I have liked guns since before it was politically incorrect for children to pretend to shoot them. My dad made me a toy Sten gun when I was young. I watched lots of war movies. I loved TV cop shows. I enjoy playing first person shooters on the computer. I have never made it a secret that I like guns. Two of my ‘bucket list’ wishes that have both been achieved were gun related. Shoot a Sten gun which I did in Las Vegas and fire a .50 rifle which I did recently at the East Elgin Sportsman Association. I also fired a Glock at the EESA which should have been on my list!
I say all this so that you see where I am coming from. I have spoken to a couple of people recently who have their own opinions on gun ownership and licensing. And to just round out where my opinions are coming from, I recently bought a Gun Buyers Guide 2011 which is an American publication.
As it stands right now, to own a firearm, you require a license. This enables you to own and transport a firearm. This is also required to purchase firearms. The license is required, even if you are or were in the military. While I understand that it is possible to be in the army and yet be unable to fire a weapon safely, surely the testing required for present or ex-military personnel should be both adjusted and simplified. After all, they may well have more experience than that person in charge of the test.
In Canada there is the Canadian Firearms Registry, seemingly roundly hated by one and all. It’s aim is to reduce crime by making every gun traceable. Last year this program cost approximately 66 million dollars. Opponents of the registry point out that if a criminal wants a weapon, they can easily get their hands on one that either isn’t registered or perhaps has been stolen. If a hand gun is stolen from a house in London and then used in a crime in Toronto, all the RCMP need do it look for someone who traveled to Toronto from London sometime between the time the gun was stolen and the date of the crime. Oh. Another thought is that if the gun is traceable, wouldn’t the criminal dispose of the gun after the crime, leaving the police with nothing to trace?
Another side of this debate is the honest, law abiding farmer or sports shooter who follows all the requirements for gun ownership. They have to renew their license every five years, obey a myriad of laws. Unless they live at a gun range, a sports shooter will need to get an Authorization to Transport permit. These also are only valid for five years, or if traveling to a different gun range, they have to apply for a one time ATT for this one trip making each journey with a weapon something that must be planned. Many of the laws are common sense such as not leaving a weapon in plain sight in a vehicle, not transporting a loaded weapon, locking the trigger during transportation.
What if you are looking to get into target shooting? My personal view, target shooting at a range is similar to golfing. While there may be other people also taking part, in essence you are competing against yourself to improve and be better. You try to get the most shots in the bulls eye as you try to get as many golf balls on the green. Yes, I appreciate that one is a mainstream sport that kills very few people a year (lightning strikes and hit by balls) but you have to ask yourself, how many sport shooters have accidents? They handle their firearms a lot and know how to handle them safely.
Lastly from a different point of few, the magazine I bought have several reviews of both hand guns and carbines. The reviewer talked about having one carbine for the home and another for his vehicle, going on the mention that 9 bullets weren’t enough so he ordered bigger magazines and even a flash light for the vehicle weapon. I know that in the US, they have the right to bare arms as those in Canada have the right to bare breasts, but if you are a reviewer of fire arms, you should be a fairly good shot, especially with your own weapon so why would you need more than 9 shoots to safely protect yourself? Unless there is a zombie uprising, is there any reason to have that much firepower?
My honest, if uneducated, opinion is that owning a fire arm, be it a rifle with a scope or a Glock 9mm is something that you should legally be able to do. You do need to go through the hoops set by the government but you should have the right to own a weapon. The gun registry is in a no win situation as it only tracks the fire arms of lawful owners. You should only be able to own a certain number of weapons, say 3 rifles and 5 hand guns, the number could vary depending how many years you have held a license.
It should also be pointed out that just because someone goes through the licensing process, passes all the tests, legally buys the fire arms and keeps them locked up safely, doesn’t mean that one day he, or she, is not going to walk into a public building and open fire. It has happened in the past and surely will again in the future.
Just remember, headshots stop zombies!