Gun control and the Toronto Star

by Michael Petrou

“Tories delist sniper rifles, self-loading weapons,” says the front-page Toronto Star headline, followed by text in the body of the story claiming that such weapons will be “declassified” under the Conservatives’ bill to kill the long-gun registry.

It’s unclear exactly what the Star means here by “delist” and “declassify.” Currently, firearms in Canada are classified three ways: as non-restricted; restricted; or prohibited. Roughly speaking, most rifles and shotguns are non-restricted; restricted firearms include many handguns, and rifles or shotguns that are deemed to be too short; and prohibited firearms include automatic rifles, as well as some handguns. The Tories aren’t reshuffling how various firearms will be classified. A gun that was non-restricted previously will remain so. What’s changing is that gun-owners will no longer have to register non-restricted rifles.

The Star lists several examples of firearms its says will soon be “freed from the binding controls that now see them listed with the RCMP-run database.” It’s a little more complicated than that.  

One example given by the Star is the “powerful Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle used in the 1989 Montreal massacre and this summer’s Norway bloodbath.” The gun is actually less powerful than most deer rifles, but never mind. A case can be made that all semi-automatic rifles should be restricted because of the speed with which they can be fired multiple times. But the Mini-14 is not uniquely dangerous, and bolt-action rifles have also been used in massacres. According to the RCMP, there are two versions of the Mini-14. One is restricted because of its short barrel length. The other is non-restricted.

Also listed by the Star is the “menacing” IMI Tavor TAR-21 assault rifle. I’m not sure what’s menacing about it — maybe its appearance, all black and futuristic. I can’t find a reference to it being used in a murder in Canada. Its high price tag likely puts it out of the reach of many would-be killers. In an interview with Maclean’s, the RCMP said one version of the gun is non-restricted; other versions are either restricted or prohibited.

Finally, the Star lists two sniper rifles: the LII5A3; and the Steyr-Mannlicher HS .50. The RCMP says these are indeed classified as non-restricted. One could argue that they should be restricted based on the long range from which they can kill. But such high-end large calibre sniper rifles simply don’t feature in the history of gun violence in North America — even when victims were methodically targeted and shot from a distance, such as in and around Washington, D.C. in 2002. Regular hunting rifles can also kill from several hundred metres away. Singling out specialized sniper rifles as a threat is based more on emotion and gut reaction than evidence.

It’s worth repeating that Bill C-19 doesn’t change how firearms are classified. It would have been just as easy to purchase any of the non-restricted firearms highlighted by the Star when the Liberals were in office as it is today, and will be after the long-gun registry is eliminated. Those wishing to prevent Canadians from owning such firearms are attacking the wrong legislation.




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Gun control and the Toronto Star

  1. I also object to this, from the Star article, trying to justify long-gun registration:
     
    “That requirement allowed police to trace the man who killed 14 women in the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre.”
     
    Marc Lépine shot himself in the head in the hallway of the school – they only had to check his wallet or signed suicide note in his pocket to know who he was.
     
    Geez – how the heck do they get away with writing slanted, mis-leading crap journalism like this?   Guess they have run out of Ford transgressions.

      • Yeah yeah… he was a ferner.

    • Any thoughts regarding better legislation?

      Ie, instead of the long gun registry, what legislative changes (or enhancements to laws that were already in place at the time) should the government have introduced all those years ago?

      It must have been possible to both gain the political points that came from responding to the calls for action AND actually make changes that were effective.  Or is there nothing that could have been done to prevent Lepine?

    • When  that rag hires the likes of Heather Malice they can pretty well whatever they want and get away with it. 

  2. Between stuff like this from the Star, and the CBC literally just making sh*t up about Rob Ford without even apologizing when it’s been proven that they made it up…why exactly am I supposed to be worried about the bias of Sun News again?

    • I assume you’re talking about the CBC’s report that Ford called EMS operators “bitches”.

      The way I heard it, the CBC said right from the start that they hadn’t heard the recording, but that multiple sources confirmed their report. Later, when Ford specifically denied using that word, they checked again with their sources, who stood behind their story.

      That’s pretty standard journalism, but I might not have all the information. At what point was it “proven” that the CBC made up the story? Could you provide a link?

      • The Toronto Chief of Police made a public statement backing Ford’s version of the story. He’s heard the tapes of the calls and confirmed that there is almost no basis to the CBC story.

        • And …? If there is nothing to hide, release the tapes. It isn’t complicated. If this were a left-leaning politician, everything else being the same, you know you’d be demanding the tapes be released to the public. 

        • Bill Blair lost all credibility when he laughed about creating unconstitutional police barriers for the G20.  Assuming he is automatically telling the truth is the act of an idiot.

        • “The Toronto Chief of Police made a public statement backing Ford’s
          version of the story. He’s heard the tapes of the calls and confirmed
          that there is almost no basis to the CBC story.”

          That doesn’t prove that the CBC made up the story – they were quoting multiple sources, and reported exactly that.

          That doesn’t even prove Ford’s claim, it just stakes one source against another (albeit a non-anonymous, fairly credible police chief against anonymous sources).

          The only story that’s been made up is your claim that the CBC fabricated this story.

        • Who decides if the Toronto Chief of Police gets fired?

          • NICE implication Thwim.

            But here’s a hint. It’s not the mayor.

          • But he is one on the committee of 7 which does. Of the remaining 6, 2 of them are from the City Council of which Ford is part of, and 1 of them is a representative of the public, which, last time anybody looked, wasn’t terribly happy with Mr. Blair, especially around his actions in implying the police were given extra powers for the G8/G20 meetings.

            Never mind what Ford can do to the police budget.

            So we have several CBC anonymous sources vs. 1 mayor who’s implicated, and one unpopular police chief whose situation is not at all helped by pissing off said mayor, and the tapes that could settle this are being with-held by the very people who have the most to lose if they’re lying.

        • “He’s heard the tapes of the calls and confirmed that there is almost no basis to the CBC story.”

          Well that’s one way to put it. Another, more accurate way would be to say “He’s heard the tapes of the calls and confirmed that the CBC story is entirely correct except that Ford didn’t use the word ‘bitches’.”

          If find it amazing that you’re whinging about inaccurate reporting while spinning your little head off.

          • Wrong. He said more than that. He indicated that Rob Ford did not “refer to himself as was indicated” (i.e. He did not call himself “Rob Effing Ford”). More libelous lies in the article. He also indicated that there were no complaints from the dispatchers, putting into question the assertion that Ford verbally abused or assaulted them. Expressing frustration is not the same as abuse.

            But I give up. You acknowledge yourself that there is one libelous fabrication in the article (even though it’s clear there are more), but you don’t care. You’re perfectly fine with our media running outright fabrications and lies against politicians, so long as that media is liberal and the politician is conservative. I just wanted that on the record. I’m looking forward to the next invented controversy against Sun News to see how you react to it.

          • Read this carefully:

            Libel: “Rob Ford did X”
            Libel: “The CBC fabricated that story”

            Not libel: “Sources say Rob Ford did X”
            Not libel: “Sources say that CBC fabricated the story”

            As for what Ford claims to have said: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/toronto-mayor-rob-ford-apologizes-for-profanity-in-911-call/article2215608/

            The CBC followed journalistic conventions. They made it clear they were reporting information based on a source, and they had multiple sources.

            The only dispute between Ford’s story and the CBC’s sources is whether the word “bitches” was used. But you immediately accused the CBC of fabricating the story.

            And then you have the gall to accuse me of not caring about accuracy.

            You’re a piece of work dude.

      • I was told by multiple sources that the Nazis won WW!!. After rechecking those sources I stand by what they said. Make any sense to you TJ? Sources mean squat until there is a complaint and a trial. Where’s the complaint by the offended person(s)?

        • This is just astonishingly stupid.

          • No. “Stupid” is thinking that hiding behind anonymous sources when running libelous articles qualifies as good journalism.

      • My favorite was the story about some lady who saw Rob Ford using a cell phone while driving. Well.. actually she saw him with his head down and thought he was texting, she didn’t actually see the phone.

        Somehow the Toronto Star thought this was a big deal and put it on the front page. A lot of people in Toronto really hate Rob Ford, so the Star will publish anything they can find that puts him in a negative light to move papers.

    • I’m not sure “Rob Ford and the Police Chief say it’s not true” means it’s been “proven” that it’s not true.  It may well be compelling evidence that suggests that it’s probably not true, but I think we’d need to either hear the tapes, or have statements from the dispatchers who were actually on the calls to “prove” it’s not true.

      That said, I’ve always felt that even if Ford demonstrated the very height of civility on those calls, what he did was still inappropriate.  I don’t personally think that a comedienne and a cameraman being in your driveway constitutes an emergency worthy of dialing 911 from within the safety of your home.  Not unless Mary Walsh is trying to batter down your front door with the camera.  I CERTAINLY don’t think it constitutes an emergency worthy of calling 911 THREE TIMES.  However, if one does feel that Mary Walsh’s presence in their driveway is a 911-worthy emergency, then one ought to WAIT FOR THE POLICE TO ARRIVE after dialing 911 three times to call them to the scene.  I think it’s clear that Ford’s “emergency” was that he was perturbed that he was late for work, as evidenced by the fact that he got in to his van and drove to work without waiting to speak to the police, despite calling 911 three times to get the police to respond to the supposed danger he was in.

      • If I am not mistaken, the original comment was from a poster who often claimed the problem with the media was it treated conservatives unfairly due to bias.  I guess he meant that CPC arguments were not parroted with no critical assessment.

        Too bad so many Harper supporters put party over country like that.

        • What more would the CBC have to do to Ford in this case to be guilty of bias?

      • I’m not going to get into the wisdom of the 911 call. This is a guy who has had to deal with some pretty sick death threats, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Ford doesn’t watch the CBC and had no idea who this crazy woman was.

        Come on LKO…you’re a pretty sensible fellow. Blair is the Chief of Police. Do you really think he is going to go on the record and directly contradict the CBC report in a public statement if he’s not 100% sure of what he’s saying? I think at this point it’s safe to say that the CBC story is flat out wrong.

        As I recall, Sun News got ripped just for running an interview a bit aggressively. This goes far beyond that. The CBC ran an almost entirely false story suggesting that Ford called these dispatchers “bitches” and introducing himself as “Rob Effing Ford”.  The CBC did this after heat was applied to them for the “This hour” ambush at Ford’s home.

        Ford took a ton of heat for this story. “Rob Effing Ford” was trending on twitter. Keith Olbemann called him “Worst Person in the World” because of this. It’s a week later and the CBC still has not apologized. Is there a shred of doubt in your mind that if Ford chose he could easily win a defamation case against the CBC? Is there a shred of doubt in your mind that the CBC’s behaviour has been nothing short of malicious?

        Is Ford’s 911 call really what you find most objectionable about this story? Are you seriously OK with how the CBC has behaved here? What if Sun News had done all of the above to Ignatieff or Layton? You’d go deaf from the screams to get them off the air.

        • I don’t know. I can see the CBC saying (I’m not sure if they’ve SAID this, but it’s the implication of their “we’ll stick to our story” angle) that “the Police Chief and the Mayor say X, but our sources still insist Y, and we’ll apologize if our sources are wrong when Mayor Ford agrees to release the tapes and proves us wrong”.

          The CBC did this after heat was applied to them for the “This hour” ambush at Ford’s home.

          Sure, and maybe THAT’s why the CBC has dug in their heels a bit. ‘Cause you know what? While the CBC has taken an awful lot of flack for Mary Walsh showing up at the mayor’s house, “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” is not produced by the CBC. The show is produced by a private television and film production company, and always has been. The CBC pays for the rights to broadcast the show, but they’re not responsible for it’s production. Mary Walsh doesn’t work for the CBC, and the CBC is no more responsible for sending her to the mayor’s house than they are for the quality of the hockey that the NHL produces for Hockey Night in Canada. They sure have gotten the lion share of the blame for the Marg Delahunty stunt though, haven’t they? The only time you’ll see Halifax Film or DHX Media mentioned in most pundit’s columns on the story are in my subsequent comments down below, bemoaning the fact that everyone is blaming the CBC for sending Mary Walsh to the mayor’s home despite the fact that the CBC doesn’t produce Mary Walsh’s show, and didn’t send her to the mayor’s home.

          Finally, yes, the mayor’s multiple 911 calls, followed by his failure to actually wait for the police to arrive after calling 911 is what I find most objectionable in this story. Mary Walsh going to the mayor’s home may be a close second, but to my mind the mayor vaulted in to first when he got back in his van and left for work without speaking to the police officers that the 911 operators dispatched to his home first.

        • Until Rob Ford releases the tape which proves he didn’t say what he’s accused of saying, the CBC has nothing to apologize for.  

        • Didn’t Sun News also get suckered into some clearly incredible story about Michael Ignatieff being some mastermind behind the Iraq war?

        • “The CBC ran an almost entirely false story suggesting that Ford called
          these dispatchers “bitches” and introducing himself as “Rob Effing
          Ford”.”

          Again, you’re dissembling here. The CBC ran a story based on multiple sources’ claims that Ford had said those things. In the end, he swears he never called the women “bitches” but that the rest of the story is accurate.

          You’ve accused the CBC of making up the “almost entirely false” story, but haven’t pointed out a single thing they did that violates journalistic guidelines.

          Haters gonna hate.

          • Wouldn’t you say that the CBC has some responsibility to vet the credibility of their sources and verify the story before running a defamatory piece like they did? This is libel we’re talking about here. I’m pretty sure that falls under the bounds of journalistic best practices. Just because they found 2 people who don’t like Rob Ford that made up this “verbal assault” on the dispatchers, that does not absolve them of responsibility in running it. Think about it…that would be a pretty easy racket to have a license to run libelous stories at will, wouldn’t it? Just find 2 random people who said it was true and you’re good. And if turns out not to be true, don’t worry…we’ve got your back, we won’t out you. Does that sound like journalistic best practice to you??? Sounds more like plausible deniability to me.

            Don’t you think CBC News owes Ford an apology at least, if not a multi-million dollar damage settlement? Don’t you think these sources who made up this story should be outed?

            Would you be so willing to forgive Sun News if they ran a defamatory story against a prominent Liberal or Dipper that had no basis in fact, just because they found a couple of random like-minded people that said it happened?

          • What if one or more of the sources was a 911 dispatcher who took a call from the mayor???

            How do you know that the CBC DIDN’T vet the sources?

          • You are really reaching here LKO. How do I know the sources weren’t vetted? How do I know one of the 911 dispatchers wasn’t a source?

            From the Police Chief’s statement:

            “I also feel it is necessary to set the record straight about the
            conversations. There have been no complaints by any members of the TPS
            about the 9-1-1 conversations.

            “The content of those conversations has been misrepresented by what
            are claimed to be “several anonymous sources,” presumably from within
            the TPS, in which case I have to set the record straight. I have
            listened to the three emergency calls. The mayor did not use the word
            “bitches,” attributed to him by those “several anonymous sources.” The
            mayor did not describe himself as the original account claimed.

            Come on man. The facts are clear. Blair was crystal clear. The CBC messed up big. I can’t believe there are so many people willing to defend them on this.

          • You said: “the CBC literally just making sh*t up about Rob Ford without even apologizing when it’s been proven that they made it up…”

            So multiple CBC sources say Ford was verbally abusive, swore at the women and called them bitches. Ford admits to the verbal abuse and swearing, but claims not to have called them bitches. Another source – the police chief – claims to have heard the tape and says that Ford never used the word “bitches”.

            Again – the CBC did standard journalism here. They quoted multiple sources and made it clear that they had not heard the tapes themselves. Now a different source disputes a single detail of their report, while confirming the rest, and still without actual evidence.

            So, again: you accuse the CBC of fabricating the story. Where’s YOUR proof? And without any proof whatsoever, where’s your apology to the CBC? Ironically, you’re the one committing libel here.

        • As for the death threats, if I thought for a SECOND that the mayor thought that his safety might be at risk, I wouldn’t have a problem with him calling 911.  However, you know what I think most people would do if they felt they had to call 911 because their safety was threatened?  They’d wait for the police to arrive.

          I don’t buy the argument that the mayor was so scared that he felt that he needed to call 911, but not scared enough to wait for the police to arrive before getting in his van and driving to work.  I think that’s about as plausible as his earlier claims that it was dark outside, and that his daughter was with him when Mary Walsh approached him.  Come to think of it, what sort of “emergency” is worthy of dialing 911, but NOT worthy of waiting with your daughter for the cops to show up?

          Sorry.  I think it’s sickening that the mayor has apparently received death threats, but I can’t believe for a moment that he called 911 out of any reason related to death threats or a perceived threat to his safety, and yet left his (apparently scared) daughter to go to work, rather than waiting for the police to arrive.

  3.  Nice to see some sensible firearms related articles in MacLeans for a change…

  4. Who the Hell is using a Steyr-Mannlicher HS .50 for a civilian purpose?  The thing’s an anti-materiel rifle for Pete’s sake.  It’s used for taking out equipment, and vehicles, and unexploded ordnance.  Are there a lot of sportsmen out there hunting Jeeps???  I guess I can see why “sniper rifles” wouldn’t be automatically restricted, but .50 calibre sniper rifles???  Unless you need to take out the engine block of a truck from a mile away for some reason, why would you need that???

    And if the rifle’s not restricted, does that mean that people can buy .50 BMG rounds for it in Canada?  ‘Cause I’m pretty sure there are plenty of places in the States where you can’t legally buy .50 BMG rounds.

    • “Why would you need that?”  Since when does that have anything to do with the issue??  If we start banning potentially dangerous things based on what others think we need, there won’t be much left. Do i have to provide a list?

      I believe most owners of 50 cal rifles (maybe a hundred in Canada?) hand load their own ammunition. You are looking at about $10 – $15 a shot. Certainly not practical for gangbangers nor your average Joe.

      A 50 cal rifle is a precision instrument that can deliver a 750gr bullet with good accuracy out to 2,000m and beyond. Some people are attracted to high tech of every kind. It’s not abnormal. If those who can afford it are otherwise screened and qualified and do it safely, who are we to deny them the right??  We are not talking about delivering explosive ordnance, just plain old bullets.

      Yes, I am a gun owner and a lover of high technology. No, I can’t afford one of these rifles.

      • Thanks for the knowledgeable reply Carson. Also, fair point wrt “need”. I think I can actually support someone wanting a certain rifle just because it’s cool, and can do neat things, though I think you and I might be in the minority there.

        I take it from your post that .50BMG rounds are legal for purchase here in Canada then? I know they’re illegal in California, and several other states, but it’s interesting that they’re nonetheless legal here. One of the rare cases of Canadian gun/ammo law being more permissive than (some) American laws I guess.

        • Lord_Kitcheners_Own, …the problem is that you listen to one person who wants a certain rifle because its cool when the truth of the matter is that the majority of rifle owners have them because they have pests like coyotes or wolves/beares attacking their livestock.  These ranchers don’t really care what what the bullets are, they just want to protect their investment.

          • Nobody has a .50 calbre rifle to take out pests I don’t think, not even wolves or bears. Would it even be proper to shoot a bear as a “pest” if he was over a mile away?

    • Since when is it a case of need for anything in today’s Society ?. do you NEED your big gas guzzling SUV or sports car ? maybe they should be banned, and everyone drive around in Smart cars, Fiats and Prius’. the Avg cost of a HS .50 is about $6000 along with $10 a round if you can find any (i worked in a popular ontario gun store that sold both when available). these people buy them because they are fun to shoot, and they use them for their purpose hitting a target at 1000+ yards. id like to see you find anywhere in the last 40 years someone using a .50 BMG in a Murder or Crime in Canada.

      • Fair enough I suppose, as I already said to carson.

        That said, should there be no line? I think a fully automatic uzi would be hella fun to shoot, should I be allowed to own one of those? I’m also kinda fascinated by uranium. Why exactly can’t I own a bit of that? I’d like to see evidence of uranium being used in a murder in Canada in the last 40 years.

        We restrict people from owning ALL KINDS of things that wouldn’t necessarily hurt other people after all.

        (ETA: I think I liked this argument better in it’s original form, by Lorne Gunter.)

        • I hate to burst your bubble but you can purchase sample sizes of uranium-238 without a license. Most samples are purchased to calibrate geiger counters because of it’s extremely long half life and stability.

          • LOL, good to know.

            OK, plutonium then. Why can’t I buy a suitcase full of plutonimum?

            LOL

  5. What I don’t get is, if all this hoopla is really only about the registering of shotguns and hunting rifles for general use, then why not just remove the registering requirement for non-restricted firearms?

    After all, who the hell needs a restricted firearm to hunt?

    Sure both sides would have to compromise, but really, what kind of society are we creating where we can’t come to reasonable accomodations with each other?

    I think the LPC buggered this whole thing from the get-go too, but that doesn’t justify the CPC taking the same “no quarter” attitude they did. I thought they were supposed to be an improvement?

    Honestly.

    • just like this article, as the author points out, the star needs to dig bit deeper to find out the truth, so do the torries with most of their legislation. I don’t see how this article is any different from what eveyone is saying about the omnibus crime bill. Like the author, eveyone is screaming for facts, and what do the torries do, shut down debate in the hous of commons, where reasoned amemndments are supposed to be made. Where the senate is not supposed to be whipped.

      The truly scary thing here is that these bills before the HoC are his careers work! Imagine, to be so stubborn as to not even take the time to examine any of your bills in 15 years and tweek them accordingly!

      In the end, its Canadians who lose

    • Who needs a restricted rifle to hunt??  All kinds of restricted rifles are suitable for hunting, except for an arbitrary classification of restricted. Canadians used to hunt with handguns as well back in the ’60′s and ’70′s.  They are perfectly suitable except for a bureacrat’s change of status. Handguns increase the challenge of a hunt because of their short range.

      You do know that most restricted firearms (all handguns, and some rifles and shotguns) are most often less powerful and accurate than your usual unrestricted “hunting” rifles?  yeah, the system makes no sense because it is arbitrary and it criminalizes honest people who commit only paper offenses. If my driver’s licence lapses, I get a fine if caught driving. If my gun licence lapses inadvertently, I go to jail and have a criminal record.

      • Handguns are not a part of Canadian culture.  Rifles and shotguns are used by hunters and farmers to deal with pests and animals you wish to hunt.  If you are part of the handgun culture, you should probably return to the US.

        • I hope this reply will be allowed, because I must say that you are an insulting, bigoted jerk.

          What is “the handgun culture” you refer to?? And why do you hate America so much?  Is it due to your Canadian inferiority complex??  I am a Canadian, born and bred, yet I admire our American cousins. They do some things better than us, as we do some things better than them. Back to the subject?

          Again, what handgun culture are you referring to? The Jane/Finch/Toronto gangbanger culture? Or perhaps, the long history in Canada (pre 1970′s) of allowing responsible hunters to hunt with handguns? How about all the WWII veterans who brought handgun trophies back from the war:  are they not part of Canadian culture?? Or maybe you are referring to that despicable tradition of self reliance or self-defence, you know, where people would dare to want to defend themselves or their loved ones with a defensive handgun? In your little mind, does handgun automatically equal bad?

          Might I suggest you do some research that doesn’t involve just reflexively showing what an anti-American bigot you are?? Check the US violent crime stats over the last 40 years and look at their decreasing trend as compared to ours. It’s dramatically better in the US.

          Why? The US now allows responsible and qualifying adults to have concealed handgun carry permits in 49 States. The felony conviction rate (FBI stats) of these people is 50% of the conviction rate of US law enforcement officers? This proves that people legally carrying concealed are very law abiding and they now amount to several million people. That particular “handgun culture” is responsible for a good deal of America’s huge drop in violent crime. This “experiment” has been going on now for about 20 years;  it’s been working.

          Handguns are tools, possessing neither a soul nor free will. Putting them in the hands of the right people can result in a large reduction in violent crime. That particular part of US culture is one I would like to come to Canada. Hate all you like, but the experiment that is the United States can teach us some positives if you would only be willing to look.

      • Don’t get me wrong carson, I’m a reasonable guy.

        The restricted/non-restricted categories are a load of crap, then let’s fix those too, I’m all for it. Let’s not make half-baked decisions just because we have a faulty system, when we can fix that too.

        What I’m trying to suggest is that there should be a reasonable expectation by hunters to be able to use their equipment to hunt without undue interference, but also a reasonable expectation by the public that what are essentially weapons of war be restricted and registered.

        The main thing from my perspective is whether a gun is semi or fully automatic and what kinds of rounds are allowed.

        The idea after all is to allow hunting but limit the kill ratio of numerous people by nutcases.

        Surely there is a balance that accomodate both?

        • No, there isn’t a reasonable balance. At least not in the way you are thinking. Let me tell you why.

          Modern military firearms fire small caliber, relatively low power rounds. It doesn’t take much to maim or kill a human. My moose rifle though fires a much more powerful round. It makes sense to use something more powerful to quickly and mercifully kill an animal, right? You wouldn’t want to advocate hunting big games (moose, deer, elf) with something like a .22 rifle, would you? A .22 could be used but it would like take a great number of shots, with the animal terrified and in great pain for a long time.

          An additional point is that almost all hunting firearms are derived from a previous generation’s “weapons of war”. Such is the nature of technological progress. Tools get better;  mankind uses better tools (more efficient, less expensive, whatever). Do you want us to go back to black powder flintlocks?

          More importantly, how many long guns are used to kill people??  Extremely few so what is the actual risk that we are talking about??  Compare the number of deaths from private ownership of firearms compared to the number of deaths from mistakes by doctors, car accidents, boating, ATV’ing, etc.

          The public should have an expectation of a reasonable amount of safety, BUT, I am more than happy to allow my neighbours to possess all kinds of dangerous objects, tools, vehicles, etc. Why? because I value freedom over nebulous and completely illusory “safety”. History is replete with examples (read about the 20th Century!!) of the outcome of concentrating power with a small number of people (not usually democracies) in order to keep people “safe” and control dangerous objects. 10,000′s of times more people have been slaughtered by their own governments than by any civilian ownership of firearms.

          By all means, train, screen and licence individuals before they can acquire or possess dangerous items. But with firearms, I have no problem allowing people to own semi-automatic, non explosive firearms, be it a derivative of 1890′s lever action rifle, a WW I bolt action Mauser, a WWII semi-automatic Garand rifle, or a Vietnam era M-16. They are all guns, they all propel pieces of metal to high velocities, and they can all kill.

          • Why do you draw the line where you do at semi-automatic, non-explosive? What makes that line any less arbitrary? Especially when you consider the speed at which some people can fire semi-automatics.  Your argument especially doesn’t make sense considering you say you value these guns as a defence against an oppressive government, one that specifically does have these types of weapons and more.

            I mean sure, that logic may have worked well back in 1776, but some two and a half centuries later, things have changed.

    • Phil King, most people do not need a restricted firearm to hunt.  Americans can pretend that semi-automatomics and automatics are hunting firearms but this is not the reality in Canada.

      • Uhm, I hate to break it to you but in Canada you can apply to carry a pistol for personal protection in the wilderness; many who work for the logging industry and Environment Canada actively do so.

        In fact you can apply for an Authorization to Carry Type 3 at any time from the Canadian Firearms Center which permits the concealed carry of a firearm. The law permits it. The problem is the CFC makes it, ‘Policy’ that only politicians and judges are granted their licenses. Apparently their lives are more important then anyone else’s.

        • Yes, but you have to register it, even under the new system the CPC is proposing.

          I think most are trying to make a separation between common use guns for pests and hunting that shouldn’t be registered, from the types of weapons that should be registered, such as those that can either be concealed or are particularly deadly in terms of the number of human casualties they can produce.

    • I unless I completely misunderstood your comment, your suggestion is exactly what the Conservatives are doing.  They’re getting rid of the registration requirements only for un-restricted firearms.  Nothing is going to change regarding restricted firearms, nothing that is restricted now is going to become un-restricted, and none of the licensing requirements are going to change.

      Replying to related comments in this thread: restricted firearms are classified that way because they are the predominant firearms used in crimes.  It is not an arbitrary distinction.

      • My understanding was that they were removing the registry for all but handguns.

        If they really are only removing the registry for unrestricted firearms, then frankly I’m good with that, as long as the restricted label actually conforms to some form of common sense.

        • Wrong. Most of the restricted and prohibited firearms were classified by a bunch of anti-gun bureaucrats who paged through a gun catalog and picked the ones that were painted black or “looked” evil.

          That is how the AR-15 got restricted and the Ruger Mini-14 is not. Inspite of them being functionally the same in being semi-auto and firing the same .223 Remington cartridge.

  6. One thing needs clarifying. There is no such thing as a sniper-rifle. Any excellent marksman can use any rifle to snipe. Give the most accurate rifle (on paper) in the world to a bad shooter and the so-called sniper rifle becomes less accurate than a fly-swatter thrown at an object over 1km away.

    “Some” writers should NOT believe everything they see on TV and in movies.

    • Similarly, there is no such thing as a cross-country ski. Any excellent skier can use any ski to go cross country. Give the best cross-country ski (on paper) in the world to a bad skiier and the so-called cross-country ski becomes less effective than stilletto heels on a waterbed.

      “Some” commenters should NOT.

  7. Whenever I run out of tall tales to tell around the hunt camp campfire I always pull out a copy of the Red Star.

  8. Thank you for this article, Mr. Petrou.  Friends have been sharing The Star’s article on Facebook, and your article has saved me a lot of time typing up responses, which I fear would not have been as complete or as readable as what you’ve written. Keep up the good work.

  9. All of this belly aching about something that does nothing.  All of the safeguards found in the Firearms Act are found in the licensing part of it.  Safety Training, Federal Testing, Background checks, ongoing system of screening for eligibility…  All found in the licensing part.

    If the RCMP was really concerned about protecting people from scary gun owners maybe they would bother to call potential licensee’s references. I got my restricted PAL 9 years ago and my wife got her’s 8 years ago.  In both cases the RCMP did not call any of the references that we listed on our applications.  We were also asked if we were married and to supply our partner’s contact info.  In both cases, neither of us were contacted to see if we had any reservations about the other getting a firearms license.  Maybe they can use the saved resources from the Long Gun Registry to do the licensing part of the Firearms Act properly..? 

    The Long Gun Registry hasn’t saved any lives but properly screening potential gun owners sure would.

    • Except of course that they don’t include a psych evaluation, and probably won’t ever, so I’m not sure how useful that is beyond simple gun safety, which is laudable but doesn’t serve the crime aspect the government was trying to get at.

      Frankly, any gun that can be easily concealed or has a high casualty potential in terms of the number of rounds per minute is something I’d like to see registered and restricted.

      • Phil see my next post.  Licensed gun owners are 5 times less likely to commit a murder than a non-gun owner.  Imagine if the screening process was done properly? 

        The truth is that the people who get gun licenses are among the most law abiding of Canadian Citizens.
        Criminals can get easily concealed handguns and semiautomatic firearms (we live next to the USA).  Why are you afraid to see citizens with squeaky clean records owning semi-automatic hunting rifles and handguns?  They aren’t the ones shooting people, it’s the criminals that do that.

        What you are proposing is trying to control the actions of criminals by restricting the freedoms of those honest enough to obey the law.  That is the problem with our gun control laws (see my next post) and that is why they don’t work (Double Driveby Shooting in Toronto today).

  10. I’d like to add that even with our inadequate screening process, statistics show that non-gun owning citizens are 5 time more likely to murder someone.  If the screening process was done to the letter of the law then we could be assured that only the most law abiding of the law abiding citizens had licenses.  If the process shows that someone is a squeaky clean upstanding citizen why should we care if they own a “sniper rifle” a scary looking rifle or a handgun? 
    The people who commit almost all of the murders with guns are the criminals who don’t bother to go through the lengthy licensing process.  Why is it that the anti-gun lobby and the left leaning Opposition Parties spend all of their time worrying about hunters, farmers and target shooters?  All of the laws in the Firearms Act are directed towards licensed gun owners.  The NDP, Liberals and Bloc want even more laws directed towards licensed owners yet anytime the Conservatives put forth a Bill that focuses on criminals with guns the lefty parties all oppose them?  What is wrong with that picture?

  11. Actually, semi-automatics are un-restricted in Canada and are commonly used for hunting.  I don’t see a problem with this as the most intimidating thing about them is their name, but I’d allow that a fair argument could be made that they should be restricted.  There are a lot of them out there though.

  12. Thank you Micheal for this well written article. 

    What people don’t realize is that these supposed Military style rifles are only allowed to be fired on approved ranges and are not allowed to be used for hunting. The AR-15 which is a Restricted firearm is one such firearm, is a Semi Automatic that fires the .223 Remington/5.56mm Nato round and is limited to a 5 round magazine. if the AR is converted to a .22LR  Higher capacity magazines can be used, There is no capacity limits on magazines for .22 rifles. The AR makes an excellent Target rifle in the Chamber’s that I have mentioned. 

    On Mag capacity any bolt action rifle and any .22 rifle can hold any amount of rounds in the Magazine. 

    The LGR is ineffective in doing what it was intended of doing, there is no argument on that or at least there shouldn’t be. I am against the registry but I can support having to register firearms that are on the Restricted list. 

    On the Pistol issue, they are great for target shooting as there are many international pistol competitions that I would love to one day compete at in both the pistol Category and rifle.

    Will I ever go shoot up some place just because I own a Military style rifle, no it doesn’t. The reason why I chose the AR-15 was that it is a excellent platform to shoot, its very accurate and that it can be outfitted quite nicely with bi-pods, lights, grips etc. 

    The only reason why I think some rifles are on the Prohibited list is how they look (only a few are like that)  rifles like the Remington 700 rifle is I believe a non-restricted rifle  and it is used by the US Marines as there primary sniper rifle, any rifle including the AR-15 can be configured to be a sniper rifle, all the AR needs is a longer barrel and a quality optic sight to be one.

    The case of the Ruger Mini 14  its was designed for home defense and as a ranch rifle. it is know as a Carbine and it can be used as a tactical firearm. The one I think the star article was talking about was the Mini 30 as it fires the 7.62×39 round.

  13. Does the few mass murders the bolt action rifles been used for in comparison to those of semi-autos ( be they rifles/pistols) exclude the semi-auto rifle from reclassification. Neither the U.K. or Australia thought so!! The only difference in these two countries from Canada seems to be the much younger age of the victims and the # of people killed in individual incidents.

    The informations there the owners only need to apply for the step up to the RPAL and there set to go. This isn’t a ban like the U.K. and Australia which comes up every time there is a mass shooting/murder in Canada. Remember the Poly, Dawson and Meyerthorpe are the high publicity mass muders. Theres been many more in Canada involving guns that haven’t had National Press Attention for whatever reason.

  14. Once again the Toronto Star has proven that when it comes to gun control they are neither objective or accurate. The facts are always plainly known but the truth gets in the way of their left-wing editorial policy. Once again we see an article laced with anti-gun emotion, propaganda and outright misinformation. Ethics seem to go out the door on issues surrounding the long gun registry. That is why I view the Star as an unreliable source of news and commentary. Always question their editorial position before you accept anything they publish.

    Historical Note: In World War I Canadian troops fired their bolt action rifles at such a rate the Germans sometime thought they were facing machine guns! Semi-automatic rifles have been available to civilians since 1906 and their history clearly shows that they are not the threat to society that anti-gun and left-wing lobbies make out. As for hunting, mountain game often are taken at long ranges.

    ALL bans have an unqualified history of failure. Banning on principle is reckless and unnecessary in a modern democratic society. Legislation must ensure the rights of all Canadians and not just those that have never owned firearms or those that don’t enjoy gun sports as part of our historic heritage.

  15. It’s The Red Star, what else would you expect!
    It is a commie rag that prints nothing but lies and fiction.
    Unfortunately many people tend to believe most of what they read, which is why we are stuck with dalton.

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