It felt like a very bad time to be firing a gun.
Not long after the horrific mass shooting in Buffalo, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, a local gun store invited the media to drop by on Saturday, June 4th, to shoot at some targets, as a part of National Range Day.
A newspaper reporter accepted the offer. After getting a safety talk, he entered the range and fired nine rounds from a 9mm handgun. His hands were shaky, and his aim was poor. The manager made it perfectly clear that the gun culture and laws in the United States are completely different in Canada. He told a personal story to illustrate the point.
Years ago, when he wasn’t in the gun business, he and some of his clients went to a Florida restaurant with a no-gun rule. “So, just like your coat-checks up here, they had a gun-check at the restaurant. My clients opened up their jackets, got their guns out, got their little chit for the gun-check, and the lady said to me, “Sir, you need to check your gun in.”
I said, “I’m not carrying” and she looked at me and said, “Come on sir, you need to check your gun.” I said, “Honestly, I’m not carrying.” She looked around and said, “You’re not carrying?” I opened my jacket and said, “I’m from Canada. We don’t do this up there” And she couldn’t believe it!
Friends in Michigan have told him they can’t understand why he doesn’t carry a gun. I said, ‘Here’s the difference. Where I come from, we had six homicides last year. They were all targeted, either gang-related, or domestic.” They said, “That happened in Detroit yesterday.” That’s the big difference.
In some states, almost everyone can buy a gun immediately. This is not the case in Canada. You’ll have to wait six to eight months. You must take a 16 hour safety course, provide references, and be vetted by the RCMP. It involves answering some intrusive and serious questions. Have you been on medication in the last five years for depression? Have you had a job loss, or a divorce?
Any red flag means No Gun! If you do get one, it can only be used for hunting or target shooting. Automated background checks are run on gun owners once a day. We have to recognize that we are a different country than the United States. We have a different gun culture and different processes.
He said, “Mass shootings in the US have nothing to do with Canada. I refuse to be blamed for the actions of a madman. It’s that simple. There is no connection.
The Saturday event celebrated the lawful ownership of guns in Canada. About 2.3 million Canadians are licensed to own a gun. At the start of the COVID pandemic, the store was stampeded by people looking for guns. “They felt like things were going to go bad – lockdowns were going to cause people to go crazy.”
Many were surprised they needed a licence and had to take a safety course, and pass a background check. They said that they needed a gun immediately. He told them, “If you are panicking, and the only thing that is driving you to buy a gun is panic – we need to have a longer conversation. You don’t buy a gun out of panic, and you don’t buy a gun for self-defense.”
Many Canadian gun-control laws miss the mark. Most guns used in crimes are smuggled across the border. There is a serious problem at the border that needs to be solved. Targeting businesses like his and their livelihood, and law-abiding customers, is not going to solve the problem of violent crime.
It was pleasant to see such a well-researched and thought-out article for a change, instead of the typical Chicken Little, The Sky Is Falling, Big Brother Save Us rants.