The United States’ gun homicide rate in 2009 was 33 per million, according to the New York Times. In Canada and the U.K., the numbers were five per million and 0.7 per million, respectively.
These numbers correspond with the differences in gun ownership. The conclusion? Massive numbers of firearms owned by millions of individuals lead to horrors like the ones that recently took place in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
Or is that too simplistic?
Studies show there are common denominators among the perpetrators of mass shootings: early childhood trauma; an identifiable crisis point reached leading up to the shooting; shooters who had studied the actions of other shooters and sought validation for their motives; and shooters who all had the means to carry out their plans.
In other words, the shooters are unstable, have deduced others will pay for their own real or imagined misfortunes and have access to guns.
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Many will immediately respond: “Yes!”
Hunters, farmers and sport shooters, though, will vehemently disagree.
Must a person who practises uncompromising firearms safety but who also enjoys shooting sports such as Olympic events or who hunts to put food on the family table be barred from firearm ownership because of the madness of a maniac or maniacs?
Will wanton killers’ options to create mass destruction be ended by banning private ownership of firearms?
The answer is no.
The issue in the United States is one of ease of access to firearms — a constitutional right to bear arms. Simply put, it’s too damned easy to buy a gun in America.
I long complained about what I considered an excessive process that required jumping through regulatory hoops in order to purchase a long gun in Canada. I’m not complaining so much any longer.
It takes time, practice and proven skill to obtain a driver’s licence. Expecting the same from a person intent on purchasing a firearm is not overly regulatory.
For the United States, the firearms ownership issue must lead to significantly reduced ease of access to specific and identified types of guns, coupled with a mental health component.
Canadians are expressing strong public sentiment about the availability of handguns and assault weapons.
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Ban all personal gun ownership in Canada? Absolutely not.
Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.
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