EDITORIAL – Clear lines needed between legal and criminal use of guns

Photo posted on Instagram by Carey Price.

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THERE’S NO SPORT in sport hunting. That’s just fact.

Animals and birds have only their instincts to defend themselves in this unequal contest, while hunters enjoy all the advantages offered by technology.

That includes high powered rifles and shotguns. As famed hockey goalie Carey Price, who likes to shoot ducks, points out, what he does is legal. As he says, he is not a criminal nor a threat to society.

Price’s comments unfortunately came on the eve of the 33rd anniversary of the shooting at Ecole Polytechnique that tragically took 14 lives, so the gun issue is particularly sensitive right now.

Nevertheless, Carey’s opinions, along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments on Bill C-21 point out an important dividing line in the gun debate.

The bill was originally aimed at banning handguns but amendments add a list of rifles and shotguns that apparently includes certain hunting rifles.

A lot of it has to do with things like muzzle width, joules of energy, detachable magazines and so on that most of us without science degrees — or at least lack an expert’s knowledge of weaponry — don’t totally comprehend but the bottom line is that critics say the amendments to the bill sweep in some long guns that might be used for hunting.

That, says the prime minister, isn’t the intention, and the government will take a second look at the 458-page list. According to Trudeau, the government is targeting military weapons such as sniper rifles and mortars.

Which is really the key issue in the whole gun-control debate: protecting the legal rights of hunters and farmers while getting rid of guns they don’t need. Those are the ones that, as Trudeau says, are designed to kill a large number of people quickly.

It’s not about liking or not liking hunting. It’s about establishing a fair line between guns needed for legal purposes, like hunting, and those that are a threat to society.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9657 Articles) 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 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.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Clear lines needed between legal and criminal use of guns

  1. Don Rocheleau // December 8, 2022 at 6:46 PM // Reply

    Hi Mel
    Sorry, but you touched on a subject that is dear to me.

    I cannot agree with you on the sport hunting part of your editorial., I have hunted for over 50 years and do it for many reasons. The best one for me is the quality of meat I get . With all the rules and regulations around firearms and hunting, you make it sound like it is easy to harvest an animal, but even with all the legal technology, I assure you it is not and hunters do not shoot everything they see. The animals that you eat suffer in closed quarters while they are processed for our consumption and are being forced fed all kinds of drugs and chemicals, while our wild animals get to live a natural existence.
    Hand guns in Canada have been regulated for as long as I can remember and it is the criminals, repeat offenders and mentally challenge people that the government will not look after in today’s society, that are giving hunters a bad name.
    I do agree that there is no need for assault rifles like the AK 47, but once the list is made it is to easy for governments to add to the ban, then only criminals will have guns
    Have stiffer penalties on crimes involving firearms will stop putting hunters in the same boat as criminals
    Don Rocheleau

  2. George Grant // December 8, 2022 at 11:51 AM // Reply

    Hi Mel, as a long time hunter and gun lover. I have a lot of problems with the newest attempts of Jason to gain the “hysterical” vote of the ban firearms crowd!
    Just like the horribly misguided long gun registry, this latest baloney is misguided at minimum and ridiculous in the assenine assumption that it would have any effect on mass shootings or any gun crime we have in Canada. Banning guns over a certain bore size or muzzle energy is a good example of the rediculousness! The only thing banning these guns would do was protect the potential shooter from massive recoil of these guns! I would guarantee there has never been an increased threat with size the of weapon. Also the term “sniper rifle”. They are traditionally bolt action hunting riles with quality optic sights. The dangerous part is the trained person behind the weapon not the weapon itself. I do not recall ever hearing of someone in Canada being shot with a sniper rifle other than on a battlefield.

    We already have some great gun laws in Canada with regards to handguns and high capacity magazines. The problem is bad guys do not pay attention to laws anyway!
    Background checks, red flags etc. make sense.
    Canada does not have a gun problem that is going to be affected at all by the most recent proposed gun bans. They’re only going to unfairly impact a lot of legal, responsible gun owners.
    I am 75 and have hunted all my adult life, including this year that I harvested a deer.
    Mel, you are obviously not a hunter! We hunters do not always have the advantage you think we do!
    Thanks…….George Grant

  3. It might come as a bit of a shock for people to learn that a great number of women are and have been involved in sport shooting involving handguns.
    It may come as a bit of a shock to learn that a great number of women are and have been involved in sport shooting involving “cowboy action”, shotgun sports (clays) and rifle shooting at targets.

    A lot of women are and have been active in hunting game animals. Rather than have an animal, such as a pig, hang upside down by its feet and have its throat slit for it to bleed to death, women take up hunting deer or moose instead.
    Unless a person is a practicing vegetarian, there might always be the argument of what is considered a humane kill in order to sacrifice an animal’s life to become something humans eat. Having an industry do the dirty work for society demanding meat to eat is what really happens.

    If the purpose of the gun control measures is to address public safety, then a more accurate point of aim should be taken. Bad guys and bad girls who use guns to hurt & kill other people don’t generally care about laws anyway.

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