25 March 2009

Some Blazing Guns Good, Others Bad

First, the good: it was great to see Alex Tanguay, Alex Kovalev, and Saku Koivu light up the Thrashers last night. All guns were blazing and Carey Price put a little mustard on a stop on Kovalchuk. A great night, and hopefully a turning point.

Now, the not-so-good: in an attempt to demonstrate that he is still somebody that caters to his narrow base rather than govern in the best interests and safety of the country, Stephen Harper is throwing his weight behind a private member's bill to abolish the gun registry. It is a reminder to the rest of the country that for all their talk about being tough on crime, the Conservatives want to de-regulate gun control in this country and make it easier for people to arm themselves, including people who should never have access to a gun. I'm generally not a fan of the "junior Republican" line from the Liberal playbook, but that's exactly what this is. Despite major police organizations saying that the registry has been a helpful and valuable tool in cracking down on gun crime, despite calls by many citizens groups to do more to keep guns off the streets, and despite the fact that a long gun is just as deadly as a semi-automatic, the right-wing, right-to-bear-arms ideology of this party wants to remove restrictions on gun ownership.
They say that legitimate hunters who have to register their rifles feel demonized. I don't speak for everybody, but one or two legitimate hunters I know (i.e. my father and uncle) both registered their weapons almost immediately after the law came into effect. I even went with my dad when he got his done. He didn't feel as though he were being made a pariah of some sort, he didn't care much for the paperwork but it was done swiftly and efficiently. Any responsible gun owner has nothing to fear from regulation of gun ownership, nor should they feel as though they're social outcasts. You have to have a license to drive a vehicle, a separate license to drive a 50' truck, a license to practice nursing, and on and on. The legislation is in place to ensure that people who demonstrate responsibility and deserve to own a gun are able to do so.
But most criminals don't register their guns, they say. This is true. It's just one more item on the charges against them when they arrested for committing a crime. But isn't it better, to use the Rumsfeld vernacular, to have the list of known knowns be longer than list of unknown unknowns? I would much rather we have a detailed catalogue of people we know who own guns and what type of guns than have to be concerned about the large numbers people who we don't know have guns and what type of guns. People who commit gun crimes are going to do so regardless of whether or not they register a weapon - nobody in this country has committed a gun crime due to the status of the gun registry; they have done so for a plethora of other reasons, from Marc Lepine to James Roszko.
Conservatives need to do some damage control right now. They have horribly bungled the finances of this country. After vowing to never go into deficit in November, they are now on the hook for wiping out the last 10 years of debt repayments due to their irreponsible mismanagement. So they bring out their tired dead horses to flog some more for the amusement of their base, to get the rah-rah gun crowd that supports them motivated and believing for just a moment that Stephen Harper is one of them. It's a distraction. The bill will be defeated by the Liberals, the Bloc, and the NDP. But it will get Conservatives riled up that they're being suppressed by a passive-aggressive permissive group of namby-pambies that want to make small c-conservatives feel bad about their lifestyles. It will have them forget that Stephen Harper's crew abdicated any sense of fiscal conservative ideology, and have them screaming that Harper needs a majority to get his agenda passed unhindered by liberal/Liberal dogma about guns, the right to choose, gay marriage, tolerance, free speech etc.

Luckily, most Canadians are smart enough to realize this Harper ploy for being exactly just that. Our eyes will not be taken off the ball that they let the air out of with their political games and poor decisions about the economy.

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