When good ideas do nothing
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
On April 19, Gabriel Wortman killed 22 people over 13 hours while impersonating a police officer. As the community grieved and the rest of the nation looked on in horror, it became evident to many that it was long past time to ban certain firearms. A viewpoint apparently shared by Prime Minister Trudeau, and on May 1 he moved to ban all “military-grade” and “assault-style” rifles. But is the ban designed for the ideal effect? Are there better uses for the promised $600-million? And was the bill wrongly passed without proper debate—possibly due to the pandemic?
When PM Trudeau announced the ban, he stated that it was to prevent a similar tragedy from being repeated on Canadian soil—a noble and completely unobjectionable goal. Only the most nefarious of individuals would have designs against that goal. But does this ban really make that dream more likely? Given the details of the tragedy that initiated it, this ban would have been completely ineffective. The RCMP has come out recently to announce that all but one of the guns used by the shooter were likely purchased illegally from America and even the gun of possible Canadian origin was obtained illegally. Therefore, had this ban been in place years ago, this tragedy would have been undeterred. Instead, this ban is but a rose thrown to the progressive masses with legal gun owners as the sacrificial lamb. In a move that shows Trudeau’s understanding of how ineffective this ban is, legal owners will have two years to turn in their guns—a timeframe that hardly shows any real sense of urgency.
With a promised $400-million to $600-million dollars, one should seriously wonder what better uses there are for this money. Seeing as the ban itself will not deter the gun deaths that occur, what use will the money have? Well, we know that this money will not be used to stop the flow of illegal weapons over our border as premier Doug Ford, MP’s Dan Albas and Mel Arnold, or even numerous legal gun owners have called to do. We know that the money will not go to improving and expanding our mental health resources that will not only benefit Canadians at large but will also identify and help address potentially violent individuals before they rise to murderous rampages. We even know that this money will not brush against current gang prevention programs; instead, up to $600-million dollars will be funneled into taking guns out of the hands of nonviolent citizens who would not be using them for criminal purposes in the first place.
Worse still is Justin Trudeau’s use of the current pandemic to slip the bill through uncontested. He was able to pass a bill that, by the government’s own 2018 report, would have a negligible effect on gun violence in Canada seeing how most gun crime is committed with illegally-obtained guns. With all normal workings of government suspended or impaired, our Prime Minister passed a bill that satisfied the majority of Canadians while affording literally no one a single additional ounce of protection. Though the bill may sound good to many it only acts to criminalize the few law-abiding citizens that possess the weapons in question. As a matter of fact, “assault-style” and “military-grade” have no legal definition in Canadian law and this point would have been rightly criticized for being opaque fear mongering had the bill gone through the proper process.
Not one sane, civil, or reasonable person opposes preventing mass shootings; Canadians and most humans at large have enough general empathy to oppose such senseless killings. But, we must be more concerned with the success of these bills and laws rather than simply the buzzwords they use. It must be more important to the population at large that taxpayer dollars go to programs that would actually address their fears. We should look at the actual origins of the weapons and craft something to prevent their repeated appearance; Canadian citizens of all political leanings should be outraged that the normal bounds of our democracy were circumvented in a time of need. Though there is no way to restore the lives that were taken, we must take care to properly ensure this won’t happen again.