Current laws already prohibit the possession of unregistered handguns and some currently registered users would be exempt from the proposed Liberal ban. Police could continue to carry sidearms and groups such as target shooters would still be allowed to shoot.
As such, the ban could actually affect very few people. According to estimates by Edward Burlew, a gun user and lawyer who has done work with the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, the vast majority of handgun owners in the country are registered as target shooters.
He said that the ratio of target shooters to collectors is about 10 to 1 -- and that there are probably not many more than 3,000 handgun collectors, though he stressed that that figure is an estimate.
Mr. Burlew, who was unaware of the Liberal idea when he spoke last night, said individuals who want to own a handgun must already put up with a maze of regulations and costly fees.
"As gun owners, it takes a lot to be licensed," he said. "Handguns aren't cheap, if you want to be a competitive shooter . . . you're going to get a fairly decent gun. You're going to spend between $1,000 and $2,000."
The total cost, he said, including safety equipment and shooting-club membership, can easily run many times that. And the hassle of obtaining multiple licences can be exacerbated by sometimes-lengthy waiting times.
Among other things, target shooters must apply for an Authorization to Transport licence, which allows them to take their weapon -- unloaded, trigger-locked and in a secure box -- from their home to a registered shooting range. They must take the most direct route possible and bring their weapon home directly after. These guns cannot be stored at the club.
Handguns can also be purchased by collectors, but people who want to buy the weapon for that purpose must take a test to prove that they are bona fide collectors, Mr. Burlew said.
I'm sure that the denizens of Jane-Finch have been held back from starting an all-out Paris-style insurrection because of the stringency of restrictions placed on the use of their properly licenced handguns. I am also sure that the law-abiding folk whom they once terrorized will be able to sleep of nights, secure in the knowledge that the gangs have been completely disarmed.
Urban voters, especially women, who pride themselves on their sophistication, have a collective animistic belief that firearms turn peaceful, law-abiding handlers into bloodthirsty killers. They'll fall for this policy proposal, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, because of that belief.
The only way I can think of get the point across is to have someone like Vic Toews or Peter MacKay slam down a handgun and ammo on the table at a press conference and say this: "If this handgun loads and shoots itself in the next minute, then Paul Martin' handgun ban will work."
Globe and Mail