Jon McCormick’s latest Rural Crime Watch column caught me off-guard with it’s blatant disregard for the rights of gun owners, advocating the “confiscation of all firearms while investigating a threat …” real or otherwise. He pontificates that “firearms ownership is not a God-given, nor a constitutional right …”, indicating that he subscribes to the oft-quoted statement by PET’s Justice Minister Alan Rock that his vision of Canada was one where only the army, police (and criminals) have access to firearms. This discounts the right of personal defence as a reason for firearms ownership as defined by the Magna Carta and Blackstones’s Commentaries on the Common Law of England. Personal defence has always been a “God-given right”, not to be dismissed by whim of government fiat, decree or Order-In-Council.
Unless he is privy to certain information, his postulation that the firearms confiscated in the May 4 RCMP Coquitlam raid were not registered or stolen from lawful owners is mere speculation. In the event that they were unlawfully acquired, it follows that the lawful owners will be deemed at fault for the actions of a thief, regardless of precautions, blaming the victim rather than the perpetrator. This lopsided logic favours the criminal and punishes the innocent. McCormick implies that if a firearm is “not a hunting rifle”, a Canadian citizen ought not to be allowed to own it. We’ve already lost access to several types of firearms based on a) calibre, b) action type, c) barrel length, d) whether or not it has a pistol grip stock, e) magazine capacity and other illogical crtiteria. The world is not a safer or better place for making hitherto law-abiding citizens into criminals by dint of possession of any of these. Canadians were shocked into silence as these restrictions and prohibitions were gradually imposed, the attitude being that as long as MY guns are OK, things are just fine. He comments: “The majority of Canadian rural residents have firearms. Are they all secure?” I challenge him to describe rural “safe storage” as defined by law. It is in a legally grey area as the need varies according to circumstance and location. Someone with livestock to protect has need of ready access to a firearm, particularly during calving, lambing and kidding season.
Last night, I received a phone call from a neighbour regarding a bear in my yard; not for the first time. It was having a feed at our compost bin, happily noshing on vegetable and fruit peelings. Had it come up on the porch where we store bird and dog food in a bin, it would have been a dead bear – after I retrieved a rifle and ammunition from “safe storage”. This has happened before, prudence indicating that more ready access might be appropriate in our childless rural home. It can be argued an urban gun owner living in a crime ridden city has an equally urgent need for protection, but is denied ready access to firearms, subject to ill-defined “safe storage” regulations determined by law, arbitrarily imposed by the courts.