I was scheduled to go to a pistol match on the Saturday before the last Federal Election, but I cancelled out. Instead, I cleared my schedule and spent the entire weekend dedicated to my candidate’s GOTV efforts. The recent polls had me worried. When I told the match organizer what I was doing, as well as my friends at the match, they shrugged. Election? I’d rather go out shooting.
It seems that the recent political successes that Canadian gun owners have enjoyed has also lulled us into complacency. The bad old days of Alan Rock and Kim Campbell are gone for good. Or so many think.
I got the same apathetic reaction from a fellow shooter while discussing politics over a beer. He told me that Harper has to go. He’s too annoying. I told him that Stephen Harper has been the best friend Canadian gun owners have ever had. He got rid of the long-gun registry - the lack of which is a significant obstacle to any future gun-grab scheme - and he cut useless red tape meant only to harass shooters. My friend said he will vote Conservative - like he always does - but he thinks the Conservatives need a new leader.
I responded that loyalty is an important virtue in politics – both for politicians and the voters. Nothing can be achieved without it. Whatever Harper’s faults (and I agree they became increasingly manifest in his last few years in office), he has been steadfastly loyal to shooters. In response, we needed to come through for him. Because if we don’t - and by come through, I mean donating and volunteering, as well as just voting – why would anybody else champion our cause in the future?
Well, what I feared might happen is beginning. The Federal Election was held on Oct 19. From a press release from the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA), dated merely five days later:
“THE RCMP TEST THE WATERS ON THE FIRST NEW ROUND OF FIREARM PROHIBITIONS.
October 24, 2015 – As reported by CSSA in the last several months, the RCMP has been eager to impose new prohibitions on semi-automatic rifles at the earliest opportunity.
Little known to most firearm owners, an unsuccessful attempt was made by the RCMP’s Canadian Firearms Program to prohibit the common-as-dirt SKS rifle, a non-restricted firearm imported into Canada by the hundreds of thousands over the last 40 years. Its solid reliability, inexpensive ammo and very reasonable price have made it a stalwart in a large portion of Canadian gun safes. Every year, thousands of game animals are humanely harvested and millions of rounds of ammunition are sent downrange by this humble firearm.
Yet, one broken gun sold by a large retail store sparked an all-out pogrom against the ubiquitous rifle by the RCMP. Some adroit stick handling prevented this from achieving fruition and while the tale is not well known by consumers, it is common knowledge in the firearm industry. As is often the case, lobbying is a prophylactic exercise where success is measured by what doesn't happen.
The story below – reported by the CBC – is the opening salvo in an attempt by the RCMP’s Firearms Program to ban the following firearms: the SKS, the Ruger Mini-14/Mini-30, the Tavor TAR 21, the CZ-858 and the Norinco M-305 rifles.
Do not ignore this message and do not be fooled by political rhetoric. THIS IS REAL, and the storm is only beginning.”
That old phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is nowhere more true than in politics.
All I can say is that my conscience is clear, but I wonder how other Canadian gun owners can sleep well at night.