Prejudice is defined as “an unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially when formed without enough thought or knowledge.” (Cambridge Dictionary) I experience prejudice as both a gay man and gun owner. You may be familiar with the crude caricature of a gay man: that of a limp-wristed, effeminate man who speaks with a lisp and has an incessant compulsion for sex. You may also be acquainted with the cartoonish stereotype of gun owners as lower class white men who are uncouth and certain to tell you the only way you will take his gun from him is “from my cold, dead hands.” Certainly, these are the extreme ends of these particular prejudices. There are occasions in my life when people directed anti-gay slurs at me and to a lesser extent snide remarks about my supposed lack of virility and questionable mental health for being a gun owner. Still, the prejudice I face as a gay man and gun owner that really concerns me is far more indistinct than loutish people who call me “queer” or “gun nut” because they just do not know any better. Continue reading →
Jason and Fran, husband and wife, on their way to their deer stands, November 2015.
Sgt. Tatyana Danylyshyn of the Canadian Scottish Regiment and champion marksman.
I have a lifelong passion for hunting and shooting. From my early childhood I remember my father and my uncle John going hunting in the Fall seasons. My dad really enjoyed hunting cottontail rabbits and European hares, commonly called Jack rabbits, outside Kingston in the mid-1960s. I yearned for the day when I would be old enough to join them. As I grew older and entered my formative years, I remember poring over the hunting magazines, such as Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, Field and Stream, my father amassed over the years. I combed these magazines for articles on upland bird hunting and waterfowling, mostly. I was eager to learn all I could about these pastimes so I could apply this knowledge when I came of age. I got my first hunting license at 15 and never looked back. When I entered my 20s I took up collecting books on guns, hunting, gun dog training and wildlife conservation. Currently, I have a growing collection of books that detail the North American hunting and shooting culture of the 19th and 20th centuries that guided me in my development as a hunter. I take great pride in my heritage as a gun owner and hunter. I keep these books, hoping they will help preserve a record of my gun and hunting heritage for posterity. In fact, I often point to this heritage in standing up for the rights of gun owners and hunters when gun ownership and hunting come under attack from critics who denounce these activities as archaic, old fashioned and out of step with the times.
The term assault weapon comes up frequently in media reports on guns in society. The term has its origins in the 1980s and is credited to Josh Sugarmann executive director and founder of the Violence Policy Center (VPC) and noted prohibitionist. Prior to founding the Violence Policy Center in 1988, Sugarmann served as communications director for the National Coalition to Ban Handguns (renamed the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) in 1989). The term assault weapon entered common parlance after Sugarmann authored a publication entitled Assault Weapons and Accessories in America in 1988. Sugarmann and the Violence Policy Center are among those advocates of prohibition who frame the argument that prohibition is a matter of public health and safety, that this trumps the individual right to own and use guns. In their effort to advance this agenda, prohibitionists resort to the underhanded tactic of framing the debate in a manner that confuses the issue, causing people to quarrel over what is they view as good guns vs bad guns. Continue reading →
A shooting at a sawmill in Nanaimo, British Columbia on April 30, 2014, has left two men dead and two in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds. The gunman, a 47-year-old former employee, is in custody. The murder weapon is a shotgun. I will not be surprised if prohibitionists use this tragedy to step up their complaints that it is the “availability of guns,” that it is too easy to get a gun, as to what is to blame for such incidents. “Availability” or “access to guns” is commonly held as a problem in the ranks of prohibitionists who tirelessly assert this claim. Researchers have tried to test this theory that there is a causal link between the availability of guns and deaths and injuries by gun. The difficulty for researchers studying this theory is in generating data that can be tested using scientific research methods. However, their inability to find a causal link between the availability of guns and deaths and injuries by gun has not stopped prohibitionists from advancing their belief that such a relationship exists. Continue reading →
How often am I confronted with the assertion that “a gun is for killing?” Invariably this assertion is used by prohibitionists in debates and discussions over gun ownership. It is intended to end the debate or discussion in putting those who argue in favour of gun ownership on the defensive. The expectation is you will have to reply with “yeah, but…” This expectation is nonsensical, of course; it is a common fallacy, the argument from ignorance. Those who put forth the assertion “a gun is for killing” insist it must be true as it has yet to be proven false. Is this assertion true? Are guns for killing? If this question demands a yes or no answer, then the answer is no, guns are not for killing. In short, a gun is a device that fires a single projectile or with a shotgun, many smaller sub-projectiles, or one large projectile. However, the answer to that question is not that simple; it requires a more nuanced response. Continue reading →
Humans have survived and become the dominant species on Earth as they are living, intelligent beings who apply their ingenuity in making and using tools. From the Stone Age on, humans fashioned an array of tools, of which blades were and are a primary implement. In the Stone Age, there were individuals who mastered the craft of knapping flint to form knives, spears and arrowheads for hunting and butchering game. In time, humans mastered metallurgy, fashioning knives, swords, spears and arrowheads first from bronze and finally iron. In ancient Mesoamerica, Mayans, Aztecs, Incas, fashioned blades from obsidian. In the present day, knives are mostly made from a blend of carbon steel and stainless steel. Knives are a common household item found in the kitchens in every home. Together with their use as common household items, knives are still used for hunting and warfare. With a sharp edge and pointed tip, the knife has to be handled with care. It can inflict a nasty wound if handled carelessly or with malice. Continue reading →