Letter: Not a gun owner, Shuswap resident looks into laws for owning firearms

Writer says laws covering firearms misunderstood by many

I have never owned a firearm and have no desire to own one. However, I have studied the present laws on firearms which include a very comprehensive list on the weapons that are banned or severely restricted within Canada. I have also had the opportunity to listen to police officers, some of very senior rank, speak on the subject of firearm ownership. The consensus from them is that Canada “does not have a gun problem but a gang problem,” for it is the gangs who are in the possession of most illegal firearms.

The laws that cover the licensing to own and possess (O&P) a firearm are very comprehensive and on being issued those licences are monitored on a daily basis by the RCMP, and can be rescinded without notice. Without getting into a full review of restrictions, it should be understood that objections to ownership, such as an ex-spouse objection, will probably result in denial of an O&P licence.

The laws that cover firearms in Canada are misunderstood by many members of the public, especially in urban areas. I feel that much of the misunderstandings are spurred along by uninformed sections of the media who focus so much on the extreme crimes committed by those in possession of illegally acquired firearms and not on legitimate ownership.

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As I stated, I am not a gun owner, but many of my friends are. These are decent, law-abiding people. They do not carry assault weapons (these are banned), or carry hand guns for protection. They find the objections thrown at them by the anti-firearms lobby to be naive at best, and offensively misleading in the extreme.

Canadian values are not a reflection of the U.S., especially when it comes to issues such as gun ownership. I therefore ask those that speak without informing themselves and by taking an overly emotional stance on gun laws, to ask yourself these three questions: Do you believe legal gun owners are a threat to society? Will statements defaming legal gun ownership reduce crime? Should Canada adopt strong laws on illegal gun possession and their importation?

I have asked myself these questions and have concluded that a pragmatic approach, as taken by Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, is the way to reduce gun crimes and protect the rights of legal gun ownership and use.

Ross Harris,

Blind Bay

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gun control