I have no particular objection to responsible long gun ownership. Hunting isn't my thing but I know that some hunters do important work in wildlife conservation, and I consider killing your own food to be far more responsible than getting somebody else to do your dirty work for you.
Advocates of less restrictive gun control laws in
It's no business of mine what Americans choose to do with regards to their gun laws (and it is no business of yours, my American readers, what Canadians choose to do, either) but I wish that Canadian advocates of less restrictive gun ownership could give me a straight answer on a basic question that I've been asking for about twenty years now.
According to the
So it goes, year after year, and in city after city, and my question is this: why? I've heard obfuscations ("but the rate of other crimes in
Part of their problem is that they continually overstate the extent of the threat posed to ordinary Canadians by violence. The belief that society is trembling on the brink of a precipice is common to every era — in part because sooner or later every generation gets around to hating the young — but the statistical fact of the matter is that Canadians today are about a third less likely to be murdered than thirty years ago, and they weren't very likely to be murdered even then. I don't wish to be dismissive — one murder is one murder too many — but if murders in Canada were evenly and randomly distributed, which they most certainly are not (young males involved in criminal activity are the most at risk), Canadians would, on average, have a one-in-fifty thousand chance of getting killed in any given year, which is about one-quarter their odds of dying in a car accident. (Strange that there isn't a lobby trying to force people to wear helmets while in cars.) Moreover, it's estimated that in about 80 percent of cases the victim of a violent crime knows their attacker; statistically, the most dangerous people in your life are your family members. I can see a certain point to lounging around the house packing heat ("I was watching that show") but the point is that most Canadian suburbanites need guns for personal protection from random violence about as much as they need to carry around a snakebite kit. People are afraid of the wrong things.
I don't know what the solution to societal violence is — probably reverse engineering our DNA so that we're not primates anymore would be involved — but I do know that the possibility of sudden and tragic death is one of the unfortunate byproducts of being alive. Given the alternative, I'll take the risk.