The NFA is right about one thing: it’s time to talk about guns and mental health

Posted on June 09, 2014, 1:20 am
11 mins

The National Firearms Association’s logo and slogan. What do you think their message is? Below: NFL President Sheldon Clare and the organization’s Executive VP, Shawn Bevins. All photos grabbed from the NFA’s public Facebook page.

Enough time has passed since the shocking murders of three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in Moncton, N.B., for Canadians to start to ponder the serious issues raised by this tragedy.

Unsurprisingly, the need for calm reflection didn’t hold back the so-called National Firearms Association from immediately publishing a press release that bizarrely argued the shootings proved Canada should have fewer controls on guns than the eroding regulatory structure we have now.

The NFA crassly rushed into print on the day of the apparent assassinations, well before the suspected shooter had been captured, let alone before most of us had any idea what was going on.

But common decency or respect – for the facts or for the dead – didn’t seem to guide the actions of Canada’s wannabe National Rifle Association, as it rarely guides the increasingly militant and hysterical self-described law-abiding gun owners the organization represents.

So last Thursday afternoon, while police were still searching for the suspected killer and large swaths of Moncton remained in a frightening lockdown, NFA President Sheldon Clare, Communications VP Blair Hagen and Executive VP Shawn Bevins put their names to the press release that, as the firearms lobby on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border frequently does when a law-abiding gun owner crosses the line into lawlessness, tried to blame the mentally ill for the slaughter.

Accordingly, the news release stated, “the NFA deplores the terrible actions by a clearly deranged individual that led to these deaths and injuries.” (Emphasis added.)

However, it went on, getting to Messrs. Clare’s, Hagen’s and Bevins’s main point, “incidents like these demonstrate the validity of the mounting evidence that none of Canada’s firearms control efforts over the past 50 years have had any effect on preventing violence, or otherwise stopping bad people from carrying out their evil deeds.”

Canada’s “excessive” gun-control efforts, they argued, “do not in any way increase public safety, but merely contribute to an expensive and unnecessary regime which harms only those of lawful intent.” Like the presumed Moncton shooter, one could speculate, up until 24 hours or so before June 5.

“Resources wasted on this fundamentally flawed firearms control regime could be better placed to support a health care system which could be better enabled to diagnose and treat conditions that put people’s lives at risk,” the NFA concluded, with the release’s authors no doubt patting themselves on the back for their cleverness.

Now, while it is certainly true that Canada needs a health care system that can do a better job of diagnosing and helping people with mental illness, this call for improved mental health care is highly ironic coming from a group that represents the increasingly paranoid Canadian variants of the Tea Party and that has made common cause with the federal political party dedicated to dismantling Canada’s public health care system.

Nevertheless, let’s indulge Messrs. Clare, Hagen and Bevins for a moment and discuss the issue of mental health and guns, which they suggest is the real problem requiring action.

Because, to be blunt about it, the NFA in particular and the anti-gun-law lobby in general appear to have a real need to address questions about the mental health of some law-abiding gun owners.

That is to say, just for starters – judging from the enraged, paranoid and threatening responses from some in the no-controls faction of Canada’s gun owning minority (about 30 guns per 100 people) – mental illness appears to be a genuine problem among that segment of the population attracted to multiple gun ownership and unrestricted firearms activity.

It is particularly troubling that such a significant percentage of the gun enthusiasts who comment publicly on the issue appear to believe that public support and agitation for registration rules similar to those required of automobile drivers constitute the first step in a massive conspiracy by the state to seize their beloved weapons.

The tone of their commentary inside their private online enthusiasts’ chat rooms is more frightening. There, they talk openly of the need to use violence to overthrow governments that dare to regulate their enthusiasm.

At the same time, apparently unaware of the contradiction, they frequently disparage liberal “gun haters” and would-be “gun grabbers” – the supposed authors of this mass totalitarian conspiracy – as limp-wristed namby-pambies unable and unwilling to protect the Canadian state from a variety of foreign threats, some real, but mostly imagined.

This paranoia has been effectively used as a wedge issue to generate votes and raise funds, by the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and encouraged by a group of neoliberal “journalists” associated with the Sun News Network in particular – yet another irony, since it is the secretive and intrusive Conservatives who constitute the biggest threat to freedom in Canada in all areas except perhaps gun ownership and the requirement to provide census data.

Judging from news reports, it was a motivating factor in the Moncton police murders. Because, it is safe to say, these notions didn’t just spring fully formed into the shooter’s mind. They came from somewhere – and they sound suspiciously like the very stories told by extremist gun owner groups on both sides of the border through the Internet.

This is not to say that there are not genuinely responsible and sensible gun owners. I hear from some of them too, who respectfully disagree with the positions taken in this blog and sometimes offer persuasive arguments worth considering. I even hear from some gun owners who have no objections to registration of firearms.

Nor is it to say that anyone could provide credible figures that state X or Y per cent of Canadian gun owners or gun enthusiasts are mentally ill.

But I am saying that you only have to read the correspondence received by advocates of mere registration of firearms in Canada to recognize that a significant portion of pro-gun letter writers, if not law-abiding gun owners, have mental health issues.

We all know from a cool-headed reading of history that violence has always attracted some people who are mentally ill, and that weapons of all sorts quite naturally exert a powerful attraction upon people who want to commit violence.

Indeed, I would go farther and suggest because of this natural and understandable draw, there is a connection between violence and the manufacture and sale of low-calibre firearms designed to look like military assault rifles.

The gun-lobby is forever complaining that bleeding heart liberals mistake these weapons, often designed to fire .22-calibre bullets, with military assault weapons that use heavier ammunition and are capable of fully automatic fire, and therefore show themselves to be uninformed.

But surely it is fair to wonder, since these rifles are essentially the same as other small-calibre “varmint rifles” and are supposedly merely purchased for “sport” or rodent control, why a traditional .22 wouldn’t satisfy these gun owners. I think we all intuitively understand the real reason.

And none of this addresses the tragic interconnection among guns, mental illness and suicide – because in reality most people who do harm with guns, do it to themselves. According to the Canadian government’s now out-of-date figures and analysis, gun use in suicide is far higher in the United States than in Canada

And in the United States, despite the often successful efforts of the NRA to prevent accurate records from being kept by law enforcement agencies, the Centre for Disease Control has captured death-certificate data from throughout the United States, Forbes Magazine reports. “When so-called ‘self-inflicted’ death by gunshot is taken into account, the liberal thesis is supported almost perfectly: more guns, more gun deaths; less guns, less gun deaths. It’s as simple as that.”

The NFA is right about this much: we need to spend more on identifying and treating mental illness in Canada.

A good place to start would be by talking honestly about the nexus between mental illness and firearms.

But don’t get your hopes up expecting more help for the mentally ill if the NFA gets its political way. It’s said here they don’t care a fig about this issue, except as an excuse to divert attention from their main program, which is the imposition of a wide-open and totally unregulated gun ownership regime.

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22 Comments to: The NFA is right about one thing: it’s time to talk about guns and mental health

  1. jerrymacgp

    June 9th, 2014

    A couple of notes. First, on the specific matter of firearm calibre, the AR-15, aka M-16, is a 5.56 mm rifle, firing a round similar to a civilian .223 Remington (this from Wikipedia). Its effectiveness is a combination of muzzle velocity and firing rate, as well as (for military applications) the simple fact that smaller ammo is lighter and so the soldier can carry more of it.

    Secondly, from a bigger picture perspective, while no amount of gun control can totally eliminate these sorts of massacres (the tragic event at the U of C in the spring involved no guns at all), one can reduce the risk. There is good epidemiological evidence that those countries with stricter gun laws also have lower rates of death due to gun violence, and those with looser guns laws have higher death rates from the same cause. If we were to approach the issue of gun violence as a public health matter, as in some ways it is, then it is clear that stricter gun control laws do indeed save lives.

    Finally, the failed long gun registry: it was a well-intended public policy which I supported in principle, but it was its incompetent implementation by the Chretien-Martin Liberal government that led to its demise. Had it been much less costly to administer, and less onerous in its application to legitimate rifle and shotgun owners, its opponents might have been limited to the loony fringe instead of mainstream voters from coast to coast to coast, and it might have been able to survive.

    • June 9th, 2014

      Jerry: Thanks for this clarification. I was aware that some genuine assault rifles fire a variety of a .22. I should have referenced the .22 long rifle cartridge to be clear, but I hate to get too technical on a matter that is really beside the point of whether registration and regulation of firearms or firearms too big to hide in your pocket is sound public policy, and exactly the sort of rabbit hole the gun lobby wants us to disappear into. On the long gun registry, I agree and disagree. The costs and incompetence of its creation were legitimately a scandal, and the LIberals deserved to be punished for it. But to destroy the registry when those costs had already been sunk and it was up and operating was nothing more than an act of vandalism by a government willing to promote any idiocy to exploit a wedge in the electorate. It makes the Tories complicit in the waste of money they rightly complained about. The Liberals are a disgrace; the Tories are something much worse.

    • Canadian

      October 3rd, 2014

      You talk of “gun deaths” rather than total deaths by all means……. as if being killed by something other than a gun is somehow more ethical.

      Also consider total violent crime.

      Pro gun control stats only hold up so long as they focus on “gun” violence and”gun” death…..whist ignoring utterly total violence and total death.

  2. June 9th, 2014

    CLARIFICATION: I have made two minor corrections to this post. (1) I have clarified the 30-per-cent statistic to make it clear it refers to guns per capita as a measure of gun ownership. Obviously, since many gun owners own multiple firearms, gun owners as a percentage of population will be much lower. This is a statistic often used by opponents of gun regulations to imply ownership is larger than it really is, and I plead guilty to falling unintentionally into their typical usage. (2) I have corrected the typographical error “multiple gown ownership” to read “multiple gun ownership,” which is what I intended to say. Let the record show that as far as I am concerned, Canadians should feel empowered to own as many gowns as they like, and there is no need for gowns, long or short, to be regulated or registered by any level of government. Indeed, to do so would be an infringement on the fundamental right of all Canadians to bare legs.

    • ConBGone

      June 10th, 2014

      You should delete the “per cent” and “capita” altogether in “(about 30 per cent guns per capita)” and add “per 100 people” — that figure in the Wikipedia article refers to the estimated number of firearms per 100 people, and, yes, it’s not a percentage at all, but a per capita measure.

      (and it’s in the middle of a range, depending on the surveys or methods used to estimate them; It’s drawn from the Small Arms Survey:

      By the way, the actual number of registered guns in Canada at the time that refers to (2005) was 7,103,739:

      and our population in Q4 2005 was 32,352,233, hence:

      only 22 guns per 100 people were registered (which is even lower than the Small Arms Survey’s lower range estimate of 24.5 — or about 800,000 too few guns in absolute terms which our law-abiding refuseniks may have been hiding from the law.)

  3. Filostrato

    June 9th, 2014

    Fear not, LAGOs. Scott Reid, the local MP for this benighted section of eastern Ontario (though not mine, I hasten to add, since he represents absolutely nothing I care about), is trying to start an investigation into the completely irresponsible (sarcasm) efforts of the RCMP in High River to locate and secure the unsecured firearms in abandoned houses during the disastrous flooding there last year. Looks like he’s decided to pursue this since there’s absolutely nothing (more sarcasm) that requires his attention in this neck of the woods. Unless it’s his concern about expenditure on poinsettias by the NCC at Christmas. (I really, really wish I were kidding….).

    Scott Reid and High River guns

    Since the number of guns in Canada works out at about 3 for every 10 people – but who really knows with a scrapped gun registry and national statistics in disarray – and most LAGOs have more than one firearm – quite often considerably more than one – most of the country is being held hostage by a very small minority of heavily armed people. Very comforting, but hell, if it gets you the votes…

    Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher have recently called the armed-to-the-teeth gun nuts in the U.S. “ammosexuals”. If there are some things that are still illegal to carry around in full view in public, I guess the guns will have act as a substitute.

    • Sam Gunsch

      June 9th, 2014

      re: “Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher have recently called the armed-to-the-teeth gun nuts in the U.S. “ammosexuals”.”

      Thanks for sharing this.
      I had to Google it and found this below.

      Definitely stuff worth sharing and a laugh.

      “The thing about “gun culture,” Real Time host Bill Maher said on Friday, is that there’s not much actual culture — it’s really about the guns, and their owners’ unhealthy attachment to them.

      “You guys aren’t just firearm enthusiasts,” Maher said. “You’re ammosexuals. And before you try and deny that you have some sort of unnatural romantic relationship with your gun, consider this: You’re taking it out to dinner. Because it completes you. Get a room.”

      Maher advised gun ownership advocates to remember that having firearms didn’t give them a license to scare the rest of the population.

      “Chill out, Josey Wales,” Maher said. “This isn’t the Wild West anymore. Clint Eastwood is directing Jersey Boys now.”

  4. Tom in Ontario

    June 9th, 2014

    The sickening fools at the National Rifle Association spout the same mantra time after time. “The way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” For some reason they kept their pieholes shut after the Moncton massacre. The good guy Mounties along with a good woman all had guns. Three of them are gone and the other two will suffer lifelong trauma. And we won’t even talk about Mayerthorpe.

    Why are politicians so afraid of these NRA-NFA lunatics or as Filostrato points out, “ammosexuals.?”

  5. ConBGone

    June 9th, 2014

    The gun lobby likes to think there are millions more guns & millions more of them squirrelling away their guns in secret based on some long-expired & incomplete import-export records & some ancient surveys, but there are two more non-contentious sources of data on how prevalent gun owners are in Canada:

    First, the actual number of Law-Abiding gun owners, as indicated by their actually following the applicable law of actually getting a licence to own them, is:

    1,960,380, as of Dec. 2013

    That represents just 5.6% of the entire estimated Canadian population (35,295,770) as of Dec. 2013, and

    or about 7.3% of the adult,(age 18+ population (which stood at about 27,006,840 as of July 2013) (if the 15-19 is reduced by 1/5th) who are eligible for a PAL.

    The latest data available on the percentage of *households* reporting they have at least one firearm among their householders is:

    15.5% (with just 2.9% reporting owning handguns).

    That was done in 2004/5 by the International Crime Victims Survey, which is led by an international academic consortium.

    That’s down by almost half, since the first sweep of that survey in 1989, when it was 31.0% of Canadian households reporting owning firearms (and 5.2% reporting handguns). It was 26.0 / 3.9% in the 1992-92 cycle; then 20.8/ 2.3% in 1995-98; and 17.0 / 1.8% in 1999-2003 sweep.

    That comes from Table 18 of :

    Van Dijk, Jan, Van Kesteren, John, Smit, Paul, Tilburg University, UNICRI, UNODC, (2007) ‘Criminal Victimisation in International Perspective: Key Findings from the 2004-2005 ICVS and EU ICS. The Hague, Ministry of Justice, WODC.

    Available at
    Full text in PDF:

  6. Canada Joe

    June 9th, 2014

    So if you think there are so few owners, than what are the brave, fearless lefty parties scared of?

    Why isn’t Muclair, he is the big man on campus don’t you know, calling for a total ban?

    Isn’t that what you want? What are your “leaders” waiting for?

    Unless he is a coward, which being an NDPer would make prefect sense.

  7. Canada Joe

    June 9th, 2014

    Oh and speaking of mental health issues: Svend Robinson. Enough said about the left, your all the same……but please try not to fall off a cliff, your such a histrionic crank.

    • Northern Loon

      June 10th, 2014

      Canada Joe – Really??? ‘Lefties’, ‘Leaders’ and a completely gratuitous and opaque reference to Svend Robinson (who retired from politics a decade ago after a well publicized mental health episode that did not involve firearms, but who was best known as a well spoken advocate for his constituents for 25 years) is your defence to David’s well written blog about the inane and vacuous comments by the ammosexual (I love this word!) spokespeople for the Canadian gun enthusiasts who still seem to see some form of conspiracy to round up all of their precious firearms and then…???

      If you’re going to present an argument, at least try to present an argument that makes you look like you belong on the page. I entirely disagree with some of the posts that follow, but at least they present arguments that are relatively logically laid out.

  8. Ericka

    June 9th, 2014

    I write this in addition to a comment posted on the ‘rabble’ page where I originally read this article. It said,

    How did you completely miss the part about this mans parents watching him descend into madness, even report him to the police themselves and be told there is nothing that can be done as he hasn’t hurt anybody? (…) Are you so blinded by hate for people that want to own tools (which is excatly what a firearm is) that you will write all this without actually addressing the issues of this debate?
    “Canada’s “excessive” gun-control efforts, they argued, “do not in any way increase public safety, but merely contribute to an expensive and unnecessary regime which harms only those of lawful intent.” Like the presumed Moncton shooter, one could speculate, up until 24 hours or so before June 5.”
    Tell that to the mans parents who TRIED to get him help in a system hopelessly lacking in support for the mentally ill.
    “It is particularly troubling that such a significant percentage of the gun enthusiasts who comment publicly on the issue appear to believe that public support and agitation for registration rules similar to those required of automobile drivers constitute the first step in a massive conspiracy by the state to seize their beloved weapons.”
    At what time when your vehicle registration expires without renewal are you commiting a felony with a mandatory minimum senatce of 3 years in prison? These are not even similar, let alone of the same consequence.
    “We all know from a cool-headed reading of history that violence has always attracted some people who are mentally ill, and that weapons of all sorts quite naturally exert a powerful attraction upon people who want to commit violence.”
    This I can completely agree with. Whether a gun, a knife, a vehicle, a club or any other instrument, regulation of every type of weapon capabale of killing a human being is ludicrous, someone who wants to commit violence will always find a way.
    “But surely it is fair to wonder, since these rifles are essentially the same as other small-calibre “varmint rifles” and are supposedly merely purchased for “sport” or rodent control, why a traditional .22 wouldn’t satisfy these gun owners. I think we all intuitively understand the real reason.”
    Unless you are about to state that these types of fireamrs are of incredible precision and capable of firing a .223″ (5.56mm) round accurately as far as 600+ meters and are therefore one of the most enjoyable fireamrs to spend time with, you’re going to be wrong. The .22 (not .223) is something else entirely, a childs toy compared to an actual high powered rifle.
    “And in the United States, despite the often successful efforts of the NRA to prevent accurate records from being kept by law enforcement agencies, the Centre for Disease Control has captured death-certificate data from throughout the United States, Forbes Magazine reports. “When so-called ‘self-inflicted’ death by gunshot is taken into account, the liberal thesis is supported almost perfectly: more guns, more gun deaths; less guns, less gun deaths. It’s as simple as that.””
    Of course the liberal thesis lines up- they have access to guns. Show something even remotely considered evidence that shows that without access to guns, suicidal people don’t kill themselves with something else and you’d actually have something there. But you don’t. Because it’s a fallacy. Like most of this “article”.
    Stop disguising a mental health issue as a gun control issue.

    Then I said:
    I see that G031 beat me to it in addressing some of the many ludicrous statements in this article, but I do have something to add.

    I frequent the NFA group page and have never once seen anyone advocate for violence against the police, or anyone else for that matter. Either you’re looking at the wrong group or you’re simply making things up in an attempt to improve on this drivel and make a name for yourself as a “journalist”, the title itself in your case being questionable.

    Most of the people who post there hold respectable jobs and are known in their community. Not an inkling of mental instability to be found. Personally, I’m the Safety Manager for a general contractor and I’m as sane as the mother of a rambunctious toddler could possibly be. For you to insinuate that firearm ownership is connected to mental instability is offensive to a few million people here in Canada that own firearms and don’t go on murderous rampages.

    Also, the RCMP would not confirm if the shooter had his PAL and owned firearms legally. The local gun shop also said that they had never sold him a firearm or ammunition, so you may want to correct upon your speculation.

    You slam the NFA for ‘promoting their agenda’ but that’s exactly what this ‘article’ is doing for yours, is it not? You hate guns so you’re fear-mongering to further your own aims. Many people do, but they don’t usually have a small news outlet to grandstand on.

    • jerrymacgp

      June 11th, 2014

      The United States is virtually the only nation on Earth that constitutionally protects gun ownership from legislative and regulatory restrictions, and the result is an epidemic of gun deaths. In a study published last year in The American Journal of Medicine, authors S Bangalore and F Messerli of New York University and Columbia University (respectively) showed a strong epidemiological link between population levels of gun ownership and rates of deaths from gun violence, with a correlation of r = 0.80, p < 0.0001 (i.e. statistical significance out to 99.99%). In the same study, while mental illness was also a factor in rates of gun violence deaths, the correlation was much weaker, with a p-value of only 0.05 (95% significance).

      Rates of civilian gun ownership in the United States were the highest amongst the 27 countries included in the study, at 88.8 firearms per 100 people, a number which is almost double that of the next highest countries (Switzerland at 45.7/100, and Finland at 45.3/100); the comparable figure for Canada was 30.8/100, still among the higher range in the sample. As for other English-speaking countries, New Zealand is at 22.6, Australia 15.0, South Africa 12.7, Ireland 8.6, and the UK 6.2. Israel, which is still in a virtually constant state of war, is at 7.3.

      Firearm-related deaths in the US were at 10.2 per 100,000 population, but only 3.84 in Switzerland, 3.64 in Finland, 2.44 in Canada, and 0.25 in the UK. Again, even in Israel, the rate was only 1.86/100,000 pop’n.

      This rate of correlation is extremely powerful if we consider firearm-related deaths as a public-health issue. It is quite clear that just as smoking is the number one risk factor for heart disease, high rates of gun ownership are a risk factor for gun deaths. That does not mean that stricter gun laws totally eliminate gun violence; after all, even non-smokers have heart attacks. But it is virtually indisputable, from a public health perspective, that stricter gun laws do reduce rates of gun violence, and overall save lives at a population level.

      Bangalore, S. & Messerli, F. (2013). Gun ownership and firearm-related deaths. The American Journal of Medicine, 126(10), 873-876.

  9. JGinter

    June 9th, 2014

    To try and balance the commentary here a little, I felt compelled to add this comment.

    I’m not going to quote stats, or “data” as it can be verified or dis-proven in the online world by the multitude of keyboard detectives out there – rather I’d like to suggest a few concepts that might not have a direct correlation to many who read this blog, or many who see firearms (and the firearm community) as being purely evil…

    First off – High River.
    This IS NOT simply a firearm related issue.
    This is a constitutional issue – or at least it SHOULD be considered such. The RCMP did not simply kick in doors & confiscate John Doe Canadian’s rifle while it sat out in the open as many would like to believe. This was & IS a case of law enforcement breaking into homes & actively searching for firearms; ie: private property.

    They went through bedroom closets, drawers, cabinets….basically ransacked the homes they claimed to be ‘searching for people left behind in’. Yet for most of this, they knew full well there were no people & the town was emptied, aside from some 300 or so people who ignored the evacuation.

    This in itself should be bothersome to EVERY Canadian as it relates directly to private property being taken without reason or just cause. I recall the first time I ever heard of this following the floods – my first thought was “oh good, if anyone looted – they wouldn’t find guns to steal”

    The more I learned of the story, the more I realized how VERY wrong my reaction was…

    The town was emptied, many of the homes searched were not even affected by the flood waters….bone dry actually – yet still they went in, and they took guns away.

    Even to the extent of local RCMP officers being given a month of leave while out of town officers conducted the raids, err…I mean “Searches” on homes. There were also reports from local towns’ people that some of the RCMP members home’s were left untouched while neighbors on both sides had their doors kicked in and their legally owned property seized & taken away.

    So please – when you speak of the NFA’s action’s & some MP’s action’s towards finding out what happened – understand that this should be of importance to ALL Canadians as they (RCMP) had no reason of justification to illegally search & seize private homes & property of the displaced Canadian citizens in the manner which they did.

    Hopefully the truth comes out one day – time will tell.

    As to the other points on gun control / mental health, etc.

    It doesn’t take statistics to realize that in today’s world – people just sometimes snap.
    Sometimes a good person goes the other way & does bad things. It is NOT something which can be prevented 100% – no matter what you ban/regulate/impose new laws upon….if someone is intent on committing wrong doings – they WILL. No Matter the tool of their choice. Face that fact & spare the statistics because BOTH sides of the debate has data to back up their argument.

    The point is this regarding the NFA’s public statement.

    It is the truth.
    Plus, It was also in response to leftist media & anti-gun groups turning the tragedy into a political agenda far before the NFA posted anything on the matter.

    Our Canadian firearm laws do very little to NOTHING to prevent criminal firearm possession.
    Bad guys still buy their guns illegally & still do bad things – but the result is that lawful minded citizens are the ones who pay the heftiest price for laws that don’t work to enhance public safety.

    As an example, did you know that if your PAL (Possession & Acquisition License) expires – you can liable for up to 3 years in prison? Even when a lot of instances of renewals are caused by delay of the Chief Firearm Officer’s own office…still criminalizes otherwise law abiding Canadians for an administrative (victim-less) crime.

    It’s not a case where because I own firearms, I immediately want the gun laws to be erased & have NO REGULATIONS … I think our system does better then most other countries & a lot of firearm owners would agree to that statement (contrary to the author’s belief that firearm ownership = mental instability; I would heartily disagree with you, but I’ll respect your right to your own opinion even if it is rude & untrue) – our laws DO NEED to change to bring about ACTUAL public safety – not just the window dressing falsehood of what they currently are. They do little to prevent tragedy. They do even less to keep guns out of criminal’s hands.

    There will always be disagreement on this topic of firearms & gun control.
    I’m not even sure if this blog is moderated, or if this (far too lengthy) post will be allowed up; but consider this a small insight to someone who IS mentally stable – and also is a firearm owner…

    Now…I can’t speak for every other person who owns a firearm in our country, but I can say many out there would reflect this attitude I’ve written here. Maybe you’d be surprised to know – we’re a good group. We love being Canadian, we love the history of our culture (which by the way was heavily vested in firearms as our country was in it’s infancy…just remember that please), we also respect those who are willing to return that respect on us.

    We are a respectful group & I only hope some of you – your readers – can understand that one day.

    • ConBGone

      June 10th, 2014

      No, the NFA decided to jump in with both feet all on their own. There’s really only one main gun control group in Canada and they STILL haven’t commented on the Moncton shootings.

  10. ConBGone

    June 9th, 2014

    For an update on suicides by firearm, the latest available year of comparable data for both the USA and Canada in 2010, when there were:

    19,392 deaths by intentional self-harm by discharge of firearms in the USA, in total; for a mortality rate of 6.3 per 100,000 for both sexes combined, but it was far higher for Males (11.2 /100k) than for Females (1.5).

    (source: National Vital Statistics Reports, Deaths: Final Data for 2010

    In Canada, there was 587 firearms suicides in total in 2010, for a rate of 1.7 /100k for both sexes combined: 3.3 Male, 0.1 Female)

    (source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 102-0552; I pulled it and did a screen shot at

    For a Table comparing the TOTAL deaths by firearms discharge from all medically classified types of intent (including legal intervention), see my:

  11. Mel Nibonean

    June 9th, 2014

    If the suspect in the Moncton murders had a valid PAL, then the system failed.
    If the suspect in the Moncton murders didn’t have a valid PAL, then the system failed.

    Minority of the population who are firearm owners or not is irrelevant. There is also a minority of the population who are fencers, yet no one called for more restraints on them after the Calgary murders (which were committed with a knife).

    I will not allow myself to be lumped into the same category as criminals and gang members anymore than I held every devout Muslim responsible – morally, sympathetically, associatively, or otherwise – for the mass murders on 9/11.

    If the tone of hobbyists is getting more and more militant, it’s precisely because we are asked to justify ourselves for crimes we never committed, against people we never harmed. Collective responsibility is a fascist concept – not a democratic one.

    I personally don’t need to understand why someone does something, or why someone believes their particular activity bring them joy – as long as that person isn’t hurting anyone or themselves. If so, then more power to them.

    And before someone says it: rational people don’t outlaw items nor make criminals out of things and people for their potential to kill/harm. Otherwise, every beer would be illegal because it could cause a DUI resulting in serious injury or death

  12. D Edmonton

    June 10th, 2014

    We just remembered a war that was fought for the rights of the few… By a power of people that took all firearms from their people and only gave them to the people that pledged to uphold what was wrong. That is why to this day every Jew I have yet to meet that lived through WWII and was marked by the Nazis owns a rifle… Weather they use it or not is besides the fact… Even though most still do hunt well the ones that still can see to hunt do.

    I myself shoot paper and food at no point do I think the average citizen should turn a firearm on another human BUT they should have the laws that allow them to petect themselves if truly they need to.

    This supersedes firearms, if someone was to break into my home and I hit him with a hockey stick or a broom handle that is still an offensive weapons charge and this is where Canada’s laws are wrong. People cleared by the RCMP to own firearms have checks done all the time yet someone gets a gun that is illegal and they get hit with the laws.

    • ConBGone

      June 10th, 2014

      That’s simply not true, that the Nazis took everyone’s guns away except for its soldiers. They did seize weapons (including knives) from Jewish people, but they actually liberalized the gun laws for the rest of the populace. See, e.g., ‘On Gun Registration, the NRA, Adolf Hitler, and Nazi Gun Laws: Exploding the Gun Culture Wars,’ by Bernard E. Harcourt, University of Chicago; Columbia Law School, June 2004, U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 67, online at:

  13. ConBGone

    June 10th, 2014

    By the way, even in the ‘good old days’ — about 40 years ago — before there was much gun control apart from on handguns, and when a much greater percentage of us lived in rural areas, there were only 2.5 million gun owners in Canada in total, according to a 1976 Statistics Canada survey:

    an excerpt from one of the two reports on that survey with the number of gun owners per age group per region is here:

    Even then, that represented just 14.6% of the total age 15+ population of Canada at the time, though it was higher in the Prairie (22%) and Atlantic (20%) provinces; see:

    Some explanatory notes (including on the total number of guns estimated at 5.3 million held by individuals at the time) & the name of the Bulletin this appears in are at:


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