This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Saturday, May 2, 2020:
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday a complete ban on the sale, purchase, ownership, or transfer of some 1,500 makes and models of what he called “assault-style” weapons. His announcement followed less than two weeks a rampage by a gunman who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia.
These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada….
You don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer.
He justified his unilateral action — using an “order-in-council from cabinet” instead of legislation passed by the Canadian Parliament — by referring to the Nova Scotia attacks on April 18 and 19 as “the deadliest rampage on our country’s history.”
These tragedies reverberate still. They shape our identity, they stain our conscience, they make adults out of children and the heartbreaking truth is they’re happening more often than they once did.
Their families deserve more than thoughts and prayers. Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers.
Trudeau’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair declared that the ban will save lives:
As of today, the market for assault weapons in Canada is closed. Enough is enough. Banning these firearms will save Canadian lives.
Rod Giltaca, CEO of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, corrected Trudeau and his public safety minister: “The only people that will lose their guns in this action are licensed gun owners. No criminals will register or turn in a single rifle. This move is viewed as entirely political.”
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer agreed with Giltaca: “Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally.”
At present there is no legal definition of what constitutes an “assault weapon” so writers of the order, before it is made public, will have to craft one to cover the 1,500 makes and models that are now banned.
There is an estimated 125,000 such firearms privately owned in Canada, the possession of which will turn their owners into criminals unless the firearms are sold to the government or destroyed by April 2022. In the meantime those owners must provide assurance that the now-illegal firearms are kept at home under lock and key. Punishment for transgressions of this policy remains to be clarified.
Regarding the shooting spree in Nova Scotia, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RMCP) confirmed that the shooter used guns (including semi-automatic rifles and handguns) that were illegally possessed by the gunman. The shooter, Gabriel Wortman, was prohibited from owning any firearms thanks to being charged with assault in 2002.
Probing deeper, Wortman — dressed as a police officer and driving a replica police vehicle — committed multiple shootings and set fires at 16 locations during his 13-hour crime spree. Thirteen people died from their wounds while nine died in the fires. Why it took law enforcement so long to confront the shooter and end the rampage remains unexplained. Also unexamined was how that spree might have ended immediately after it began had the victims been armed and trained in self-defense.
Also peculiar was the fact that the country’s Alert Ready system, designed to alert citizens of an impending threat, wasn’t used. Naturally, an investigation into why has been announced.
If this sounds fishy, consider that Trudeau also used a public opinion poll’s results issued the same day to justify his actions. The Angus Reid Institute said on Friday that “significantly, two-thirds (65%) strongly support such a move, giving federal policy makers a clear mandate to go forward.” In a footnote, pollsters noted that 73 percent of those polled have never owned a gun.
What a difference America’s Second Amendment makes! Canadian citizens don’t enjoy such a guarantee and so the PM is free to declare such infringements unilaterally without fear of sanction or pushback from informed citizens, courts, or Parliament.
Once the offending weaponry is removed from law-abiding citizens, criminals will find it easier and less risky to commit gun violence against them. The black market in weaponry will thrive as it always does in the face of increased demand and diminished or limited supply.
In short, Trudeau’s announcement isn’t gun control but people control. Criminals will remain free to commit gun violence.