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Friday, December 09, 2005

Paul Martin Suggests Handgun Ban

See, suppose your party (the Liberals in power in Canada) got caught handing money out to ad agencies and charities while requiring that large chunks of it be returned under the table. Suppose it turned out that this had gone on for around a decade, and that very high-level party members were involved. Suppose that there was a vote of no-confidence, causing an election, so the obvious thing for the Liberals to do in the campaign is:
  1. Address the scandal by cleaning house and promise the voters a new way of doing business entirely, or
  2. Announce that the Canadian federal government would address crime in urban areas by banning handguns entirely.
  3. Both of the above.
You guessed it. Paul Martin came up with the brilliant idea of depriving Canadians of their legal, registered handguns locked in gun safes to avoid addressing the problems of urban street crime and killings done with illegal, unregistered guns. Darcey at Dust My Broom. Democratic Underground. CBC has letters running strongly against the policy as does this one:
With regards to Paul Martin's announcement this morning of a ban on handguns; would someone please enlighten me as how this will stop the spree of shootings in Toronto as well as violence in other cities.

Like the long gun registry, this will be another money guzzling fiasco who will make criminals out of already law abiding citizens;not to mention it is an attempt to shore up Liberal votes in the big urban centres of Canada.

The sad part of this whole announcement is not only will it make criminals out of already law abiding citizens; but the real criminals who get caught with illegal weapons will continue to be allowed to walk away from our to soft justice system with a mere slap on the wrist.

—Jason Roy | New Glasgow
That's the majority sentiment, and several people write that the Liberals have lost their vote. However, a few are delighted:
I am proud to live in a country that is intolerant of guns; we set a good example and we live in relative peace and safety. That's more important to me than someone's gun collection. Handguns do not belong in this century. They are archaic and barbaric.

For all the problems that they cause, it is not asking too much to request that those who collect them or play with them simply get a new hobby.
Okay. This lady's objection to handguns is basically a moral one. It makes no utilitarian sense whatsover. Her position is founded on the idea that people don't have the right to play around with something that could potentially take a life. I would wager that most gun control advocates in the US would agree with her.

After I stopped laughing (because I believe this initiative will hurt the Liberals badly), I remembered several passages in arguments that Dingo, Boomer, Carl and I had over legislating sexual morality and their ardent defense of the individual's right to immunity from government interference with their private lives based on the majority's moral judgements. I quote from Lawrence v Texas:
Liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places. In our tradition the State is not omnipresent in the home. And there are other spheres of our lives and existence, outside the home, where the State should not be a dominant presence.
...
For many persons these are not trivial concerns but profound and deep convictions accepted as ethical and moral principles to which they aspire and which thus determine the course of their lives. These considerations do not answer the question before us, however. The issue is whether the majority may use the power of the State to enforce these views on the whole society through operation of the criminal law.
...
The present case does not involve minors. It does not involve persons who might be injured or coerced or who are situated in relationships where consent might not easily be refused. It does not involve public conduct or prostitution.

...
The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government.
There is a gaping dissonance between the logic used to announce a constitutional right not present in the law at the time of the Constitution's adoption and not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights as a condition of the Constitution and the logic used to argue for gun bans in utter disregard of the Constitution's ban on "infringing the right of the people to keep and bear arms". Contrast the reasoning in Lawrence to the reasoning of those who would proscribe the right of a law-abiding person to keep a weapon in his or her home.

There are no utilitarian grounds (except respect for individual liberty, which I do believe is a utilitarian principle that has demonstrable and good effects in society as a whole) for setting forth that the law may not regulate sexual acts between consenting adults while maintaining that the state may take a gun from the home of a person who has never misused the weapon. The truth is that far more people die and are injured from diseases contracted through promiscuous sexual conduct each year in the US than are killed or injured through misuse of firearms. (I do not include injuries that occur to criminals as a result of victims use of firearms in self-defense or officers who shoot in the line of duty.)

It is interesting to note that several of the persons who wrote to CBC protesting Martin's initiative said that they had supported the Liberal initiative to legalize same-sex marriage. There is a definite correlation between the you-go-your-way-and-I'll-go-my-way type of libertarian mindset among many of those who feel strongly about the right of individuals to own firearms and the belief that other people have the right to live their lives the way they wish. This is why the gun forum on DU fascinates me so. Many people are quite consistent in their beliefs - but those who advocate gun control are generally extraordinarily inconsistent.


Comments:
First they will make guns illegal, and next will be heroin. And after that?
 
MOM:

Be careful getting into the RTKBA/Hoplophobia fray. It's what radicalized me.

Heck, I know two fellows who have been engaged in a running feud for over 10 years over on the Usenet militia board.

Don't be those guys.

Canadians outlawing handguns?

1) So what? I'm not Canadian.

2) Good...we'll have yet another example of the utter futility of gun banning in lowering violent crime.

3) It might lower violent crime in Detroit, when the stick-up men and rape-o's discover easier prey over the Ambassador Bridge.

Regards;
 
The timing of this anouncement is most curious. When the Liberal Party is in all kinds of hot water for corruption and facing a tough election, they choose to redirect the media to a gun ban.

It reminds me of Clinton, Lewinsky and the bombing of third world countries.
 
Joated - What probably bothers the Canadians the most is that it is unlikely to reduce the murders. I think this is a measure designed to pretend to do something about a real problem rather than doing it.

Howard - Nah. Shoot-up sites for heroin are another Canadian initiative. Their idea is to make heroin legal and guns illegal to reduce crime. I guess it isn't working in Toronto.

Bilgeman - Please translate. What is RTBKA? What is hoplophobia? Fear of Hoppes?

My real interest in this debate is why people take the positions they do, and how they justify them. Like I said before, I'm not a fanatic. The Bill of Rights was passed to restrain the federal government and not the states, so IMO, if individual localities want to restrict gun ownership, that's democracy. People can vote with their feet.

But I find it fascinating that some people will argue mutually exclusive theories of the Constitution to support their positions without (apparently) even realizing that they are doing so.
 
Oh - and Bilgeman, when SCOTUS has started ruling on various issues with reference to law in other countries, what's happening in Canada could be relevant indeed.
 
MOM:

RTKBA,(or RKBA)- Right To Keep and Bear Arms.

Hoplophobia- Unreasonable fear of weapons and weaponry, especially firearms.

You might enjoy the JPFO site, especially this article:

http://www.jpfo.org/ragingagainstselfdefense.htm

"... when SCOTUS has started ruling on various issues with reference to law in other countries, what's happening in Canada could be relevant indeed."

Yep, along with the Yoo-Enn's "Traffic in Small Arms and Light Weapons", uhhhh, initiative.

Heck, the Gun "Control" side could cite Nazi jurisprudence,(in fact, they cribbed a great deal of it for the Gun Control Act of 1968)...Adolf Muthaphuckin' Hitler was hip n' down with "gun control".

Like I said, be careful when you sally forth into this area, it sucks you in through the looking glass...and you can end up represented by a few millivolt electrical impulses in an Eff-Bee-Aye database somewhere.

Regards;
 
I have been amazed at the full court press against guns in general up north.
 
M_O_M:

"There are no utilitarian grounds . . . for setting forth that the law may not regulate sexual acts between consenting adults while maintaining that the state may take a gun from the home of a person who has never misused the weapon."

Excellent point; well stated. I agree that both are "moral" choices, though many gun control advocates oppose moral legislation. Again, modern secularists falsely fly the flag of neutrality--unaware or ashamed of their alternative moral system.
 
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