Megapundit Extra: But think of the symbolic value...

The Toronto Star encourages us today to sign Mayor David Miller’s petition to ban private handgun ownership in Canada:

The case for the ban is succinctly stated on the petition itself: “Handguns are intended for one purpose and that is to kill people. Their presence in Canada has resulted in the deaths of far too many people.” Immediate action is requested.

Handguns are the preferred weapon of violent criminals, so it is only logical to restrict ownership to police, the military and a few top competitive shooters, such as Olympic competitor Avianna Chao of Toronto. But there is scant justification for allowing others to possess this class of weapon.

Private holdings of handguns provide a ready arsenal for criminals who are willing to steal from legal owners. Indeed, about one-third of the illegal guns seized by Toronto police come from such sources. This pool of weapons – successfully tapped by the underworld – could be largely eliminated by ending the private ownership of pistols.

A few semi-circular quibbles and queries, to which we invite readers to add:

  • It seems highly unlikely that Toronto’s police officers would agree that “handguns are intended for one purpose and that is to kill people,” given that many will have drawn their weapons at some point in their careers but very few will have killed someone.
  • However, if the Star agrees that “handguns are intended for one purpose and that is to kill people,” then how can its editorialists consider sport shooting an acceptable pastime?
  • And wait a second, the suggested policy—allowing “a few top competitive shooters” to own handguns—would kill the sport in Canada anyway, by making it impossible for anyone to become a top competitive shooter.
  • So why not just dismiss Chao’s chosen sport as one that “directly results in people being shot and killed on the streets of our city,” as Miller did in May? Surely her Olympic dream is far less important than the people criminals might use her guns to kill… unless the Star doesn’t really believe that all privately owned handguns comprise “a ready arsenal” for criminals… in which case, why are we signing that petition again?
  • “This pool of weapons … could be largely eliminated by ending the private ownership of pistols.” Could be? Largely? What gives, Mabel? Eliminate privately owned handguns and you’d have eliminated that roughly 30 per cent pool of domestically sourced weapons entirely, no? Well, not really. There’s still all those police and military weapons, which are by no means immune from theft and which would become all the more valuable as the domestic gun pool dwindled—that is, if the illegal importers didn’t pick up the slack all by themselves, in which case we’d have accomplished pretty much nothing.

INSTA-UPDATE: Comments at the Star, which are quite uniformly against the editorial’s position, were closed mid-afternoon. But hours later, this appeared:

The Star responds
Some information quoted in this editorial is contained in “Fact Sheet – Impact of Firearms in Canada” available at

Posted by Editor at 4:13 PM Tuesday, August 05 2008

That would be, er, David Miller‘s fact sheet.