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LETTER – Gun ban casts too wide a net without increasing public safety

Dear Minister Blair,

I am writing to bring your attention to what I can only believe is an accidental error. We trust that once you become aware of this oversight, you will speedily move to make the appropriate corrections.

By including firearms used by millions of Canadian hunters and sport shooters, you not only violated your previous promise not to do so, but you inadvertently penalized millions of law-abiding firearms owners, both hunters and sport shooters, and destroyed hundreds of small Canadian businesses that sell firearms and other sporting equipment, all without increasing public safety. It serves no good public safety purpose to deliberately alienate one of the most law-abiding segments of our community.

Contrary to your promises made earlier, the recent ban on “assault-style firearms,” inappropriately included a large number of sporting rifles and shotguns. For example, on 31 January 2020, a spokesperson in your office stated, “We … will not target guns designed for hunting. Hunters, farmers, and law-abiding recreational gun owners will be treated with fairness and respect as we work together to keep our communities safe.”

https://thepostmillennial.com/bill-blairs-office-says-liberals-will-not-target-guns-designed-for-hunting/?fbclid=IwAR1f7jrgETtTG4JO3kJnsc_Ns1rBc4sHEronl018g3pjbaQ-UFs-CgDooKQ

The ban casts an incredibly wide net. Apparently, inadvertently, it ensnares a number of civilian rifles and shotguns that are widely used by hunters and sport shooters across Canada. Knowing that you are an honourable person, it is inconceivable for us to believe your office would intentionally ban hundreds of thousands of firearms used legitimately by millions of Canadians in a safe and responsible manner. If not rescinded, this would be a devastating blow to Canadian hunters and sport shooters as well as to the Olympic shooting sports.

Acting on behalf of 43,000 B. C. Wildlife Federation members, I request that you instruct your office to remove the many civilian rifles and shotguns that are on this list, that have been inadvertently prohibited through carelessly expediting the drafting of this Order-in-Council. It is inconceivable that it serves any public safety purpose to ban standard large-calibre hunting rifles and common semi-automatic rifles. The Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 that are banned are among the most common firearms in the country, used by hunters, sport shooters, and agriculturalists.The announcement of the new prohibitions was entitled, “a ban on assault-style weapons,” although the ban casts an exceptionally wide net. To be sure, it includes firearms that resemble military firearms, which have been labelled “assault-style weapons,” but it also includes an amazingly wide sample of firearms and militaria. In addition to banning common sporting firearms, the ban also includes: mortars, crew-served anti-tank weapons, missile launchers, small-bore rifles, Airsoft guns, a bizarre array of harmless contraptions also called “guns.” The variety is truly mind-boggling.

https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/05/01/prime-minister-announces-ban-assault-style-firearms

Perhaps amusingly, it appears your government may have prohibited the beloved T-shirt launcher that is featured prominently at many baseball and basketball games as well as the dreaded potato gun. Whether or not this was intentional, Canada will not be safer for it, and sports fans may not be pleased. Perhaps the ban may have also intentionally eliminated the fireworks launchers that produce such awesome displays on Canada Day, although many Canadians will be disappointed. Your office has indeed cast a wide net – and all for public safety.

It might help educate your staff if I point out that gang violence is the most prominent threat to public safety in Canada, not licensed firearms owners, whether hunters, sport shooters, or Canadians who own firearms for historical, cultural, agricultural, or as part of their military or police service. According to Statistics Canada data, almost half (47%) of firearm homicides are gang related. Lawful firearm owners are rarely involved. Just 2% of accused murderers had a valid firearms license.

Licensed gun owners are much less likely to be murderous than other Canadians. As Professor Gary Mauser reported to the Senate of Canada, licensed gun owners had a homicide rate of 0.67 per 100,000 licensed gun owners over the 11-year period (2006-2016). In contrast, the average national homicide rate (including gun owners) was 2.12 per 100,000 adults during the same period.

As I’m confident you know, hunters are law-abiding and bring value to their communities.

Over 1.3 million Canadians, in all provinces and territories, have a hunting license. You may be surprised to learn that roughly half of Canada’s hunters live in larger cities. Hunting spending in Canada totaled $5.9 billion in 2018. The resulting contribution to GDP was $4.1 billion. Hunting supported 33,000 jobs and generated just under $2 billion in labour revenue.

https://www.conferenceboard.ca/research/angling-hunting-trapping-and-sport-shooting

Many Canadian families and Indigenous peoples depend upon hunting to provide food for the family table through legal harvesting, with the added benefit of getting out in the wilderness, as well as spending time with family and friends.Hunters are the largest contributors to conservation, as the money they pay for licenses goes into securing conservation lands or funding projects to manage wildlife.

The ban may also catch shotguns used in trap and skeet as well as hunting. Millions of Canadians enjoy target sports and own these types of firearms, including Olympic athletes. An estimated 1.4 million Canadian target shooters spent over $2.6 billion in 2018. This includes shotgun sports, rifle and handgun target shooting. The target sports bring value to Canada and to the communities that host the meets, including tourism and supporting small businesses, often in small towns where the revenue is sorely needed. This spending boosted GDP by $1.8 billion, supported 14,000 jobs, and generated $868 million in labour revenue (2018).

Canada has a long and proud history of competitive marksmanship. Throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st, Canadians have volunteered to help protect the free world from aggression. It is important for Canadian national sovereignty that Canadian civilians be prepared to participate in military activities in times of national need. Times like world war II, Korean War, Viet Nam, and more recently, in Afghanistan.

To sum up, we trust that once you become aware of this oversight, you will speedily move to make the appropriate corrections. The ban casts too wide a net to be targeted for public safety. It serves no good public safety purpose to deliberately alienate a law-abiding segment of our community, all while spending billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars.

Yours in Conservation,

BILL BOSCH
President,
B.C. Wildlife Federation

About Mel Rothenburger (7728 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on LETTER – Gun ban casts too wide a net without increasing public safety

  1. It appears that Mr. Bosch who wrote this letter, is intentionally attempting to use generalities and non specifics to explain his points in his attempt to protest these changes by the Federal government. This is otherwise known as rhetorical clouding of the issue. His statements need to be looked at carefully to discern if they are viable arguments.

    Lets start with the one that will catch the most general attention. T-shirt canons. The prohibition clearly states that banned guns include firearms with a bore 20mm or greater (e.g., grenade launchers). Also banned are guns capable of a muzzle energy greater than 10,000 Joules.
    That is the limit of listed bore and muzzle restrictions.

    Although a T-shirt launcher admittedly has a bore far greater than 20mm, considering they are compress gas launchers, and you can physically see the T-shirt fly through the air, it is unlikely they will get to .001% the speed of the average Winchester 22mm which is somewhere in the 2000 feet per second range. A T-shirt canon takes 2 or 3 seconds minimum to fly 50 yards.
    Who wants to do the math?
    I remind that 10,000 Joules is 40x’s more powerful than a .22.
    A T-shirt canon does not belong in the conversation.

    This is an attempt to rally the regular T-shirt catching sport fan, and is purely rhetorical and attention seeking in nature, and it is unfortunate that Mr. Bosch is actively devolving the argument to trying to use such a soundbite. This is confirmed by his sidestep to include fireworks and Canada Day. Opportunistic, full stop.

    The other point worthy of primary highlighting are the only 2 weapons he specifically listed in the piece: the Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30. It was the Ruger Mini 14 that was used by Marc Lépine in the École Polytechnique Massacre.
    I’ll just leave that there,
    but it is odd he would use this as his only named example to argue for inappropriate listing.

    Mr. Bosch also says “In addition to banning common sporting firearms, the ban also includes: mortars, crew-served anti-tank weapons, missile launchers …”

    Lets just stop there a second, listing these alone suggests that this particular ban is a problem.
    All I have for that half of the sentence is … ‘well … duhh!’

    Canadians don’t need anyone to have this kind of equipment in their basement or garage, but if he is stating this as protest to banning this type of equipment, he is firmly entrenching his opinions on the side of rejecting absolutely any changes whatsoever to the laws in question, an opinion that 3/4 of Canadians disagree with.

    He continues that sentence “… small-bore rifles, Airsoft guns, a bizarre array of harmless contraptions also called ‘guns’. The variety is truly mind-boggling.”

    Actually there is no language in this order that suggests as such, nor in any Canadian firearms legislation or policy. The angle to the order is actually to re-list already restricted weapons as prohibited and add newer and missed weapons not previously listed to this category … but I understand how a statement like this ‘sounds good to the base’, so we will just discount it as rhetoric, as mind-boggling as it is.

    Mr. Bosch in a number of statements you suggest “… would intentionally ban hundreds of thousands of firearms used legitimately by millions of Canadians in a safe and responsible manner.”
    AND
    “… it ensnares a number of civilian rifles and shotguns that are widely used by hunters and sport shooters across Canada.”
    AND
    “… If not rescinded, this would be a devastating blow to Canadian hunters and sport shooters as well as to the Olympic shooting sports.”

    Citation please with:
    1. Number of guns. Precise details please to prove this point, what rifles and shotguns that are owned by Canadians that previously were not restricted, but now caught by prohibition. Product name and models please and an actual count. Even a cut/paste from the list dated May 1 provided by the government detailing now prohibited guns, would be fine.
    I’ll even provide you with the link to the actual banned list:

    Click to access g2-154×3.pdf


    How many of these previously restricted but now prohibited guns are out there?

    2. Numbers of affected owners. Stats that show exactly how many gun owners actually own listed and now prohibited guns, Suggesting that number is aligned with the ‘millions’ of owned guns is likely a profound reach and you are gathering every gun owner with a .22 into this statistic. Owning a .22 does not automatically mean you believe that these prohibitions are inappropriate. Can you prove or quantify this ‘millions’ number please?

    Competitive target shooters. Lets hear from one Olympic target sport shooter that uses a prohibited gun, even one. And in the unlikely event that they are presently using a listed gun, are they without another option? Mr. Bosch makes it sound like Canada will not be able to send athletes to the Olympics.
    Again, playing to the crowd.

    ‘Sport target’ shooters, generally the group that alone or as part of a club enjoy target shooting, great fun and an activity everyone can agree with and enjoy if they choose. Lets just see if this group is high on the radar of Canadians to be provided an exemption to use prohibited guns.
    Ya … didnt think so, they can adjust the guns they use.

    Competitive marksmanship visavie providing wartime support. Mr. Bosch even says “It is important for Canadian national sovereignty that Canadian civilians be prepared to participate in military activities in times of national need.”

    The last time I checked, war time sniper skills are the purview of the Canadian military, who of course are not subject to this prohibition. Individuals can join the military (as they did in Korea and Afghanistan), be trained as sniper marksman and provide that role. You’re suggesting that civilians with these operational skills are scooped up in times of military need (which is very likely true in the long ago past) but this was likely at a tiny percentile, compared to Canadian forces trained operators, and today … crowd sourcing of sniper operators is non existent.

    Indigenous use. It is clear in this order that there is an exception during the amnesty period, and I quote: “There are exceptions under the amnesty for Indigenous peoples exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights to hunt, and for those who hunt or trap to sustain themselves or their families.”
    These good peoples have 2 years to switch out their hardware, as to not limit their ability to provide for their families in the meantime. No one will go hungry.

    Finally, it is unfortunate with that statements like these, Mr. Bosch has firmly planted his foot and the feet of the BC Wildlife Federation into the fringe. That is a shame considering how much this group does on behalf of BC’rs regarding wildlife conservation and back country policy.
    Perhaps a more accurate and more accepting approach towards a majority of Canadians opinion on this, with more of a specific focus on exact gun/ban errors on this list, if there are any, would serve the BCWF better than these global rhetorical soundbites.

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