Another day, another shooting

February 27, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Bang bang, you’re dead – and so are a lot of your friends.

Yes, there was yet another mass school shooting in the good ol’ US of A, but your ‘thoughts and prayers’ have become meaningless rhetoric and calls for gun control will be met with challenges and the upholding of the Second Amendment to the constitution’s declaration of the right to bear arms.

Personally I think you should have the right to ‘bear arms’ – or as we say in Canada, “own guns.”

I would not trust any government that tried to disarm its citizens. After all, what kind of government fears its own populace? Not a good one, that’s for sure.

However, gun ownership in the hands of citizens comes with an extreme level of responsibility on the part of those who choose to keep firearms for what ever reason, and rules should be in place regarding firearms that exceed what is common sense.

I wouldn’t want to have a neighbour who owns a rifle with a 30-round magazine. I would seriously wonder why he thinks having 30 bullets ready to fire would be necessary in any situation in a typical suburban landscape.

In the U.S., gun ownership goes a lot deeper than it does here and the rules regarding ownership are a lot different.

A quick check reveals that 33 U.S. States do not require any kind of firearms licence for either long guns or handguns, and 29 of those States do not require any kind of background check when privately selling guns. Many States have no limit on magazine capacity. In many States you can holster a pistol in public or carry a semi-automatic rifle slung over your shoulder on a city street. In Florida, it is a felony to record or maintain a list of people with firearms.

They take private gun ownership very seriously.

But does the availability of firearms account for the number of mass shootings in the U.S. or is there a deeper and darker reason for these mass murders?

In Canada, our gun laws are fairly strict but not so strict as to infringe individual rights to ownership. The current system works well and I think most firearms owners would agree.

There are three categories of firearms in Canada – prohibited, restricted and non-restricted.

Prohibited – usually, but not 100 per cent – means you can’t legally own one. This includes many military style automatic weapons, high volume magazines, and other guns such as cheaply produced .32 and .25 calibre pistols.

Restricted weapons include handguns and some types of military style weapons which require a licence and background check by the RCMP.

Shotguns and most standard centre fire and rim fire rifles are classified as non-restricted weapons, meaning you do require a valid firearms licence to possess or own; however, recording personal information during a purchase is not required. Semi-automatic centre fire rifles in Canada are pinned to hold no more than five rounds.

When you renew your licence – it is required every five years – there is a whole list of questions you must answer that may or may not affect your renewal but may act as red flags for the issuing body.

Most of those questions reflect on the possibility that maybe you shouldn’t have a gun around at the present time for the safety of yourself, your family, or the public.

There are around 800,000 registered restricted weapons in Canada and several million more unrestricted weapons, including rifles and shotguns.

When it comes to firearm related homicides in Canada, the vast majority are carried out by criminals who have access to unlicensed illegal weapons.

It’s almost unheard for a legal gun owner to use a weapon on another person in this country, and we haven’t had a mass shooting since the Montreal massacre, at the École Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989, which took the lives of 14 women.

There’s a saying in the gun culture in the U.S.: guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

When these mass shootings occur, more and more I think there’s more to that saying than we realize.

Why is it that the U.S. in particular has so many school shootings?

Is there something darker and more sinister going on that is being missed? What is influencing these people to target innocent people in such a way? Is there something in their culture that is staring them right in the face and yet they cannot see it?

While most of these mass killers end up dead either by their own hand or during a final shootout with police, this time the 19-year-old perpetrator is alive.

I don’t have an answer as to why these shootings keep happening, but this killer does.

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