The trouble with Canadians

By Scott Carpenter
web posted July 3, 2000

"I'm all for reasonable gun control but..."

Does this sound familiar? It should. It's the beginning of almost every editorial written on gun control anywhere in Canada.

Please. Allow me to finish the line of thought for you....

"...but this new law is really stupid. It's a waste of money and criminals aren't going to register their guns anyway. Now, I don't have a problem with background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people but we need something that deals with crime and that doesn't waste the tax payers money."

It's a train of thought like this that makes it difficult to be a rational optimist in this day and age.

Let's take a quick look at the logical flaws in this line of reasoning shall we?

What does 'reasonable' mean when we talk about gun control?

The definition varies depending on who you ask. Some gun owners don't see a problem with a 'reasonable' licensing system that allows police to make 'valuable' background checks on those attempting to buy 'legal' guns through the 'legitimate' gun trade.

Seems 'reasonable' enough doesn't it? If you look at gun ownership as a privilege I suppose it is. While this definition of 'reasonable' is indeed pragmatic given this particular stance (and given the current state of our justice system - but I digress) it is nonetheless unrealistic.

Gun ownership viewed as a mere privilege reveals something dark and sinister about the way in which we have chosen to think. For if gun ownership is a privilege - granted, restricted, amended and withdrawn by those in positions of political power - whether they are a single man, a party or the majority - then we ourselves are little more than property to be owned and commanded by those with the biggest and the most guns.

But if you reject the idea that men are created to be ruled by other men, if you accept that reality exists and thus man is a creature with inalienable rights then you must reject this notion of 'reasonable gun control' and adopt a slightly more laissez faire approach.

Admittedly, firearms ownership is, in and of itself not a natural right - but it is certainly a logical political one. Without the right to bear arms (in this case guns - 600 years ago it would have been long bows) we are but servants to those with power. Indeed, our natural right to self defense - a logical corollary of the right to the ownership of our own life - logically implies the right to defend that life with whatever means necessary to do the job. A knife is little match against a thug armed with a crowbar and worse it is nothing in the face of massive political tyranny. Undoubtedly, a man has as much right to defend himself against a despotic state as he does to defend himself and his family against an armed thug.

Furthermore, requesting "background checks" on potential gun buyers also reveals how far our justice system itself has sunk. Once a man pays his debt to society he returns with the same rights that he held before he committed the crime. Restricting his access to firearms because of previous charges (paid for in sentencing) brought against him is a violation of his rights.

But what about rapists and murders? How can they be trusted again? How can they even have rights?

That we must even ask this question reveals that the concept of justice has been lost in our society. Rape and murder are, without a doubt, two of the most heinous crimes that one human being can perpetrate against another. Therefore, the question should not be: "How do we weed these guys out," but rather "What are they doing out of prison in the first place?"

In a society where terrible crimes receive a mere slap on the wrist 'background checks' become a major concern. A lack of justice - i.e.: a lack of punishment of wrong doers - is the tyrant's primary means of keeping the populace alarmed and clamoring to the legislature in fear. In reality, the armed citizen is the tyrants worst nightmare (which is why the citizen receives crushing sentences for disobeying rules that violate his rights) while the armed thug is his best friend (and is subsequently set free to terrorize us which is as good excuse as any to increase the police powers of the state). In the end, background checks are only necessary when the state and our Justice system allows scum to run amuck.

Indeed, if wrong doers were punished properly, firearms ending up in the hands of such people would be a non issue. Our aforementioned thug would be in prison where he would stay most of his adult life.

With regards to background checks - potential suicides and homicides are also non issues. They cannot be predicted regardless of how much background information is collected. Thus legislating against what 'might' happen disarms people in the event that the unthinkable does occur, which it always does. The reality of living in this world dictates that necessity - being the mother of all invention - will always find a way with or without firearms. Tragedies can neither be predicted nor prevented.

In the end, what this analysis reveals, is that much is needed to be done in this nation before we can return to a proper state of liberty. Besides a proper definition and implementation of the concept of justice we must begin to redefine our idea of "rights". Without a rational definition of such things justice loses its meaning and we end up living in a society where we fasten our own chains out of fear of what 'may' happen should some delinquent get his hands on the wrong tool. Perhaps, though this has been the problem with Canadian culture all along. We have never addressed the issue of "rights" from an objective and realistic standpoint. We have historically passed laws for purely pragmatic reasons instead of basing them on fundamental human rights. Unfortunately, as we are experiencing now, this cognitive laziness has a way of coming back to haunt us.

Scott Carpenter is the web master of Liberty Free Press.

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