Canada appears to have finally found its disruptive moment. Petition E-2341, which calls upon “the Government of Canada to put any new firearms laws, bans, buyback programs or changes to licensing before the House of Commons to be debated,” has reached 160,000 at the time of writing - more than any other petition in the history of our country. The results also show a clear contrast regionally, with the most signatures coming from BC, Alberta, and Ontario.
The irony is palpable, especially as the anti-gun petition, calling for the ban of AR style weapons as well as handguns has failed to break 30,000 signatures. Canada, long ruled by the Pearson-Trudeau consensus of post-1967, appears not to be the unarmed, overly polite society we’ve been caricatured as. Apparently, people of this dominion will not stand for an out of touch government that seeks to confiscate their property when they have done nothing to deserve it.
It bears repeating not a shred of gun policy in this country has ever saved a life. Much of it has successfully destroyed small businesses that sell or service guns, or made criminals out of law-abiding owners who fall prey to laws against self-defence as well as paper crimes. But the gangs still run free with illegally obtained firearms. Whatever one thinks of this issue, I can promise you that Canadian gun owners are not giving up their weapons without a serious fight.
Black rifles might look scary to some, but are no more dangerous than other weapons. The idea that they are high-powered is also patently ridiculous: AR-10’s shoot .308 or 7.62mm NATO, a commonly used hunting and target round that is by no means the most powerful; the AR-15 shoots .223 or 5.56mm NATO, a round originally based on the .22LR. Certainly, these are rifles that have been used in warfare by the military - but so were Grampa’s Lee-Enfields.
The term “assault style” is nonsense. Indeed, the AR stands for “Armalite,” the company that first produced these rifles. Why people buy these over those with traditional wooden stocks is the same reason you buy anything new: the convenience of customizability and ergonomics. Any anti-gun advocate, once sat down and shown how much can be done to make AR’s lighter, more accurate, easier to handle, could not honestly dismiss their superiority to older platforms.
There are deep political ramifications to this episode. First, as the Conservative Party of Canada seeks a new leader, those hoping to win the gun-vote must make their stance clear by word, deed, and policy. There is no doubt that gun policy has clear supporters in this country - anyone who wishes to take the helm in a single ballot will have to strongly declare their position.
Second, the Liberals vastly underestimated the resentment such flagrant disregard for private property would inspire. Guns cost incredible amounts of money because they are tools built and fitted together with precision. If there is not a clear about-face, with Justin Trudeau all but apologizing to lawful gun owners, there will be a change in the electoral map of this country.
Most importantly though, while the world churns with populist movements of every stripe and counter-movements of consensus based market neoliberalism or neoconservative foreign interference, Canada appears to have found an entirely principled stance from which to fight back: we, the gun owners of Canada, on behalf of all Canadians, will not be made criminals by fiat. If our rights are to be amended, let them be put to debate in the people’s house: Parliament.