Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Similkameen Spotlight week of Dec. 12, 2005)

Guns Don’t Kill – Criminal Cuddling Liberal Policies Do

  By John Martin

The Prime Minister’s desperate and cynical announcement of a ban on handguns is clearly the most insincere event in the election campaign thus far.  Handguns have been banned in this country for all but qualified sport shooters and collectors since 1934.  The proposed policy is nothing more than a shameful attempt to cash in on a rash of tragic gunfire in Ontario and push the Conservatives into an awkward position given that they’re the only party recognized for rating public safety as a priority.

The problem with firearm registries and handgun bans is that criminals, much like the Liberal Party of Canada, don’t follow the rules.  If the Liberals were the least bit interested in addressing violent crime there are a number of logical and reasonable measures awaiting adoption.

The government could, for instance, actually deport undesirables once a deportation order has been served.  As it stands, deportation is essentially voluntary.  Hence, we have literally thousands of criminals, drug dealers and gangsters who shouldn’t be here in the first place, wandering around, whereabouts unknown.  We can track down a single solitary mad cow from Alberta grazing away in Yakima, or one flu stricken chicken in Chilliwack.  But we can’t locate countless non-residents facing deportation orders.  Maybe we should turn national security over to Agriculture Canada.

We could also start sending convicted, violent criminals to jail.  Now there’s a novel idea.  Do the crime – do the time.  This is unlikely to happen anytime soon though.  Keeping criminals on the street under some type of modest supervision scheme is an enduring hallmark of today’s Liberal.  And on the odd occasion when someone is actually sent to prison, the mandate then becomes how to get this person back on the outside as soon as possible.  Public safety notwithstanding.

Anyone with the slightest bit of sincerity wanting to address increasing handgun violence in this country would commit a “significant” increase in resources to border security.  We all know the black market for handguns is fuelled through cross border smuggling.  What’s our response?  We arm our border guards with flashlights.  Even worse, the present Liberal policy at borders is for customs officials to allow armed and dangerous criminals into the country under the naïve assumption that the Mounties will catch up with them later.  No, I am not making this up.

There are 232 unguarded roads leading to this country.  And the guarded ones aren’t much more secure.  Last year alone, over 1600 vehicles simply drove through border crossings without stopping.   There is no policy or mandate to identify or track the gatecrashers. 

Anyone naively thinking that regardless of motive, a handgun ban will reduce crime need only consult the Australians and British who obediently surrendered their handguns in the face of a law similar to what Paul Martin is proposing.  Gun crime soared to never before seen levels.  Murders and robberies involving handguns doubled in Britain.  All gun related crime jumped nearly 40%.  It seems criminals didn’t cooperate with the ban.  Weird, eh?

Sadly prophetic, law abiding gun owners sounded the alarm ten years ago that the Firearms Act was merely the first step to confiscation.  They were dismissed and ridiculed as paranoid, right wing zealots. 

Well, well, well.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at

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