Poorly covered and well behaved
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
On September 12, the CCFR (Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights) hosted their “Integrity March on Ottawa,” a march that aimed to showcase the extreme displeasure most Canadian gun owners felt about the May 1 assault weapons ban. In a country where 78 percent of the people surveyed express support for a gun ban, hundreds if not thousands of gun owners marching around parliament would seem unwise, if not completely unpopular.
In spite of the current pandemic status, the CCFR was able to motivate firearm owners across the country to show up and be heard on parliament hill. Despite what has seemed like years of public condemnation and derision, Canadian firearm owners seem to have decided that enough is enough; if nothing else, many of the marchers believe that the federal government does not have their best interests at heart and are very willing to violate their property rights. In an interview with Code of Arms, Rod Giltaca (founder and CEO of the CCFR) illustrates that Canadian gun owners can no longer sit quietly and hope for decent treatment from the federal government. Although Parliamentary Protective Services claimed roughly 800 individuals attended the march, the statement is contested by both march organizers, aerial photographs and a number of videos that came out in the days after. Regardless of how many people were claimed to attend, the goal of showing Canadian gun control proponents that these laws effect their neighbors and not just some nameless, faceless, hick enemy was achieved.
With an event as controversial as a march in support of “assault rifles,” many would expect some level of hostility from counter protestors, yet counter protests were almost entirely absent. If the image of gun owners is one of violence and ill will, it certainly wasn’t on display at the September 12 rally. In fact, the whole march lasted less than three hours including speakers. If anything, it highlighted how well behaved the Canadian gun owning public actually is; seeing as Canadian gun owners are vetted daily (unlike sex offenders or paroles) it is not particularly surprising that Canadian gun owners would be reticent to make a nuisance of themselves at a rally.
Save for a few short articles for Global and CBC news groups, most of Canada’s mainstream media has remained mum on the march; this is yet another sign that Canadian firearms owners will not be able to get a fair shake in having our concerns heard or represented. Though controversial news outlets like Rebel Media provided coverage, and a number of independent Canadian firearms blogs were present, chances are if you weren’t invested in the conversation already this would have slipped right through the cracks. Given how long the debate on gun control has been going on that should at least seem strange. However, in many ways this isn’t surprising, seeing as there are only two national gun lobbyists (according to Tracey Wilson of the CCFR—her being one of them) against over 100 anti-gun lobbyists, or when one considers how much media coverage Doctors for Protection from Guns gets despite their small size and some claims that have been disproven.
The conversation on gun ownership in Canada may never end, as there will always be people who eschew fact-based policy for repressive bans. However, with the advent of social media and the increasing displeasure of firearms owners, opposition will only become stronger and more organized against intrusions into the personal freedoms of millions of Canadians.