But It’s Just Assault Rifles

By Steve Hamilton

I was asked the other day, “Why are you so upset at the gun ban? You don’t even have handguns or assault rifles.”

There are a few reasons – some that should upset non-gun owners, and some that should upset Canadians as a whole. Let us take a walk, shall we?

First, it is directed at the wrong people. Gun owners know that this will not address the real issues. There is a lack of severe punishment for criminals, and an unfortunate mental health crisis. We need to fix those first and foremost – direct the money there. No more revolving door. Lock repeat criminals up and throw away the key and dramatically increase programs and support mechanisms to help those affected with mental illness.

Multiple premiers and police chiefs have said the same thing. This ban will do nothing to lower gun crime. Gun owners know the statistics and that criminals will continue to run rampant. Criminals will not turn in their guns, we know that. This new law means nothing to them.

This ban will not take illegal guns off the street, just legal ones out of the hands of lawful owners. The sound bite of, “No one needs an AR-15 to take down a deer,” is truthful. However, the part they left out is that it has been illegal to do so in Canada since 1977 when the AR became restricted class, which means it is only allowed on approved ranges. Strictly to and from, and for nothing except target shooting. It was designed as a deer rifle in the 1960s and has never been used in a military application in its current configuration, as it was found unsuitable.

Let us dispel another myth. AR stands for ArmaLite Rifle, not Automatic Rifle or Assault Rifle. Assault implies intent or an action. Why can’t AR stand for Awesome Recreation? Because that is exactly what it is. Or should I say, was.

They have banned a class of firearms that simply does not exist in Canada. They have made a soundbite out of a name they created to garner support from people who do not understand or know the firearms they hear about. It is on TV or social media and looks scary. The Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland has said that part of the ban was based on if they “look like they could kill people.” I would bet that 99 per cent of the non-gun owners would not be aware that there is no functional difference between a regular semi-automatic and an alleged “assault rifle” that it has been so dubbed by our federal government. One trigger pull, one bullet. There are no full automatics in Canada that are available to regular citizens. They have been prohibited for years. There are no high-capacity magazines for semi-automatics in Canada. Legally. Maximum five-round magazine for a centrefire; these are not the “street sweepers” they are made out to be.

What is the wheat and what is the chaff? Or should I say, what is the hunting rifle and what is the “assault rifle?” It is not the non-gun owners’ fault for not knowing fact from, well… complete fiction. The fault instead lies with the constant barrage of information thrown at them – no wonder there is confusion.

“Assault rifle.” That very term makes me cringe. Select-fire and military capable is the definition of assault rifle. To have a rifle approved for sale and imported, it needs to be verified by the RCMP, who confirms that converting it to select fire or automatic is impossible. So, by definition, every single one in Canada is not capable by any means of being turned into the class of firearm they have banned.

Let us toss the firearm argument aside for a second. Every Canadian citizen should be outraged at how this was done. It was pushed through on the heels of a tragedy. The very foundation of our government is supposed to be about democratic debate and input. There was none. Your opposition had zero say against this, and no matter if you are for or against the ban, when your side cannot be heard, that goes against what we should stand for as Canadians. They also used an Order in Council to change the class of a firearm, something that is normally used to change ministerial appointments or expenses. This should not have been done without debate in the House.

Now on to how it is written. That is what is scary about this “assault rifle” situation. There is so much ambiguous wording in this order. Clearly it was rushed through and poorly considered. It is very unclear to the point multiple firearms expert lawyers have said that some shotguns are banned. Minister Blair issued a statement saying that was not the intent; however, the law is written already. A defense in court of, “The minister said on social media that this wasn’t the intent,” will obviously not stand up. Good luck if you try that. Please let us know how that goes.

Pretend for just a second that this argument was not about guns. Let us say it was about freedom of expression. The Liberals just passed an Order in Council with no democratic or parliamentary debate. This ban now prevents you from speaking your mind. I would be arrested for even writing this.

Or your vehicle. It is now prohibited because it was made for nothing but speed. You have two years to surrender it, at what is likely way less than market value. You have never hurt anyone with it, you have had it for years, but someone might steal it and use it to speed on a highway.

To this, they add 1,500 other vehicles. Your neighbour’s Corvette, your old Mustang you got from your Dad, all must be locked away and not used. These are way too powerful and not needed on the street. You cannot even bring them out to show anyone. The police know you have this vehicle and can knock on your door at any time to make sure you are storing it properly. Oh, and if you do not turn them in within that two years, you are a criminal. It is a scary parallel, but relevant.

Sadly, this is nothing more than a feel-good political move to say, “Look how many guns we took off the streets.” This will cost well over a $1 billion to the taxpayers across Canada, not the quoted $250 million, just like the failed gun registry that did nothing to reduce crime. The statistics prove it. Firearms owners are already among the most heavily vetted citizens in society when it comes to screening. Every 24 hours, every licensed PAL/RPAL holders are ran through the RCMP database. Another fact that has been left out in this push to ban.

Whenever someone gets drunk and crashes their car, we blame the person. Why is it when a crime involves a gun, it is the gun that is blamed? We need to start punishing the criminals much more harshly for their actions.

We do understand that an exceedingly small portion of them are used inappropriately, and the stats on gun crime show this number to be small, but that does not justify a banning which targets all law-abiding owners for the actions of few criminals.

Target them. Make them pay. Not the hunters or sport shooters.

This is about so much more than “assault rifles.” It is about losing our democratic rights as Canadian citizens.

And that, in itself, should have you outraged.

Check out Steve’s podcast: www.thecutbanksconversations.ca.