COLUMN: Robson – A novel idea….A law against bullets travelling through air.

- July 25th, 2012

Gun laws mean nothing to criminals

By John Robson

Here’s my solution to gun violence: A law against bullets travelling through air.

Now right-thinking persons are liable to object that bullets don’t obey laws. OK, then, why do those same right-thinking persons want a ban on handguns even though criminals don’t obey laws?

I shouldn’t have to say criminals don’t obey the law, that in fact the very definition of a criminal is someone who doesn’t obey the law. But, curiously, the vast academic endeavour known as criminology seems to exist primarily to dispute, ignore or talk around this awkward fact.

When you look at the recent spate of shootings in Toronto and Ottawa, what jumps out at the ordinary person is they were done by scofflaws. Indeed, they were done by people already in breach of … gun laws. You see, to possess a handgun in Ontario you are obliged (I paraphrase the Canadian Sport Shooters Association fact sheet) to submit to a very thorough background check.

For instance, you have to report all your “conjugal partners in the last two years” so your bitter ex-girlfriends can tell the cops whether you should be wandering about packing heat. You also have to list all the times you actually remember being reported to the police or social services for violence, threatened or attempted violence in the past five years.

In case you’re a little hazy on some of those incidents, or unduly modest in recounting them, you also have to submit to a criminal record background check by the local police, OPP, RCMP, CSIS and Interpol, who will examine all convictions, charges and mere inquiries going back to your pimply teens. Only once you’ve been through that wringer are you clean enough to be presented for a final check by the province’s Chief Firearms Officer, an individual not generally noted for his “what the heck” attitude to citizens reaching for a heater.

In case urban sophisticates need all that summarized in plain language, these thugs are already banned from owning the guns they’re blasting away with. So what’s the point in double-banning it? Is it like a schoolyard double-dare or something?

The point, I fear, is a weird faith of the high-minded in government’s ability to shape our lives. It’s weird because they mock “tough on crime” proposals on the grounds that criminals don’t respond to incentives like the typical York University professors of political science one meets at parties.

Modern liberals laugh at the notion of throwing the book at people who steal cars, burgle homes, deal drugs or fire handguns because poverty and marginalization cause these little pranks, not a rational assessment (stupid and mean, but rational) that it might be fun and profitable and if you get caught you’ll probably just get a tap on the wrist. So if we throw the book at people who smuggle handguns, sell them on the black market or carry them without a permit, it’s going to work because ….

Actually the liberals’ minds don’t seem to work that way. Instead, they apparently think the state can haughtily proclaim “Let there be alternative energy” or “Handguns begone” and superior virtue will make it happen without any of that tedious mucking about with cause and effect.

So back to my proposal to ban bullets travelling through air. See, then they’d have to go through water, which is much denser and would stop them way sooner. Provided the bad guys are willing only to fire them inside swimming pools, aquariums, oceans and properly filled bathtubs.

The key virtue of my idea is it’s openly ridiculous so it won’t distract us from our search for sensible solutions. Whereas a law against criminals doing illegal things is … Hey, wait a minute.

These guys are all wet too.

Categories: Contributor Columns, Politics

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