Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association
Association canadienne des propriétaires d’armes sans permis

A Cancer of the Soul

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Boiling Frogs – and Gun Owners

Licencing doesn’t work (but) it is destroying us.

The bureaucrats want to reduce the numbers of gun owners,
and eventually eliminate all private ownership of firearms by citizens.

Police screening makes sense,
but not licencing.

The Federal Firearm Licence Will Destroy Traditional Canada

Gary Mauser
Simon Fraser University

Do you know how to boil a frog alive? The trick is to keep him from jumping out of the pot. If he discovers what is happening, he will try to escape. Frog’s aren’t too stupid.

I’m told it can be done. Gently put the frog in the water; then gradually raise the temperature. If you go slowly enough, he’ll never know he’s being boiled alive. As the water gets hotter, the frog gets sleepier. Finally, it’s over.

That’s what’s happening to Canadian gun owners. Like frogs, we’re in hot water and our traditional culture is being slowly killed by the gradual tightening up of the firearms laws.

Ottawa is slowly killing the long and honorable tradition of owing firearms in Canada. We’re becoming sleepier and sleepier. We’re accepting it; just as gun owners are doing in the United Kingdom and in Australia. Is that what you want?

Ottawa knows what it is doing. In December 2002, the Auditor General of Canada reported that many of the people in the firearms bureaucracy believe that gun ownership is itself a problem. Just by owning a firearm, you are a problem for them in Ottawa. The bureaucrats want to reduce the numbers of gun owners, and eventually eliminate all private ownership of firearms by citizens. Allan Rock is not the only one in Ottawa who wants to take your gun away.

Do you agree that gun ownership is a problem? I sure don’t.

Canadians have traditionally owned firearms and used them responsibly. Gun ownership is the right of all Canadians. North Americans -- Canadians as well as Americans – have inherited the right to own and use firearms from the English Bill of Rights.

But rights that are not exercised are soon lost. We are losing ours.

Many people complain about registration. But it’s not just registration. Registration is bad, that’s true, but licencing is worse. It may be harder to see, but licencing will eventually kill the proud Canadian tradition of owning firearms.

Licencing gives the government a strangle hold on who can participate in the shooting sports. And the government is not your friend. I guess I might feel differently if the federal government had shown any hint that it was positively supportive of the shooting sports, but it hasn’t.

Do you believe Ottawa is our friend? If not, then why should anyone want Ottawa to control our existence through licencing?

But licencing, you say, keeps the bad guys from getting guns. Licencing, like the FAC system before it, involves a police check. That’s the part that does it.

The Firearm Licence is no better at screening out criminals than the old FAC system. Given the funding cuts, the FAC system was better. No, it was not perfect, but it did a reasonable job. The new licencing system includes a provision for interviewing an applicant’s references and family members. This may be a good idea in theory, but in practice, it’s intimidating and leads to arbitrary refusals.

The best way to predict what a person will do in the future is to know his past behavior. This is particularly true with criminality. If someone has committed serious crimes in the past, the likelihood is that he will do so again. Courts, for all their limitations, are better at judging people than an anonymous bureaucrat on the telephone.

Police screening makes sense, but not licencing.

The ideal system would be to have an instantaneous check at the point of purchase. The store has electronic access to criminal records. When a customer wants to buy a gun, the store runs a check, just like a credit card. If no criminal record can be found, the customer is allowed to buy the gun. If there is a problem, then the police can check out the customer.

No record is kept of purchasers. The only list that is kept is of criminals. There are fewer criminals than good guys, so it is a lot easier to keep records of them.

I’d tolerate the old FAC system. But I prefer the instant check. It’s simpler and will have fewer errors.

Licencing means that the government has a list with your name on it. You are in their data base. Having a government database creates serious problems.

First, a government data base is a shopping list for criminals. Government information is not very secure. Too many employees are vulnerable to criminals. And the criminals know how to infiltrate the government. The Christmas raid in 2003 on the parliament buildings in Victoria showed that. All that is needed is for organized crime to find one or two people in government who can be bribed or blackmailed in order to penetrate the government’s data base.

Second, the government can change the rules on us anytime it wants. Even Switzerland has politicians who want to get rid of gun owners. Canada certainly does.

Licencing means that Ottawa can increasingly tighten up the rules until only a few of us are left. At that point, we’ll be just a small band of elite shooters. We will be in the same situation as firearm owners in the UK: just a small, elite group with no political power and a “politically incorrect” hobby. The lessons are there before our eyes in Europe. Just by arbitrarily tightening up the standards, the government can cause gun ownership to disappear.

Is there any doubt that our numbers are decreasing? Look around at the next gun club meeting you attend. How many young people are there in the room? It’s mostly older guys. Am I right? We’re close to retirement, or many of us have already retired. We need to attract more younger shooters. If not, how much longer will gun ownership continue?

Many people correctly point to the complexity of the gun laws as the reason our numbers are shrinking. Licencing -- including the strict and expensive courses in firearm safety -- contribute to that.

Has crime decreased since the government started tightening up standards? No. In fact, violent crime has increased. Toronto and Vancouver are suffering record breaking crime sprees. Do you feel safer now that your guns are registered? Does that keep the bad guys from having guns? If you believe that, you should vote for Paul Martin.

In conclusion, Bill C-68 should be repealed. The entire legislation is un-needed and unnecessary. It’s killing us.

Registration doesn’t work, and it is expensive.
Licencing doesn’t work either, and it is destroying us.

Are you smarter than the frog at the start of this article that was being boiled alive? If so, don’t let your guns be taken away from you by accepting firearm licencing.

We should never rest until Bill C-68 is repealed. If we try to compromise with Ottawa they’ll just take what we offer and squeeze us for more.

Never give up. Never give in.

29 January 2004