News Views: Vigilant gun control

Editorial by the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News on gun control in Canada

The sad reality of the shooting rampage at the Colorado movie theatre last week is that the same guns used by the accused are just as readily available to anyone in Canada.

James Eagan Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. More could have been injured had the military-style semi-automatic rifle he was using not jammed. He then switched to the 12-gauge shotgun and a pistol he was also carrying to fire on theatregoers.

He had bought them recently at gun stores, as well as 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the internet.

He passed the background checks in the U.S. for acquiring a gun.

Anyone who passes the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course and acquires a possession and acquisition licence could walk into Wanstalls in Maple Ridge and purchase firearms like those used in the massacre in Aurora, Col.

Now, as following other mass shootings in the U.S. in recent years, there are again calls to make gun laws more strict, calls for leadership and courage, to not fear gun lobbyists, to do what is best, what is most safe, what is right.

But crime rates in Canada, including those for violent crimes, continue to fall.

Local RCMP are encountering more illegal weapons compared to a decade ago, although most of those are smuggled into Canada.

So, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Mass murderers, like serial killers or rapists, are driven by something disturbing and would only adapt to more restrictions, choose another weapon, so to speak, as James Holmes showed with his homemade bombs.

Again, he passed the background checks in the U.S. for acquiring a gun. How do you prevent that?

When it comes to firearms in the hands of the mentally unstable, RCMP find that not often have they lawfully obtained them.

Still, the U.S. is a prime example of how lax gun laws and the resulting prevalence of rifles and handguns causes thousands of deaths yearly. There’s room for further ratcheting down controls on guns by keeping the most militaristic weapons off the market. There could be a strong argument to limit rifles to those used for hunting only. Is a semi-automatic required to kill deer and moose?

Canada has to be vigilant that as guns swamp the border, its strong firearm control isn’t eroded, as U.S. gun companies look for new markets.

Gun restrictions may not reduce crime, but guns kill.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News