The issue of firearms ownership in Canada is one which blows with the winds of political change.
When Liberals govern Canada, you can be sure legal and responsible gun owners, who already passed tests and opened their personal lives to investigation so they can qualify for a licence to purchase long guns, will fall under the jaundiced eye of bureaucratic suspicion.
Under Conservative-era laws, Canada’s firearms owners are still required to matriculate in licence-to-purchase hoop-jumping, but are generally spared sly accusation of latent psychopathy.
Saturday’s March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. will draw an estimated 500,000 participants. That march will be complemented by 837 additional anti-gun violence demonstrations across the U.S. and around the world.
Remember, though, legal gun owners are as saddened as anyone by the evil carnage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
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To legally own a firearm in Canada comes with responsibility. When not in approved use, a trigger lock, at least, must be engaged on each gun. Ammunition must be stored separately from the gun it is intended for. And separately doesn’t mean an ammo box parked beside the firearm. Separately means just that — perhaps rifle in one room, ammunition in another. Gun owners with children frequently will store their firearms, trigger locks engaged, in a gun safe with ammunition in a locked box some distance away.
Very occasionally, a licensed Canadian firearms owner will face serious threat to life, family and limb within the walls of his or her home and with the prospect of a timely police response to a panicked 911 call dim at best. The firearms owner engages the one tool she or he knows will serve to protect loved ones from harm: a gun.
Should the situation, a home invasion perhaps, take a turn toward imminent threat of violence and should the homeowner be able to reach, arm and discharge her or his firearm in the pursuit of saving a precious life or lives, it is the firearms owner who will face inquisition — and not by anyone who was present when fear was palpable and saving loved ones or self was paramount.
These inquisitions by police, more often than not, seem to lead to the homeowner facing criminal charges for unlawful use of his or her firearm and facing more possible prison time than the home invader.
As a society, we haven’t been able to conduct rational and reasoned debate on the issue of legal gun ownership, which doesn’t include either the “ban all guns” or “hands off my guns” points of view.
Now, in the wake of the Parkland shooting, this may be the perfect time to engage in such debate.
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