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Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

The L.A. Times has a rather disapproving article on the latest move by Canada’s conservative Prime Minister.
Stephen Harper has decided to abolish Canada’s gun registry, (subscription required), saying that the money spent maintaining the registry could be better spent arresting criminals.
The author tries to make a case for Canada’s peacefulness compared to the U.S., but employs some very faulty math, which utterly defeats her point.
Here are the relevant figures:

Canada vs. US Gun ownership & Gun Homicide

Canada

USA

ratio

population in 000’s
33,098
298,444
9.02
guns in 000’s
7,100
220,000
30.99
guns/person
0.21
0.74
3.44
firearms deaths
175
9326
53.29
per 1000 people
0.005
0.031
5.91
per 1000 guns
0.025
0.042
1.72(source)
 
So the US has 9 times Canada’s population, and 53 times the number of firearms murders (Canada’s numbers from the Times article, the 2004 US numbers from
the FBI Uniform Crime Reports). We have 31 times the number of guns.
So we have 5.9 times the number of murders/person and 1.7 times the number of guns. These may suggest that there’s something cultural afoot, instead.
And, sure enough, we don’t have to spend any time wondering what the cultural “something” is.

But Canada’s gang-related killings have gone up fourfold in a decade, along with the growth of gangs largely imported from the U.S. that attract what police
and social workers describe as young black males from mostly West Indian immigrant families. And with the gangsta culture come the guns.

“If you want a gun, you can get one in a day, a couple of hours maybe,” said Andrew Bacchus, 30, founder of Toronto’s Vice Lords gang who is now working
with Breaking the Cycle, a gang-exiting program. “The gun registry hasn’t made any difference on that.”

Homicide rates have increased, but shootings have mostly been confined to neighborhoods inhabited by gangs, such as Jamestown in the northeast part of the
city. But the death last year of a 15-year-old girl caught in gang crossfire in a downtown shopping center the day after Christmas — and in the middle
of an election campaign — was a turning point.

Fighting crime became a part of nearly every stump speech, a theme that hit home not just with Conservatives, but with middle-class voters across the spectrum.
Harper promised stricter sentencing, but also a repeal of the gun registry, saying the millions it cost a year to track hunters would be better used for
cracking down on gangs.

In other words, the problem is the same as it always has been: criminals.
Those in favor of draconian gun laws tend to forget that the only ones the gun laws matter to are the ones who follow them, and that doesn’t include the criminal element.
The Times piece inadvertently admits this, when it mentions the “grim twist” the gun registry has taken.
Criminals access the database, find out which gun owners have cashes of weapons, and then go and rob the gun owners.
Yet militant anti-gun activists like Wendy Cukier, a professor of justice studies at Ryerson University and the co-author of the book “The Global Gun Epidemic,” continue to paint gun owners as somehow barbaric and uncivilized.
They would rather force cultural change, creating an environment where they say guns are viewed as dangerous and owners are held accountable.
This actually translates to “guns are dangerous, and their owners would rather endanger us all than give up their foolish, bigoted notions.”
U.S. anti-gun militants are no different, which is what makes this relevant.
The hypocrisy of a stance like this is very evident.
People like Cukier don’t care whether or not their don’t really care if the regulations work, or if they are the best expenditure of the state’s money or legitimacy.
After all, it only means that people in low-income neighborhoods will get shot, and they don’t really matter anyway.
The only thing that matters is that we have a world with no guns, and any means will do.
How’s that for tolerance?
Getting back to Prime Minister Harper, maybe I’m just displaying a little too much admiration from afar, and so missing the bigger picture, but I’d love it if we had leaders like that.
He seems to be taking a strong, common sense stance on gun control.


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