Monday, July 30, 2018
Handguns, Really? Why?
I own firearms, three of them. They're rifles - a lever action, a bolt action and a semi-automatic .22 for 'plinking'. Every now and then I take one or more of them out to the range for a little target shooting.
An encounter with a cougar up a logging road while on a photography trip drove home the point that I really don't want to go up against a powerful cat armed only with a Nikon. For some reason I looked over my right shoulder and there was the cougar staring at me over his/her left shoulder. Both of us froze. I turned toward the cat, made myself very big and very loud, and to my intense relief, it chose to just go on its way.
I packed up my gear on my motorcycle and headed straight home. What went through my mind was that, at the moment of that encounter, I was no longer in control of how the rest of my day might turn out. The cat was calling the shots and I was pretty sure it wouldn't be an even fight.
You go up those roads and you're on your own. No cell service. Maybe your bike breaks down. Maybe you have a crash. It could easily take you a full day to walk out. When the sun goes down you might be a real novelty for the bears, the wolves or, my friend, the cougar.
So I got this rifle, a .308 Browning that takes down in two pieces and a case that allows me to strap it to my motorcycle. As I told the RCMP officer who called me about my gun licence, I have no interest in killing anything. I just really, really don't want to be killed for want of an effective means of defending myself.
Rifles are one thing. Handguns are something else entirely. From what I've seen, most people really can't hit the side of a barn door with the damned things. They're not accurate beyond short ranges. Worse still, they seem to give their owners a dubious sense of power. I got me a Glock, so that makes me a certified Bad Ass. They're easily concealable. You can tuck them in your pants. That means the wrong sort of person can carry them undetected into places where they don't belong.
I don't have a problem with rifles (with the exception of assault rifles that also foster the Rambo mentality) but I see no justification for allowing people to possess handguns. I do recall a jurisdiction, Britain comes to mind, where shooters are permitted handguns but they have to be stored under lock and key at an approved shooting range. You go to the range, they hand you your handgun. You do your target shooting, clean your handgun, and return it to the range attendant who locks it up. If it's not returned, a call goes to the police. To me, that sounds fair.
I support a ban on handguns for those who have no demonstrated need for them. The sooner, the better. The Cons won't do it for fear it might offend their red-meat base. But the Cons aren't in power. Team Justin has the reins of power and they should take this opportunity to act.
Perhaps the horse has already left the barn. A US court has ruled it is permissible to post plans for a 3D printed gun online. What can you do if anyone with a 3D printer can manufacture an untraceable, easily disposable, cheap and reliable, single use handgun?