Gun Control: Canada Under Fire Essay, Research Paper
In the Interests of the Public:New Gun Control Laws in CanadaAn increase in gun control is not in the best interests of society, it just provides a false sense of security. Through out history governments have used guns as a scapegoat for their problems with violent crime. Guns are not the problem when it comes to society’s problems with violence, people are. Guns do not commit the crimes people do. You must control the criminals in order to control crime. The first restrictions on firearms in Canada came in 1877 when a six month sentence was implemented for anyone possessing a handgun without fear of life or property. Then in 1892 a nation wide permit system was established for the ownership of small arms, such as handguns. Later in 1934 full registration of all handguns was established. These severe restrictions on handguns were the difference between the American and Canadian old west. These handgun restrictions prevented people from carrying handguns in public unlike the Americans western frontier, where people felt they must own handguns for protection. This lack of handguns shaped Canada into a society which is less reliant on guns in comparison to the Americans. Later in 1957 a registration system was established for all restricted weapons. Then in 1961, 3 different classifications for firearms were introduced, prohibited, restricted and long arms. The Canadian gun control policy is one of the toughest in the world.There are three major themes of the new gun law, to strengthen border controls, deal with the criminal use of firearm and to enhance controls on the legal use of firearms. In order to strengthen Canadian border controls, the government is implementing many new laws. Some of the highlights are listed below. 1. All commercial shipments of firearms must have a permit and will be recorded entering and leaving Matos 2 Canada. 2. All individual firearms must be registered entering and leaving Canada. 3. The shipment of prohibited weapons and ammunitions will be prohibited. 4. More offenses and stiffer penalties to deal with the smuggling and trafficking of weapons. 5. Fees levied to recover the cost of inspections and registration of firearms. The next theme of the new gun control laws, dealing with the criminal use of firearms, the new laws to do this are outlined below. 1. Minimum 4 year sentence for 10 key offenses if committed with a firearm, attempted murder, manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death, robbery, kidnapping, hostage-taking, sexual assault with a weapon, aggravated sexual assault, extortion, discharge firearm with intention to cause harm. 2. Lifetime prohibition from possessing a restricted weapon upon conviction for any of these 10 offenses. 3. Minimum 1 year sentence for any of the following sentences, Possession of a loaded handgun or unloaded with ammunition in reach, possession of a stolen or smuggled firearm, trafficking/possession of an unregistered firearm for the purpose of trafficking. 4. Other new offenses such as failing to report a loss or theft of a firearm. And the new gun laws final purpose, controls on legal ownership of firearms will be delt with the following laws. 1. The registration of all firearms (Supports all three themes) 2. Increased ammunition controls such as raising the purchasing age to 18 from 16, must show identification upon purchasing, can only purchase firearms for owned caliber of guns. 3. Increased controls on handguns which include banning the manufacture of .25 caliber and .32 caliber handguns and all handguns with barrels under 4 inches. Also the prohibition of many assault pistols and increase the controls on handgun shooting clubs. 4. A ban on many military style weapons. The registration of firearms is the most drastic new law being imposed. This registration system will be Matos 3 composed of many parts listed below. 1. Gun owners will have 7 years to register, which will help gun owners with the transition 2. Machine readable plastic cards will be issued to gun owners. 3. Firearm Identification Numbers will be issued for every firearm manufactured or imported in Canada. 4. 5 different levels for the ownership of firearms, a minors permit with no acquisition rights, long firearm (rifle, shotgun) with no acquisition rights, long firearms with acquisition rights, restricted weapons with no acquisition rights, and restricted weapons with acquisition rights. 5. Every gun will be issued a registration card. The government has addressed the gun control issue in three major parts, tighter border controls, dealing with the criminal use of firearms and stiffer controls on legal owners of firearms. There are many different instances where gun control has failed or it could not have avoided a crime from happening. For instance on September 14, 1994, 2 armed men robbed Gagnon sports in Oshawa. The purpose for this robbery was to steal firearms. In the process the owner, Mr. Pardy was killed and 3 others wounded. The robbers made off with a number of guns. This crime illustrates a flaw in Canadian gun laws, if a criminal wants a gun there are many different ways of getting one such as robbery. Since the issue of gun control affects everyone in society, there are many different views on it but they are in many ways similar. The most important view to be considered is the general view of society. Society feels that the government must stop the smuggling of illegal and legal guns into the country, increase the penalties for crimes committed with firearms, and place a ban on many military and other weapons that are unsuitable for target shooting or hunting. The majority of society also wants to make it harder to buy firearms, make sure that they are stored correctly, and in general society does not want to feel as if they must arm themselves for protection and to feel safe. Another view which must be addressed is the gun owners themselves, since they are the most affected by the new gun laws. Most gun owners feel that they are being punished for what criminals do. They feel that the new gun laws will have little or no affect on the crime rate, it will just increase the hassle for the legal gun owners. Another view which must be addressed is how police feel about the new gun laws. Most police feel that penalties
Matos 4 for crimes such as pocession of illegal guns should be increased so they can prevent crimes by arresting criminals for a meaningful crime before a more serious crime is comitted. They also feel that it will be much safer for them if they know who owns guns, through registration, before responding to calls such as domestic violence. If they know a person has a firearm, they can take special care in their handling of the situation. The final view which must be addressed is the politicians. Their feelings on gun control closely reflect the views of society. They feel that the main aim of gun control is to make it so Canadians do not feel they must arm themselves to feel safe. Many politicians feel that gun control is a good start to making society a more peaceful place to live and it will help prevent violent crime from occurring. They also what to stop the smuggling of weapons to help prevent crime. These different resulting views are very similar, but the way to achieve them are not. Although government have felt that an increase in gun control leads to a decrease in crime, it has been shown over time to have no affect and in some cases increase the crime rate. In 1978 new gun laws where introduced in Canada which should have reduced the crime rate. It was found that the homicide, and suicide rate rose. This shows that gun control is not the answer to lower the crime rate. The new gun laws may also increase the smuggling of firearms. With all the red tape it takes to legally buy a firearm, many people may resort to buying an illegal gun from the states. As for suicide, about 1/3 of all suicides are committed with a gun. Gun control is not the way to lower the crime rate, they should concentrate more on crime control.There are many reasons why the new gun control laws are useless or could cause more damage to society than good. The biggest problem with the new gun laws is the law that all firearms must be registered. This registration of firearms can be dangerous to both the owners and the public. If all firearms are registered in a police database this list would be very dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. If a criminal was to break into the police database of registered guns, they would find out where guns are and how many there are in a certain house. This could leave gun owners very vulnerable to theft. For example if someone owns one hundred guns, it would be much easier for a thief to break into this house and make off with one hundred guns then to use other methods such as smuggling or Matos 5 breaking into multiple houses with few guns. Another way registration can lead to more crime is by smuggling of firearms. With all the red tape involved in legally owning a firearm people may resort to buying guns illegally from the US This new registration system may turn many legal gun owners into criminals since they will not register their guns. There is also the question of cost to implement the new gun registration program. It has been targeted at 2 billion dollars, which should be put towards fighting crime not restricting the legal gun owners. In respects to the question of police safety, police could find out who owns guns through firearm licenses. The restrictions being placed on ammunition in order to improve tracing methods and to prevent minors from buying ammunition is also useless. Anyone, at any age can legally purchase all the equipment to make ammunition and it is untraceable. Therefore if anyone ever wanted ammunition under age or for the purpose of committing a crime could very easily produce it themselves. An increase in the number of prohibited weapons is also useless and a nuisance for many legal gun owners. Many collectors with no intentions of ever using their guns at all let alone for criminal uses may have their firearms confiscated. Also some family heirlooms may be confiscated if they are deemed prohibited. Most of the new gun laws being implemented are useless and costly. If the public understood what it would mean to legal gun owners it would not have been considered. Although there are many bad points to the new gun law there are also many good aspects. Better education and stiffer penalties will be very helpful in the long run. An increase in the education for gun owners can drastically reduce the chances of an accident due to the incorrect use of firearms. The new training programs introduced in 1952 helped to decrease the accident rate steadily from 1952 to 1982. The more people know about guns and how to use them correctly, the less chance there use could result in an accident. The new gun licensing program is also a good aspect of the new law. With this new licensing it will force new gun owners to take courses. An increase in penalties is also a good way to prevent crime and punish the criminals rather than the legal gun owners. This should be the main goal of the new gun law, to prevent and punish criminal behavior, not to restrict the legal use of guns. Canadian gun control laws should stop restricting the legal use of guns and start focusing on their criminal use. To do this, extremely strict sentences should be imposed for people using guns illegally. Matos 6 Education should also be increased and people should have to exceed very strict standards in order to own a gun. It is impossible to stop the criminal use of guns but education can help prevent accidents and the misuse of guns. If many present laws where carried out correctly, then these new gun laws would not be necessary. If Canada would listen to the gun owners of Canada they could work out much better gun laws which would benefit everyone. Gun control is not the answer to societies’ violence problems. Guns are just being used as a scapegoat so politicians do not have to deal with the real issue the criminals. It is just a quick fix the government is trying to use to satisfy societies need for action. The government should focus on crime control not gun control.