Susan D in Ottawa, Canada: Safety – Guns

12 May

The sun is out and it is snowing and there is a frost warning, and I have just watered the newly fertilized cedar hedge in my winter coat and hat.  But there seems to have been some good news in Canada to take our minds off COVID-19.

Canada is not known for its gun related violence, unlike our neighbour to the South.  Although there have been grievous incidents they have been infrequent.  The recent mass shooting in Nova Scotia was a shock.  On the first of May, the Prime Minister announced an immediate ban on some 1,500 makes and models of military-grade “assault-style” weapons in Canada.  “These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.  There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.”

Since the announcement there has been sniping from the opposition that this will be a costly (owners will be recompensed for turning in prohibited guns), but limited (the policy covers only specified guns) and largely ineffective policy (inadequate control of the high level of gun smuggling of guns across the US Canada border).  But it is one step, even if a small one. 

We have regular reminders in the news about the gun situation in the US.  But what remains foremost in my mind is the experience of my daughter in Florida some years ago.  Concerned about the drug problem at the local school, she researched alternatives for her daughter at the end of her Montessori schooling years.  The school she selected put a significant financial burden on the family, but she felt it was the best choice for her serious, studious daughter.  Several weeks into the new school year, a recently terminated teacher returned to the school with a guitar case containing an assault rifle.  He killed the principal, he killed himself, and he killed the sense of security my daughter had sought for her child.  So I am happy with all moves the Canadian government makes to reduce gun violence, especially when there are so very many demands upon the public purse due to COVID-19.

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