John Orth

Every argument employed by gun prohibitionists is based on a double standard or a hypocritical position. Our opponents are constantly contradicting themselves, adopting mutually exclusive opinions, employing blatant double standards, or wallowing in hypocrisy.

There is a double standard at the very core of the gun prohibition debate. Essentially, gun grabbers contend it is proper for the state to deny all citizens access to a particular type of item whenever some small portion of the population uses this item for criminal purposes. Yet they do not demand we restrict access to cameras and camcorders because some people use them for making child pornography. Nor do they insist we should prohibit VCR's because they might be used for viewing child pornography, or outlaw computers because they can be used to download kiddie porn from the Internet. I have yet to hear anyone suggest we should outlaw sun lamps because people use them to cultivate marijuana. No one contends we should ban cars because some people drive like idiots. Only a small number believe we should outlaw alcohol because a few drink excessively. We do not forbid the possession of telescopes and binoculars because they might be used by peeping toms. Why are guns treated differently than every other object in our society?

Consider the oft repeated claim that only police should be allowed to possess handguns or "assault rifles". What this actually means is that the police should not be required to abide by gun control laws. Is it not strange we do not extend them this courtesy in any other area? Most people would not think it reasonable for drug squad officers to have raucous, all night, cocaine snorting parties. We do not allow members of the vice squad to have sex with child prostitutes, or allow RIDE officers to drive home drunk. We do not permit the police to rob banks, commit rapes, or snatch purses. Why then do we suggest they should be exempted from gun control laws?

Consider also that tired old bit of gun banner propaganda: "No one in a civilized country needs a handgun or an assault rifle." Forget for the moment some believe private ownership of military style weapons is necessary to achieve a proper balance of power between the individual and the state. Why do we not apply this "need" requirement to anything else? Cigarettes and alcohol kill many more people than guns, yet smokers and drinkers are not asked to demonstrate a need. No one is asked to justify why they need a car with a 300 horsepower engine. No one is asked to show why they need a backyard pool. (Pools kill over ten times as many small children as guns.) Snowmobiles, jet skis, motorcycles and power boats can be purchased without demonstrating a need. Why must firearms owners show why they need a gun?

Then again, there is the strange tendency of the media to focus on the weapon whenever a crime is committed with a gun, whereas with any other crime, the focus is on the criminal. If a murder is committed with a knife we do not hear anguished cries for more "knife control". A baseball bat murder does not bring out demands for bat registration. Why are firearms treated differently?

Then too, there is the fact that whenever firearms are stolen there is a tendency to blame the owner for the theft. If the guns were stored securely, it would not have been possible to steal them, so it is reasoned. Strangely, we do not use this reasoning for anything else. We do not insist car owners should be forced to lock their cars in a garage or be subject to a fine. We do not insist that people refrain from carrying large sums of money in their wallet. We do not have laws requiring stereos, televisions and jewellery to be stored in a vault. Why not? Double standard.

I am sure everyone has noticed how the left tends to deride respected scholars, such as Dr. Gary Mauser, who happen to be gun owners. We are told these "gun enthusiasts" are biassed, and their opinions are therefore meaningless. When dealing with their own issues, the left then takes exactly the opposite position.

NAC (National Action Committee on the Status of Women - a ragtag collection of female socialists) recently elected a "woman of colour" as their president. The argument given by this woman's supporters was that only a "woman of colour" could properly understand and deal with issues of racial discrimination. They preach the same philosophy when they declare only women are qualified to teach women's studies, or only blacks should teach African American history.

So there you have it. When dealing with their own pet causes, the left adopts the position that only those who are members of the affected groups can speak with authority. When dealing with causes to which they are opposed, they contend that only those who are not members of the affected group can be trusted. To describe this as a simple double standard somehow seems inadequate. The term bold faced hypocrisy seems more suitable.

Nor is this the only area in which the left adopts a two faced position. The "heat of the moment" argument is frequently employed by liberals and socialists when they debate gun control. Essentially, its proponents contend a gun represents an overpowering temptation during a moment of passion, and it is the proper function of the state to remove (or at least delay) access to this type of temptation. Supporters of the Brady Bill often resorted to this argument as justification for a waiting period for handgun purchases.

Interestingly, they reject exactly the same reasoning when they debate rape. An excuse sometimes given by those who have committed an act of sexual assault, is that the woman was dressed seductively and acted in a sexually provocative manner. Feminists and liberals quite correctly reject this rationalization, arguing that temptation or not, people are ultimately responsible for their own actions.

Trouble is, liberals cannot have it both ways. They cannot argue that during a moment of passion a firearm represents an overwhelming temptation, while a scantily clad woman does not. If it is the proper function of the state to regulate guns to prevent "heat of the moment" murders, then surely we should also regulate the way women dress, as many Islamic nations do, to prevent "heat of the moment" rapes.

Any discussion of two faced behaviour would be incomplete if it did not mention the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

Every police force in Canada today has access to weaponry which would have been unthinkable a generation ago. Such things as sub-machine guns, fully automatic assault rifles, night vision equipment, sniper rifles and body armour are now commonplace. Even the regular beat cop has traded his six shot revolver and round nose .38s, for a .40 calibre semi-automatic Glock with a 15 round magazine and hollow point ammo.

The excuse normally given for this escalation in firepower is that police are facing a new breed of heavily armed criminal, and were in danger of becoming outgunned. Fair enough. But are Canadian citizens not facing exactly the same criminals? An officer who responds to a bank robbery will confront the same robber whom the tellers faced. Police answering a call for a home invasion will meet the same invaders the home owners encountered. The chiefs of police, while demanding ever more and more powerful weapons for themselves, expect Canadian citizens to face exactly the same criminals armed with nothing more than our wits.

Our Prime Minister was also caught in a contradictory position shortly after the last Quebec referendum. Mr. Chretien insisted he would never again permit an issue of such importance to be decided by such a badly worded, poorly understood question. (For once, the PM was right, although it is not clear how he could legally intervene in a provincial referendum.) The Liberals nonetheless see no problem asking Canadians questions they don't understand on a topic about which most know nothing if the issue at stake is gun control.

During the debate over C-68, the Liberals repeatedly quoted the results of random telephone surveys in an attempt to prove the existence of widespread public support for this legislation. The problem is, most non-firearms owners have a complete ignorance of guns and gun control laws. In a survey of students at Concordia University, Prof. Taylor Buckner found 89% did not even know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun.

The Coalition for Gun Control and the Federal Department of Justice were caught in a contradictory position during the Alberta Court challenge of C-68. Wendy Cukier's group has repeatedly asked the rhetorical question: "We register cars, so what's wrong with registering guns?" The Justice Department also made use of this analogy in a booklet published in June 1995, where they claimed firearms registration would be "similar to drivers' licences and car ownership permits". Mr. Chretien himself utilized this comparison in a fireside chat televised on CBC just before Christmas a few years ago.

If either of these individuals would care to check their driver's licence or car ownership, I am sure they will discover it has been issued by the province in which they reside. In Canada, the licencing of automobiles and drivers is a provincial responsibility. If Cukier and Chretien truly believe gun registration is analogous to car registration, then they should insist the provinces assume this responsibility, just as they have for cars. Since both the Coalition for Gun Control and the Justice Department have appeared in court in an attempt to prevent this from happening, I can reach only one conclusion: They do not believe their own propaganda.

Despite these shining examples of two faced behaviour, top prize for Canadian gun control hypocrite must go to our Minister of Justice, Allan Rock.

Shortly after the Ontario government announced it would make a pro-gun presentation at the Senate hearings on Bill C-68, Mr. Rock accused Ontario Solicitor General Bob Runciman of pandering to the gun lobby. This was an ironic charge, coming as it did from a man who pushed through draconian gun control legislation largely to curry favour with do-gooders by proving the Liberals can still enact "progressive" legislation, even in tough financial times.

He made a big deal out of polls purporting to show public support for gun registration, while ignoring polls showing the same level of support for the death penalty. He accused Preston Manning of using public outrage over a high profile murder (the Bernardo case) to drum up support for capital punishment. He voiced this criticism after he had just used exactly the same tactic himself, utilizing the public's anger over the Just Desserts and Tod Baylis murders to help promote his gun control agenda. He repeats ad nauseam that the police chiefs are in favour of C-68, while ignoring those police organizations, such as the Ontario Police Association, and Alberta and Saskatchewan RCMP, which are opposed. He steadfastly insists, against all available evidence, that registering Canadian long gun owners will reduce crime. Yet he has failed to implement the one registry that might actually have this effect: one of convicted child molesters.[1]

Mr. Rock has repeated endlessly that one Canadian woman dies every six days from gunshot wounds. (The true figure is forty five a year, or one very eight days.) So worried is Mr. Rock about this threat to the well being of women that he is prepared to spend an estimated five hundred million to two billion dollars to register long guns. Yet this same Liberal government, which pretends to be so concerned about women's health issues, spends a paltry four million dollars a year on breast cancer, which kills 4,800 Canadian women a year.[2]

Mr. Rock's government portrays itself as the defender of multiculturalism. The Liberals hand money they have extorted from Canadian taxpayers to groups seeking to preserve cultures they have imported from other countries. But this same government has done everything in its power to eradicate the gun culture that forms the backbone of rural Canada. Allan Rock, guardian of multiculturalism, is attempting to perform an act of cultural genocide on Canadian gun owners.

Is this duplicitous weasel is truly one of the bright stars of the Liberal Cabinet, as much of the print media constantly claims?[3] Perhaps, but if he is, then it is scary to contemplate how spectacularly bad the rest of them must be.


[1]This simple fact should give Canadian gun owners some insight into where we stand in Allan Rock's eyes. He refuses to maintain a registry of convicted child molestors, yet is willing to spend billions to create exactly the same type of database for Canadian gun owners, who have committed no crime. Could it be that Mr. Rock views gun ownership as a crime more serious than sodomizing a six year old boy?

[2]The Liberals finally announced they will allocate extra money for breast cancer in June 1998.

[3]Mr. Rock was at it again during the latest (1997) election campaign. He referred to Preston Manning as "the ambulance chaser of federal politics" after Manning appeared at a dinner in St. Catharines with the parents of Kristen French. A few days later Mr. Rock attended a similar function in Quebec with the mother of one of the women murdered at Ecole Polytechnique. Unbelievable.