By Jason Menard
Tell me again how guns don’t kill people; people kill people.
Go ahead. Trot out that line again. Honestly, it would be absolutely hilarious, except for the fact that statement represents the first line defence after acts that produce nothing but tears.
Actually, don’t bother telling me. Why not tell the mother of Shyanne Charles? You know, the 14-year-old girl who, along with 23-year-old Joshua Yasay, who was gun downed Monday night at a block party in Toronto.
Or how about telling it to the two murdered in cold blood at the Eaton Centre in early June. Or maybe the 13-year-old boy forced to wear a helmet after being shot in the head in the same incident.
And let’s not leave our American friends out of the loop. Who wants to be first to insist that the right to bear arms must be preserved to the families of the 12 killed last night in Denver watching a god-damn summer blockbuster!
In the aftermath of the latest shootings in Toronto, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has said he’s talked to Toronto Mayor Rob ford and police chief Bill Blair about calling a meeting to discuss what needs to be done. But the time for talk is over. The time to act, once and for all, is now.
It’s time to ban guns. All guns. Period. End of story. No ifs ands or buts. And the reason is simple.
Guns have no purpose in this world other than to kill.
There are a lot of decent, responsible people who have legally obtained guns, take care of them, and diligently avoid shooting other people. I’m sorry they have to give up their toys, but it’s time.
Implement some sort of buy-back/amnesty program for a year, ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to legally return (and be compensated) for their firearms. Maybe even give collectors the opportunity to permanently render their firearms unusable so that they can continue to display their prized possessions.
Working handguns, semi-automatics, and long guns should be exclusively the domain of registered authorities. Period.
I’m sorry hunters, you’ll have to make do with some other way to capture your prey. And, sure, this will put a crimp in the sport shooting market, but there must be some, non-lethal alternative to rifles and bullets out there – or one could be developed.
And, yes, the bad guys will still have guns. I’m not so naïve to the fact that the guns that are out on the street won’t be amnestied. But part two of the program would be to implement strict penalties on those found to be in possession of illegal weapons. Immediate five to 10 year sentences for possession; life for a crime committed using a weapon. The deterrent must be strong, because as it stands, criminals are not afraid of the consequences of their actions.
Sure, there are many items that people use to assault, threaten, or rob others with: knives and bats come to mind. But those items have other uses in society. Hell, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride is great for clearing up the sinuses; but in the wrong hands it becomes meth.
Bad people will do bad things with everyday items. We can’t stop that. However, unlike those items, guns have absolutely no other purpose for being, other than to kill.
Eliminating all guns from Canada won’t magically stop crime. No one is suggesting that. And, yes, most people use guns responsibly whether for sport, collection, and even protection. There’s no denying that.
But what would we lose in a country without guns? By eliminating a tool of which its only purpose is to kill, do we make ourselves poorer for the experience? Is a world with guns truly better than a world without?
I know where I stand on this. It’s not a panacea; it’s not the solution to all our country’s ills. Removing guns from the equation does not address the root causes of crime and violence. But it does remove one option, without diminishing any other aspect of our lives.
If you eliminate knives, because people kill with them, you severely diminish our quality of life; if you take away hammers because people have killed with them, it makes it hard to build a house. You can go down the list of things people kill with and find other uses that make our lives better.
That argument can’t be made for a gun. They exist only to kill – and I, for one, could happily live in a world without them.