Monday, September 18, 2006

Gun Control

Not surprisingly, gun control has been top of mind for a lot of Canadians lately. The Harper conservatives were preparing to scrap the former Liberal government's Gun Registry, as promised to their rootin' tootin' shotgun-shootin' base during the election. But last week's shootings revived the discussion about whether the gun registry should be scrapped at all. This has conservatives up in arms (pun intended), screaming about their right to own firearms. (Really, these Canadian conservatives who try so hard to be yankees just slay me -- "my right to bear arms", give me a break.)

Not that I'm anti-gun; far from it. I currently own 3 guns; a rifle, a shotgun and a 38 special revolver. At one point I owned about 8 guns, including one of those little babies in the picture (my ex got custody of most of our arsenal -- I only kept enough to discourage him from coming back.)

So obviously I'm okay with gun ownership -- but I think gun control is a necessity. It took me 2 months to get my hot little hands on my 38, after a byzantine vetting process that involved submitting the gun to the RCMP, filling out an application with more personal information than it takes to get a mortgage (including a mental illness check - ha!) and taking a course in gun safety. Sure it was a pain, but this wasn't a coffee maker I was buying, so I didn't mind. And to tell you the truth, it made me feel a little better to see the rigamarole you have to go through to get one of these things; although I might be deemed mentally sound enough to have a gun, there are many who wouldn't make the cut, and I was glad to see that there's a system in place for making sure they remain unarmed.

So why are some people so dead-set against gun control? Anyone who passes all the checks can get a gun. It's an inconvenience, but so what? Getting a driver's license is inconvenient. Getting a gun should be at least as inconvenient as getting a driver's license. The acquisition of firearms shouldn't be easy. Yet I know people who actually vote on this one issue -- whoever's against gun control gets their vote. They view gun ownership as a personal right, and gun control as an infringement of that right. Well, if gun ownership is a right, then so is car ownership: where's the outrage about having to get driver's licenses?

Gun control laws didn't stop the school shooting last week. The sad truth is that a person who's that hell-bent on destruction will find a way to make it happen, sooner or later. But why make it easy for them? Whenever some random act of gun violence occurs, there's always a lot of bitching about how gun control didn't stop the shooting, and I concur. But gun control didn't cause the shooting either, or make it easy for the shooter to do it. And I have to wonder how many more of such tragedies we'd have to endure if gun laws were as loose, or nonexistent, as some people would like.