Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Guns in Canada

We Canadians contribute to being members of a pathetic nation. That may be a harsh thing to say and maybe it’s not a popular opinion to state, but it is nonetheless true. What better place to live where major government expenditures and changes are made without any consultation from the people? What citizens from a first world country would sit back and allow its government to spend billions to remove its people’s freedoms? And all for the sake of popular vote! Sounds like Canada to me.

I’m speaking of the firearms laws. Is there anyone out there with a shred of common sense that actually believes that further control and limiting of the freedoms of law-abiding citizens will reduce crime? We have spent billions to make it more difficult for people to purchase firearms. Have we really made it more difficult for criminals to get them? Wouldn’t have those dollars been more wisely spent on health care?

I have taken the training, paid the fees and completed the requirements that give me the right to purchase unrestricted firearms, something that any Canadian citizen without a criminal record can do. When it comes to importing unrestricted firearms, according to the ONLY publication that is available at any of the border crossings in British Columbia, a person simply requires their Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) and the willingness to pay the appropriate fees in order to import the non-restricted firearm. The efforts we as individuals put into attaining the PAL are supposedly the key.

I was afraid that it couldn’t be that simple so I got online and looked up all the information I could find. Everything corroborated with what I already understood. I didn’t stop there though. I took the time to go over the issue with a customs officer. I showed him my PAL and he verified that it was indeed as simple as the pamphlet stated.

Fearful, but confident, I bought a hunting rifle while in the US and brought it across the border prepared for success. To make a long story short, the rifle is sitting locked up at the Sumas border crossing waiting for me to complete the appropriate paper work (paperwork that I as yet have no access to and have no information about). When I asked if I could get the forms to fill out, I was informed that they were not available and it was not the customs official’s responsibility to provide them. So far, I have been unable to locate the mystery forms.

According to published propaganda, the customs officers are there to help you solve customs issues in the citizen’s best interest. I hate to say it, but there is nothing further from the truth. In my personal experience (and I cross the border about ten times a year) every case where understanding or help has been sought, the solution has always been confiscation, fees and, in some cases, fines.

Hopefully, when I am finished my research I will be able to find the forms that only this one customs officer seems to know about, fill them out and then drive the sixteen hundred Km round trip to retrieve something that is already rightfully mine and something that I already have the right to possess and transport. In the event that this customs officer is mistaken do you think our government will be willing to reimburse my time and the cost of my travels? If you as a Canadian citizen cannot see that it is unjust to arbitrarily change laws and then without informing anyone that they exist, begin to enforce them, then I am truly afraid for the future of this country.

If the purpose of the new gun laws has been to streamline the system and to correctly identify those people who are and who are not a threat to society, it has been a multibillion-dollar failure. We are pathetic because we would allow billions to be spent on setting up a system of laws and bureaucracy that doesn’t do what it has been set out to do. We stand dumbly by and shrug while our hard earned dollars are stripped from us and then spent, not in our best interests, but by a government whose only interest is in increasing its share of the popular vote.

In Canada we find it so easy to blame everyone but the guilty individual. That’s why if my car is stolen or if my house is broken into, I am asked first if the doors and windows were locked or whether the keys were readily available. It is as if by letting my guard down I am somehow responsible for someone else’s criminal behaviour. Why can we not place the blame squarely on the shoulders of those who deserve it? In Canada I don’t have to wait to be a criminal to be punished and discriminated against, I can do that simply by being Canadian. Shouldn’t we who are innocent and law abiding be able to live with the utmost freedoms? Isn’t that the main reason we choose to live in Canada? It certainly isn’t for prosperity.