it is a counter point to the Doctor’s claim and a Northern point of view.
These are the Public Health success stories:
- Motor vehicle safety
- Workplace safety
- Control of infectious diseases (which includes immunizations)
- Declines in deaths from heart disease and stroke
- Safer and healthier foods
- Healthier mothers and babies
- Family planning
- Fluoridation of drinking water to prevent dental caries (cavities)
- Reduction of tobacco use
I would add to that things like Building Code. When’s the last time you walked into an office building and were terrified that your weight was going to make the floor collapse?
But, what all of these things have in common, is everyone involved wants them to be a success. Even the silly people who want to skip immunizations have the same goal, the safety of their children.
Licenced gun ownership is the same. We are a culture of safety.
But it’s not licenced gun ownership that the physicians are seeing in hospitals. We know how many accidents we have at shooting ranges, because they make threads here on CGN every time they happen. Lately, half of them have been police shooting themselves. It wasn’t doctors that lowered our accident rates. It wasn’t the law. It was gun owners in the 1950s exchanging stories of what went wrong, and the hunter safety courses we developed to prevent the problems. The four rules of firearms safety, and its variants were taught for years, and ended up being stuffed into the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and continued to be taught during the Hunter Safety Courses.
Public Health only works when everyone involved has the same goals.
But the people shooting each other don’t have the same goals. They’re protecting their illegal product from robbery. Their taking marketing turf from rival gangs. They’re avenging the tiniest of slights with drive by shootings. Sometimes they’re killing because they want a pair of used socks, or a cigarette. They’re killing with clubs, knives, and guns. They’re getting them from stores, theft, manufacturing, and smuggling them from other countries using similar techniques to when they’re smuggling drugs or anything else.
If Volkswagen stopped selling cars in Canada, how long do you think it would you to consider buying Ford, Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Nissan, Hyundai, Ram, Jeep, GMC, Mazda, or Kia?
When Airtransit and Wardair went bankrupt, how long did it take the other airlines to take up the slack? Was it a whole two weeks?
Governments change the tax system, and people exploit loopholes. Trains have passenger ticket systems, and riders find workarounds. Human beings are fantastic at finding ways around the rules, when their goals are contrary to them.
That’s why guns are not a Public Health concern. Public health is great against stupid viruses, but not against smart people who oppose them. Public Health works great when the personal reward comes from following the rules, and the rules come from proven science. Criminals, by definition, ignore the rules and seek to find ways to do things that are illegal, because they perceive the personal reward is greater than the personal risk.
Canada Border Guards report 20,000 guns are smuggled into the country every year. That dwarfs the stolen, diverted, and straw purchased guns. The ratio is even wider if you restrict that to handguns.
The moment one supply dries up, it wont take more than 2 weeks for criminals to find another way.
When the NRA said “Get out of our lane”, it was the NRA that was right, and the Doctors who were wrong.
This is not to say that Laws are useless because criminal’s goals are different. Good laws are good things.
2.2 million PALers, 6 million canadians, shoot half a billion rounds of ammunition a year safely. The doctor may assert that there’s no point, but with this billions of GDP being spent every year clearly millions of us do.
What the doctors are talking about is not making something that’s bad illegal, but rather making something that is good illegal. Malum prohibitum – the banning of something by law, not because it is bad in itself.
The bad is the shooting of other people, the murders, the attempted murders. These things are malum in se, banned because they are evil itself. These things the doctors are concerned about are things that concern us all. But they’re already illegal, and criminals are doing them anyway.
Banning a tiny fraction of one source of their weaponry, is not going to make any difference in their goals, or their needs, or their demand vs supply. If Prohibition is any warning, it will change the violence in the suppliers.
Laws make terrible memorials
– FirearmsLaw.ca Solomon Friedman, LL.B. Criminal Defence Lawyer
hard cases make bad law
– Oliver Wendell Holmes (1904)