Category Archives: Right to Keep and Bear Arms

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. ― H.L. Mencken

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Geoffrey out duck hunting.

The words “gun lobby” and “gun nut” are slurs invented by prohibitionists–people opposed to gun ownership and hunting–to besmirch the character of gun owners and hunters. I heard the term “gun nut” used on American television sitcoms like “All in the Family” as early as the 1970s. I shrugged it off at the time as inconsequential. I had no reason to believe as a boy that there was anything wrong with gun ownership and hunting. I remember how other children brought things like duck wings for show and tell in kindergarten and primary school. Wings taken from the wild ducks that their older brothers and fathers shot while out hunting. Other children proudly told the class about their fathers, who had returned from successful big game hunts. My dad and my uncle enjoyed hunting cottontail and jackrabbits when I was a boy. It was not until late in 1989, following the mass shooting at the engineering school at the University of Montreal that I first heard mention of the “gun lobby” used as a pejorative term in public parlance. It came as an unwelcome surprise. Continue reading

Sentence first, verdict afterwards. — Lewis Carroll

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Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, poses with Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and Sadiq Khan, Lord Mayor of London.

“Sentence first, verdict afterwards,” is the unreasonable demand issued by the Queen at the trial in the novel Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. What brings this quotation to mind is the absurdity of the emotional and knee jerk response to the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Her mawkish virtue signalling and condescension towards Muslims is truly cringe-worthy. I can only surmise this is a desperate effort to appease Islamists. It is a despairing ploy on her part to ward off a retaliatory attack on New Zealand by Islamists. If Jacinda Ardern thinks putting on a Muslim veil, encouraging New Zealanders to do the same, broadcasting the Islamic call to prayer over the airwaves, and having an Islamic prayer recited in parliament is going to impress Islamists, she is delusional. New Zealand had better brace itself for retribution from Islamists for the 50 Muslim citizens killed in Christchurch.

If this situation were not bad enough, Jacinda Ardern, moved ahead with a hastily crafted plan to prohibit specific makes and models of semi-automatic guns currently owned by New Zealanders. She justifies this decision in pointing to the dead and wounded in the Christchurch terror attack. This decision is emotionally driven, poorly thought out–there is zero public consultation. Sure, it is very popular with supporters of gun prohibition, both in New Zealand and across the world, but what does she expect to accomplish with this course of action? The people gunned down in the mosques in Christchurch were helpless against the attacker. It took New Zealand police 36 minutes to arrive on the scene. The fact that the attacker used semi-automatic rifles in the attack is incidental. The attacker in the shooting spree at the École Polytechnique at the Université de Montréal in 1989–in which 14 women were murdered–used a semi-automatic rifle. As the Report of the Coroner’s Investigation into the shooting at the École Polytechnique concluded: “with the unlimited ammunition and time that [the shooter–name redacted by the author] had available to him, he would probably have been able to achieve similar results even with a conventional hunting weapon, which itself is readily accessible.” (Report of Coroner’s Investigation)

There has not been an investigation into the attack on the mosques in Christchurch and the background of the perpetrator. Therefore, there is no rational basis on which to proceed with the prohibition of specified makes and models of semi-automatic guns as a response to this atrocity. Just as in Alice in Wonderland, Jacinta Ardern demands “sentence first, verdict afterwards.” Her maudlin virtue signalling and knee jerk jump to implement gun prohibition shows how weak and emotionally driven she is as Prime Minister. It does not inspire confidence. I hope the police and intelligence services in New Zealand are actively preparing for the likelihood of Islamist retaliation. It is sure to come. Beyond that, New Zealand’s gun owners are preparing for a fight with their government over the hasty decision to advance the prohibition of specific makes and models of semi-automatic guns. The dispute between New Zealand’s gun owners and their government only diverts attention from the threat of terrorism and ensures that New Zealanders are as helpless as the men, women and children gunned down in the mosques in Christchurch given the risk of future terror attacks.

I hope New Zealanders pull together and calmly and rationally take stock of their situation and work toward developing practical measures to ensure the peace and security of every individual and community in their society.

Posted by Geoffrey

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible. — Maya Angelou

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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

Is she coming too? — Frances Hammerstrom

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Jason and Fran, husband and wife, on their way to their deer stands, November 2015.

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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.

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In reaching a historic agreement on prohibition of weapons, we made a mighty contribution to delivering a safer and more secure Australian society. — John Howard

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The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. — Josh Sugarmann

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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. Before 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 ban 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

I’m concerned about how accessible guns are. — Stevie Wonder

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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

Nothing we’re going to do is going to fundamentally alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting… ― Joe Biden

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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

I really feel like knife skills – not just in the kitchen, but in life – are really critical. — Timothy Ferriss

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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

No studies have been done to link gun legislation to declining firearms-related deaths, but you can draw your own conclusions. — Heidi Rathjen

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I try to tune out the white noise that is generated by assorted gun prohibitionists as I learned there is nothing to gain in engaging in futile quarrels with them. Certainly, it bothers me when they spout their nonsensical assertions and point their fingers at hunters, sport shooters and collectors, spewing vitriol and denouncing them as the enemies of humankind. I always knew there were people who disapproved of gun ownership and hunting, but thought of it as their problem. If you do not like guns, do not keep them and if you disapprove of hunting, do not go hunting and if you are a landowner, you are free to post your property against hunting. If only it were that simple. In reality, however, Canada’s gun owners find themselves in a very precarious position. Beginning with the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 (S.C. 1968-69, c. 38) in 1969, continuing with amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, Bill C-51 in 1978, Bill C-17 in 1991 and Bill C-68 in 1995, Canada’s gun owners are now saddled with the Canadian Firearms Act. In the span of 26 years, Canada’s gun owners have seen their freedoms to own and use their property for lawful and safe past-times such as hunting and sport shooting, drastically curtailed and the character of the gun owner defamed brazenly by an array of public and non-governmental associations. Continue reading