Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crazy About Guns

The Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed piece about the gun mania that exists in America. They made an interesting observation that in America the response to high-profile shootings like the one in Seattle the other day is to get your gun and keep it handy. In Canada it's just not so. Although I usually shun comparisons between countries and even more avoid comparing guns with cars, these examples seem appropriate.

Had Sunday's victims been, say, Mounties, it wouldn't necessarily have sent Canadians scrambling for the gun racks. But then, such killings are far less common in Canada. According to the FBI, the U.S. homicide rate in 2008 was 5.4 for every 100,000 people; 67% of those killings were committed with guns. In Canada, the homicide rate was 1.8 per 100,000, with 33% of the killings committed with guns. Notice a pattern? Canada has stricter guns laws than the United States, requiring owners to pass a safety course and get a license before buying a gun, rather like drivers must do here. The need for a driver's license seems obvious to most Americans -- after all, a car with an untrained driver behind the wheel can be deadly.

What's your opinion? Isn't it hard to dispute that the gun laws in Canada contribute to their statistics? And what about that simple example of the acceptance of licenses to drive cars based on the fact that "an untrained driver behind the wheel can be deadly?"

Please leave a comment.


  1. Since you brought the car analogy to the table this time.....

    I suppose then that if a licensed driver has his car stolen, then he is partially responsible when the thief uses the car to commit a crime? He obviously didn't take the appropriate steps to secure his car after all.

    Since 10% of all licensed drivers are going to commit crimes with their cars thought they have never shown any desire to commit a car crime before, then they should not have cars. Which ones are the famous 10%? How do you identify them ahead of time and remove their cars?

    And as we all know, cars are bad news for women. [Insert woman driver joke here.]

  2. When a gunowner advocate uses an automobile analogy, gun control advocates will usually cry "apples and oranges." But gun control advocates love to use a "license gunowners and register guns like drivers and cars" argument.

    Two comments about that:

    How many politicians, lobbying groups, and editorials call for widespread car bans? Now, how about guns?


    If you were to ask American drivers what they think of driver licensing and auto registration, they would probably say that it's a minor bother but worth it. So if you ask Canadian gunowers about guns, you should get the same answer, right?

    WRONG. Most Canadian gunowers tell American gunowers: "Don't let happen to you what happened to us! The politicians keep making it harder and harder to comply with the law -- and it's MUCH harder than with autos. And the gun control activists and their politician friends keep trying to ban and confiscate various types of guns that we registered. In addition, registration is costing taxpayers huge amounts of money without resultant decreases in gun misuse (as compared to before) to show for it."

  3. FishyJay says, "Most Canadian gunowers tell American gunowers:"

    You may be right about what GUNOWNERS would say to each other. But, what about the rest of the population, you know the ones in Canada who don't have to worry about guns talking to their American counterparts who do? What do you think they say?

  4. FWM, Thanks for that enjoyable comment.

    About the part of getting your car stolen which is then used in a crime. I remember a story where the guy double parked, left the car running and went into a store. The bad guy comes along steals the car and run somebody over or something. The car owner was found liable.

    The same should apply to guns that are too easily stolen, in my opinion.

  5. I would say that the average gun owner's gun safety training proportionally exceeds the safety training of each driver, considering the difficulty of each task. This is demonstrated by relative accident rates. The training may not be formal, but then it isn't always for cars, either--lots of people get licenses after being trained informally.

    How is safety training going to reduce murders?

    I believe that Canada's non-gun violence rate is considerably lower than the US as well. We're the ones that threw off our Imperial Overlords through revolution, while Canada took the diplomatic route.

  6. FishyJay says, "Most Canadian gunowers tell American gunowers:"

    Mikeb says: "You may be right about what GUNOWNERS would say to each other."

    Yet gun control advocates have often claimed that it is AMERICAN gunowners who, unlike gunowners in other countries, are unreasonable, organizing and fighting so many gun control proposals. Is this an admission that ALL gunowers are unreasonable?

    Specifically, are Canadian gunowners unreasonable for complaining when politicians keep making it harder and harder to comply with the law and keep trying to ban and confiscate various types of guns that were registered?