamese War survivor and father of three who also spent part of his youth in Sundridge. Current accounts suggest Mr. Preston may have gone off the deep end after his decades-long marriage broke up. Add a gun to the mix and voila: the perfect domestic violence storm. A “domestic violence call from what is reportedly the home of Mr. Preston’s estranged wife in Leadbury” preceded the shooting, according to The National Post, reporting that a man named John Driscoll resides at the home, since put under police guard. (Talk about closing the barn door after the horse has skedaddled!)

Tim Williams, an acquaintance of Mr. Preston, said, "I'm quite stunned at this news, given his personality."

But should anyone really be surprised? Anger and guns make a lethal cocktail.

Roughly 100,000 Canadian women and children annually take refuge in domestic violence shelters. How many of them live in homes with rifles or shotguns, remembering some 11 million such guns are in Canadian hands (and that 90 per cent of those hands are male)? How many Canadian women have been threatened with guns? How many of these guns are owned by “law-abiding” gun owners?

How long does it take to pull a trigger, anyway? That’s the amount of time it takes for a “law-abiding” gun owner to become a law-breaking one.

Here’s how the gun registry helps prevent crimes, including murder (I’m typing slowly so even the dullards among us will understand): knowing who has which guns allows the police to remove them as a preventative measure, should it become necessary. For example, in this case, if Mr. Preston’s estranged wife had been threatened by him and reported this to the police, they could have removed the guns from Mr. Preston’s possession. ALL his guns, which wouldn’t be possible if he hasn’t listed them with the registry.

Why do critics of the long gun registry persistently ignore this simple truth? Enforcing the registry DOES prevent crime. Since its creation, close to 23,000 firearms licenses have been refused or revoked because of just this kind of public safety concern. And it only costs $3 million a year to maintain, despite gun lobby bluster.

For years now this “tough on crime” government has encouraged the flouting of the Firearms Act—still law in this land, despite their efforts to ignore it. They instituted an “amnesty” for those who failed to renew their gun licenses and waived or refunded licensing fees, over $120 million-worth. Far from being “tough on crime,” they actually facilitate law-breaking!

Canada's Supreme Court has ruled, “The registration provisions cannot be severed from the rest of the Act. The licensing provisions require everyone who possesses a gun to be licensed; the registration provisions require all guns to be registered. These portions of the Firearms Act are both tightly linked to Parliament’s goal of promoting safety by reducing the misuse of any and all firearms. Both portions are integral and necessary to the operation of the scheme.”

Const. Pham’s shooting is a tragedy--for his family, his community, for us all, as is the death of Mr. Preston. But just imagine how much more danger our cops will be in when they pull us over to sample our breath if our gun laws are even further eroded.


fu said...

I still have trouble with the logic of maintaining the gun registry. A registry is not necessary for police to seize guns if they think may be used unlawfully. They have had that power since back in the 70's. The gun owner still needs a license to possess guns. Do you not think if someone has a license to possess the next thought might be that he has guns. Do you not think the police might, just might ask the lady as well if her husband has any guns and where they are. The registry was a Liberal initiative to boost the vote of women and the ignorant giving the illusion that they were doing something to combat crime. And by the way there are 10X the number of people killed in this country by drunk drivers as opposed to guns.

Unknown said...

First I am not sure I am in agreement with entirely random testing. But should someone be stopped for any reason a test may be applied and the rules made simpler so one can not have a good lawyer get around them as in the Rahim Jaffer case. As far as the firearms act goes it is a worthless peice of garbage that does nothing to improve the safety of canadians. Every useful thing in it was done in the previous act by Kim Cambell. What it does is make every legitimte gun owner a criminal who is guilty until proven innocent. If you want to compare it to cars the equivilent would be to make possession of a car a criminal offence which you can avoid only by ensuring you never let your license, registration and insurance lapse. In addition if your car is stolen all your other cars would be seized and you would be charged with a criminal offence; the same if you ever had an accident or were ever pulled over by the police. You are guilty untill a judge says you are not which will take years, cost thousands of dollars and if you had any grandfatered guns they are gone never to be returned. In addition all the rules can be changed at the govenments wish by order in council so we live in fear of the day they declare this or that gun prohibited as they have done in the past. I have many guns to which this has been done which means the resale value has been destroyed and many of them can no longer be leagaly transported to a range or even inherited by my spouse or children. Every failure of this system and every problem was predicted and explained to the liberal government of the time but they were not interested in facts, just ideology.

Unknown said...

To refute your myths about long guns is very easy. Suicide is means independent, every study of suicde has determined that. True suicide by firearm has been subtantialy reduced over the last few years but the suicide rate has not changed, just moere people choosing other ways to die. The same is true of spousal homicide, fewer deaths by firearms more by other means. If the money wasted on that bottomles pit had been spent on womens shelters and mental health resources then lives would have been saved rather than deaths moved from one column to another. As for revocations by doctors or anyone else the registry is not needed for that. Since the government introduced this useless, expensive, beauracratic boondogle the use of hanguns(registered since 1934)in crime has skyrocketed and they are more available than ever before. The government is powerless to supress the black market and if you thik banning them will help they tried that in England and thier use has gotten completely out of control and they are on an island without a 6000 km border with the USA. Guns are a 19th century technology, cheap and simple to make. There have been few advancements since John Moses Browning delivered the first Colt 1911 45ACP caliber pistol to the US Army in 1910 for its accptance trials and it is still inservice around the world today. Remember to stop somone with a gun you call for someone with a gun, dial 911 then spend the rest of your life waiting for them to arrive, because when you only have seconds left the police are minutes away.

bradford said...

It seems that no matter how slow Ms Ackerman types the logic of just how the gun registry will prevent crimes will escape her. She writes: "if Mr. Preston’s estranged wife had been threatened by him and reported this to the police, they could have removed the guns from Mr. Preston’s possession. ALL his guns, which wouldn’t be possible if he hasn’t listed them with the registry."

Even if the police had removed ALL of Mr. Preston's registered guns, he would have been able to acquire another gun. Just ask any gang member.

James Rothko, suicidal slayer of four Mounties in Alberta comes to mind. The police had removed all his firearms and placed him under a ban on firearms ownership. I recall he used a firearm that was registered, but not to him.


Unknown said...

Not quite, he had a rifle that was registered to someone else but it was not used to kill the mounties, it was another rifle that was not registered at all. Another proof that the registry is of no use.When a cop answers a cll if he checks the registry and it says there are no guns there does that make it true? Of course not and there are lots of dead police officers to prove that. If the check says there are guns there does that make it true? Again of course not, leaving out the horrific error rate we know plauges this mess the registered owner may have lent them leagely to another licensced person or stored them at another address. So what is a police officer to do, the same as has allways been done treat every situation as one that could go horribly wrong and be prepared, that is why we give them guns, body armour and special training.

Jay said...

I think you are assuming that Canadian gun owners support random police checks, simply because the concept was introduced by the Conservatives. You would be incorrect. The concept of citizens having the freedom and liberty to not have their rights infringed due to the actions of the criminal few is incompatible with random police checks. I'll agree with you that the Conservatives appear to be talking out both sides of their mouths. However, I think you should be arguing that the random police checks are wrong, not that the useless long-gun registry is right.

Anonymous said...

I read this and wanted to post something about how ridiculous is the use of anecdotes to support a position that does not withstand logical thought (like how does registering a gun save anyone from anything, since the gun is still in the hand of its owner) but I see I have been beaten to the punch.

Let's be honest. Even gun haters don't believe the registry save lives. What they believe is that registration might discourage some gun owners from buying guns (especially if there is a hefty cost), but more hopefully they believe that it will lead eventually to confiscation.

That's why they are fighting this illogical battle.

Greg said...

Wow. You quote some really big numbers on women displaced by violence in an article on guns.

I think I'm confused though. No. Wait a minute. I think you're confused.

Because According to Canada's Juristat, only 45 women were killed by their partners in 2008. Not hundreds of thousands of incidents as you claim. We can only infer that this is not yet ANOTHER 'symbolic only' gesture from you. I mean after all, you are mentioning these numbers in support of another pandering tirade about registering guns, yes?

You can exaggerate numbers and make your Blog's background pink as much as you want, but your posts rarely (if ever) stand a test of truth.

Here's a different number for you. $2 Billion dollars (that's two thousand million dollars for us NGO layman) that could have gone to helping the other 999,955 battered and displaced women that was instead wasted building the useless registry.

While we're on the question of waste Beverly, exactly HOW much money was being doled out to your fellow gun control activist friends like Wendy Cukier?

I think that opening Gun Control Canada's books would be a real eye opener for all Canadians.

BrianG said...

Well, Bev, You can't have it both ways! You applaud the Liberal police state but eschew the Conservative legislation of the same character? That just exposes you as simply the shallow Liberal Party shill your readers know you to be.

Freerider said...


I am a gun owner. I do not support this random breathalyzer law. Because, I believe in freedom and liberty, and will not support any party that chooses to infringe on my rights through gun bans or random police checks.

I have the moral and ethical fibre to denounce the conservatives for intrusive legislation. It is clear through your rambling you have no concept of liberty or freedom and are actually more upset at the hypocracy of the conservatives than the intrusiveness of the bill.

Or do police state antics only bother you when laws impede you and not some troglodyte male gun owner?

Smarten up. Canadians don't care about your tireless, endless bleating about how the gun registry is a woman's issue and how you are somehow an expert on guns and criminology because your son went to Dawson college.

Anonymous said...

Activists do nothing more then spread lies to further a political agenda. What gives you the right to intrude in other peoples life? Your a typical left wing commie "Lets all be equal as long as I have more". Violence will never end, crime will never end. Live with it. Besides, its the Liberals that give criminals a slap on the wrist not the Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Yes, do tell us again Bev, how does the registry prevent violent crime and murder? Anastasia DeSouza and Valerie Gignac are dying to hear about it!

Unknown said...

Uhh Bev, licence revocations and refusals have absolutely nothing, nada, zilch, zero to do with the long gun registry. I don't think even Wendy Cukier has the temerity to try that line on an unsuspecting public. Time to clear the cobwebs Bev, it might help if you actually read the "Firearms Act" before you start ranting.

Further, true to typical anti-gun behaviour, it didn't take you long to dance in the blood of constable Pham. I suppose you started writing this drivel before he was even laid to rest. Shame Bev, for shame.

Marcel said...

"Here’s how the gun registry helps prevent crimes, including murder (I’m typing slowly so even the dullards among us will understand): knowing who has which guns allows the police to remove them as a preventative measure, should it become necessary. For example, in this case, if Mr. Preston’s estranged wife had been threatened by him and reported this to the police, they could have removed the guns from Mr. Preston’s possession. ALL his guns, which wouldn’t be possible if he hasn’t listed them with the registry."

There will ALWAYS be unregistered guns, Bev, and the police KNOW that they cannot rely on a registry to indicate the presence of firearms or other potential weapons.

By the way, despite all your efforts the long-gun registry will be done away with.
It's the democratic way!

Jimmy said...

Ms. Akerman,

If you insist on posting your illogical rants against firearms, please use a spell checker. Even though your screeds mark you as someone of limited capacity, correct spelling will offset that impression. BTW Houston is a city in Texas, Huston is not.

Using P.C. Pham's death to promote your agenda is reprehensible, as the other commenter noted. Shame indeed.

Spiritus Mundi said...

Wow, not a single comment in favour of Bev's nonsense! Bev, do you think perhaps you might re-think some of the rubbish you write?

Unknown said...

If you look at table 1.10, on page 24, you'll see that fewer than one incident of spousal violence in 1,000 involves the use of a firearm on a female victim.

Incidents of spousal violence involving knives outnumber those involving firearms more than twenty to one; those involving clubs and other weapons over 41:1. Why, if registration prevents violence (which as you and your son know, it doesn't), are you not calling for a knife registry? By your own math it'd prevent twenty times as much domestic violence...

Anonymous said...

Mrs Akerman,

I am a gun owner and support neither random breathalizer tests
or the failed long-gun registry.

Anonymous said...

I would support the GREEN PARTY at both the provincial and federal level if you want to repel the Neanderthals of our species...