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?


Anonymous said...

Mound you crazy old gun nut I knew you were packing heat!

Jay Farquharson said...

Handguns are a restricted weapon in Canada.

The Mound of Sound said...

Packing heat, that's rich. The kids were over a few weekends ago. They wanted to know how long it would take me to get a rifle if an intruder came to my house. They bugged me enough that I gave in and then they timed it.

First I had to locate the keys to open my built-in gun locker. It cost a lot but it's like Fort Knox. The key is on a key chain with several other keys - garden shed, table saw and other locks. I rummaged around and found that keychain.

Then I had to locate two other keychains. One held keys to the cable and trigger locks on my rifles. Here's the thing. The trigger locks use keys that to the eye seem identical. Hilarity ensues.

The second keychain held keys for the padlocked ammunition boxes. A different box for each calibre of ammunition. Three boxes, unlabeled and otherwise identical. Three identical padlocks. Three identical-looking keys.

I knew by sight which key opened the gun locker. That was the easy part of the experiment, once I had located the key ring of course.

Then, once inside the gun locker, I chose the .308 Browning because it's my favourite. I found the key for the cable lock that secures all three rifles. I removed the Browning. Then I fiddled with the trigger lock keys until I found the right one.

Then I looked at the unmarked ammunition boxes. Remember - three locks, three seemingly identical keys. I chose a box and went at it. Two tries only to discover it held the .22 ammunition. Damn.

I picked another box. This time I had only two keys to worry about. Bingo. First time lucky. .308 ammo. I grabbed a box of 20 and headed to the livingroom where the kids were keeping time.

I didn't bother loading the rifle's magazine with four rounds of .308. I don't load firearms unless there's a purpose for it. Besides I shaved off a few seconds from the clock.

Then, to my enternal embarrassment my son-in-law called the time. With all the delays and rummaging around, trying this lock and that lock with this key and that key, getting the wrong ammo and then the right ammo, gathering up my gear and getting to the livingroom it came through at either just over 31 minutes or just under 32 minutes.

Now how's that for a Man of Action? Don't Tread on Me, buddy - not unless you give me plenty of advance notice.

The good part is that it took me a bit less than six minutes to secure everything and lock it all away.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, Jay, they are a restricted weapon. That takes an extra half-day of instruction at the gun safety course to qualify. And then you can go to Cabela's and load up. There are a lot of regulations for owning, storing and carrying those weapons but, from what I can tell, they're not stringently enforced. Some would say they're hardly enforced at all.

Jay Farquharson said...

Legal gun owners arn't much of a problem in Canada.

The illegal flow of guns from the US is a much bigger issue.

Bill said...

Any new law will be useless without a mandatory ten year ,no parole sentence for having a gun in your possession, unsecured and not hunting or target shooting. In other words having a hand gun in your pocket on a city street is a one way trip to jail.

the salamander said...

.. Way back back in the way before, we hunted black bear on Vancouver Island. I had no permit & did not need one, as I was backing up a permitted buddy who wanted a bear, and had a deer permit formAlberta as well.

I brought my 308 Browning lever action, (scoped) in case we had to crawl through the insane slash from clear cutting, inland of Tofino.. of course, torrential rain every day (it is temperate rain forest)

He was a bolt action scoped Ruger 270 cal guy for deer and bear. - and 99.9% of our time was local gun range tsr,ets at 100 to 400 & reload supplies. We saw one besr, it saw us first on a fire road.. sayonaro suckers, but he did bag a deer in the Alberta foothills and slugged it out.. left some for the bears and wolverines etc & brought the remains to Vancouver.. including a perfectly scraped deerhide.. for immediate salting - steaks, stew ensued and later he was off to Guelph via Toronto and took my rifle as well. By then I was serving prime rib at Charlie Brown's & that does not require such weaponry ever..

I had a sweet over under 12 gauge and a 22-250 varmit rife with a ridiculous scope.. hand loads for that beast.. and a prone 300 yard shot was stsndard.. As previously mentioned, sold em all for cameras and lenses. I can read a ballistics chart as well as I can read the daily tide charts.. never shot a bird in my life, never a deer, much less a moose or elk.. but I would walk the fence rows with the over/under Purdy and a retriever or Boivier de Flandres... that did not flinch at gunfire from puppyhood and any gunfire was aimed at a clu,p of asperagus.. or they came to our bi weekly trap shooting challenges and lay at my feet.

All firearms were gone by age 25 & I never looked back with any regret. No lockup requred back then.. and a 7 bedroom Century farmhouse had tons of nooks, closets, shelves where I could secrete ammo or guns.. or even behind gooseberry preserves or pickeled beets. Shotgun was hidden in the drive shed. 22-250 in the farmhouse, Mr Browning ? I'll never tell where I had it tucked.. and I had some serious binocs as well, hiding behind the west window drapes.. and a spotting scope for the rifle range. My buddy and I competed.. but I never beat him, and his varmit rifle ruled.

Hello Pentax, then Nilon, then Canon.. and it was depth of field charts - not ballistics

Toby said...

Legal gun owners are a problem in Canada. Ask anyone who works in the courts. One is a responsible gun owner until one isn't. A little bit of alcohol and/or a little bit of anger or simply a little recklessness is all it takes to become one of the bad guys. Then there are those who are careless with storage and the burglars get the guns.

Trailblazer said...

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...........

Consider, Bear spray.

I don't hike without it.


Trailblazer said...

Hello Pentax, then Nikon, then Canon.. and it was depth of field charts - not ballistics...........

Last time I hunted near Prince George I spent more time watching otters slide down a frozen bank onto the frozen lake , they were enjoying it a much as I enjoyed watching them.
I too changed to 'shooting' with a Nikon.
With my F2S ,motor drive and a big telephoto lens I could club an elephant to death!!.........If needed..

I walk ,locally , with someone that is paranoid of Bears and Cougars.
The bears are little problem , my dog and I bumped into a sow and two cubs last week ( only 20ft away).
I would be more concerned were it a cougar, that's where the bear spray comes in.
Were it the other type of cougar! my wife would shoot me!


The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, TB, and I think your wife's aim might be even better than your own.

Northern PoV said...

"I own firearms, three of them."

you and Hunter Thompson ....

The Mound of Sound said...

Yeah, NPoV, but I'm much to humble to own a magnum hog's leg.