By: Teresa Mull
GPM reported last week that a Canadian gunman dressed up as a police officer and went on a killing spree in Nova Scotia that ended the lives of at least 23 people. GPM also reported that Canada is home to some of the strictest gun control laws in the world.
Now, the nation’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, wants to make the laws even more restrictive. The New York Post reports:
“I can say that we were on the verge of introducing legislation to ban assault-style weapons across this country,” Trudeau said during Monday’s daily coronavirus briefing.
“It was interrupted when the pandemic caused parliament to be suspended, but we have every intention of moving forward on that measure, and potentially other measures, when parliament returns,” Trudeau added, according to Canada’s CTV.
Some of the gun control laws already on Canada’s books include: extensive background checks with third-party interviews, criminal and mental backgrounds checks, spousal interviews, licensing for gun owners, and gun storage regulations.
Informed people know, though, of course, that gun control does nothing to stop criminals, who, by definition, do not care about laws and are not going to jump through hoops to acquire guns by which to murder people.
As GPM has reported repeatedly:
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice, 10 percent of criminals acquired their firearms from conventional retailers. This same reported added, “More than half (56%) of prisoners who possessed a firearm during their offense had either stolen it (6%), found it at the scene of the crime (7%), or obtained it off the street or from the underground market (43%). Fewer than 1% had obtained the firearm at a gun show (0.8%).”
For law-abiding gun owners, this kind of asymmetry can prove deadly, since criminals know that that the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens will likely be disarmed in areas with highly restrictive gun control. In Baltimore, 343 were killed in 2017; 88 percent of those murders involved firearms according to Baltimore Police data; 85 percent of the 118 suspects that police identified had prior criminal records. According to police spokesman, T.J. Smith, the “overwhelming majority of them (guns) are going to be illegally possessed.” In Pittsburgh, nearly 80 percent of gun crimes involved unlawfully owned guns, specifically guns that belonged to other people.
So-Called ‘Assault Weapons’ Are Not the Problem
Consider this: 173 people were killed in mass shootings involving AR-15s from 2007 to 2017. Further, all rifles, not just “assault-style rifles,” are linked to 439 deaths annually. In this same time period, 1,700 people were murdered in cases involving knives or other sharp objects each year. What’s more, Being Classically Liberal reported that “In any given year, for every person murdered with a rifle, there are 15 murdered with handguns, 1.7 with hands or fists, and 1.2 with blunt instruments.” Looking at the bigger picture, we find that homicides involving any type of rifle constitute a measly 3.2 percent of all homicides during the past decade.
Firearm Restrictions Are Failing in Other Parts of the World
Gun controllers always turn to foreign countries to demonstrate how gun control allegedly “works”. Australia and the United Kingdom are the two most common examples cited to prove their point. Australia gained world renown for passing the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) of 1996 (which was not a ban, contrary to popular media narratives), that only banned so-called “assault weapons” – long-guns, such as rifles and shotguns. Handguns were still available for purchase, but under stiff control.
Although Australia’s gun buyback program reduced the overall supply of firearms from 3.2 million to 2.2 million, it did not have a dramatic effect on crime, which was already low before the passage of the NFA. Interestingly, the NFA did very little to limit gun circulation. From 1997 and into the present, Australian gun ownership has grown more than three times faster than the population. The number of firearms increased from 2.5 million to 5.8 million. The final figure is larger than the total number of firearms in Australia before the buyback even took place.
Australia’s gun control experiment looks less brilliant when compared to the gun-friendly United States. Rapes and sexual assaults increased significantly in Australia from 1995 to 2006. In his book, Four Hundred Years of Gun Control, Howard Nemerov found that the rates of rapes and sexual assaults in Australia grew by 21.4 percent during that period. In contrast, sexual assaults fell by 16.8 percent in America. When you think about it, this makes sense. Gun ownership puts societies’ most vulnerable – the elderly and women – on a level playing field with assailants who use raw strength to hurt others.
Similarly, the U.K. is portrayed as a gun control paradise. Mass shootings in the late 1980s and early 1990s prompted politicians to pass gun control laws that effectively banned the possession of handguns and slapped heavy restrictions on owning rifles and shotguns.
In a similar manner to Australia, sexual assaults grew significantly. Nemerov demonstrated in his book that sexual assaults increased by 76.5 percent. The most notable crime trend taking place nowadays in the U.K is knife crime. The Guardian offered a lurid portrayal of the knife crime wave sweeping across the U.K.:
“Police recorded 39,598 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in the year to December 2017, a 22% increase compared with the previous year (32,468), and the highest number registered since comparable records started in 2010. Gun crime rose to 6,604 offences.”
Even when guns aren’t readily available, criminals will turn to whatever instruments are at their disposal. In the British case, knives will suffice. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has even implemented “knife control” policies to tackle the knife stabbing epidemic in London. This did nothing to curb knife crime, as knife attacks increased by 8 percent in both England and Wales from April 2018 to May 2019. British police reports from 43 departments have 47,136 incidents involving blades on record. It should amaze any pro-gun observer that Khan and his fellow policymaker don’t even understand that Britain’s criminal class doesn’t care about the law. No matter what obstacles they place on legal gun or knife ownership, criminals still find a way to harm people. Maybe they should consider a more radical alternative —arming law-abiding citizens.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.