Common Sense Firearms law for Canada part 2

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Firearms News

My last post ended on a question. Who are all these controls intended for?

In large part, the controls are in place for those who aren’t going to abide by them anyways. Law abiding citizens begrudgingly comply with the red-tape laws, and most don’t even flirt with the law while the criminal element short-circuits the issue and basically ignores it until a circumstance occurs where they are charged with a Firearms act violation and only then, does it matter to them. The law is basically a benchmark from which violations can be drawn against.

The wake of a terrible shooting spree in Connecticut where a 20 year old gunman entered an elementary school, shot and killed 20 children, has not hit shore yet. The initial reports suggest that this was a twisted spite/revenge killing where the subject’s mother and everything she loved (she was a school teacher where this happened  EDIT:  She was a teacher elsewhere in the state.  I believe the shooter was a student there at one time) was killed.

Our deepest thoughts and sympathies go out to the families affected by this vile crime.

From reports, the gunman didn’t own the firearms, but rather they were his mothers. The laws governing Connecticut are centered around acquisition, classification, licensing and transfer. Unlike Canada there don’t appear to be any safe storage laws that restrict access to firearms from unauthorized people.

Would secure storage have been a factor in preventing this senseless attack on our most vulnerable?

Safe storage in the US is a touchy issue as it infringes on 2nd amendment rights. A firearm in a bedside table, loaded, ready to go is lawful and practiced in the US, and adding safe storage to this recipe is pretty much a non-starter.

It’s an issue of care and control. The safest place for a firearm is at its owners side, where it is in the owners full care and control. When a firearm is in storage it is at its most vulnerable it is out of the owners physical control where anything can happen. Theft, unauthorized use, involvement in a crime, and countless other undesirable things. The best protection when in storage is a proper gun safe. The crux of this issue is establishing what a firearm in use, a firearm in transport and what a firearm in storage are. Is a loaded firearm on a bedside table considered in use while the owner is sleeping?

Would an ATT style system have worked here?

Not at all. The ATT system is a victim-less paper law, there is nothing other than breaking the law to stop someone from doing it. It does very little to increase public safety and stands to incriminate more lawful gun owners in the semantics of its application than it keeps guns off the streets.

This 20 year old, suffering a mental condition attempts to acquire firearms, Connecticut law halts the sale as he declines a background check and waiting period. Days later, he goes to his mothers house, presumably a dispute goes on where he comes to be in possession of a rifle and two pistols. He shoots and kills his mother, and then proceeds to the school to execute the rest of his plan.

What value of life principals did this young man live by? What kind of a system could have stopped or signaled this?

This is exactly why the rules need to be there to detect and prevent this sort of problem from escalating into tragedy.

Consider in this case, the gun store that turned the future gunman away. Should this state have had a protocol in place to deal with unusual ‘buy’ activity, this might have been the flag needed.

Of interest is the disposition of the firearms in the gunman’s mothers home. If these were locked up, and inaccessible to the gunman, might this have altered the outcome? Could he have coerced his mother into opening the storage, if any?

These questions seem so trivial in the wake of the events in Connecticut. Its really unthinkable but yet these tiny innocent souls are lost forever, families instantly resized, empty rooms, and gaps at the dinner table. I can’t imagine.

If giving up my guns forever could guarantee that this would never happen again, I would. Sadly though no-one can underwrite that guarantee.

Sadly Connecticut makes the case for more screening or reporting mechanisms for at-risk individuals, safe storage and transportation.

Meanwhile, my opening question is also being answered; the controls are for cases like this.

  1. JD says:

    Guns and firearms possession and use will always be controlled, in some form or the other. That is not the issue. The issue is, how to do it effectively so criminals do not get their hands on firearms and get away with gun crime, without criminalizing and harassing the majority of responsible gun lovers and citizens. And lobbyists like the Coalition for Gun Control probably have money to blow, or have conveniently forgotten about the $2.7-billion wasted on the long-gun registry. It is high time the Canadian majority of law-abiding, responsible, gun owners and enthusiasts stand up for their rights and get the government to back them, or elect a new government if they won’t!

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