Monday, February 2, 2009

B.C. Green Party: "Imagine Canadian Cities Without Guns

DATE: 2009.01.30
COLUMN: Jon Ferry
ILLUSTRATION: Photo: Damian Kettlewell, deputy leader of the B.C. Green Party, has started an urban anti-firearms campaign. ;
BYLINE: Jon Ferry
SOURCE: The Province

Restricting guns won't work; I don't see how limits will make public safer

As my mother always said, be sure to eat your greens. And I must say I haven't always agreed with her. In fact, most greens I've met have always seemed a little hard to digest. They're the kind of folks who believe cow farts help cause climate change. They also appear bent on turning Vancouver into a gun-free city, as well as a nuclear-free one.

Gun-free city? Yes, that's the plan of B.C. Green Party deputy leader Damian Kettlewell, 37, who tells me he hates guns, hates what they stand for and doesn't understand why people need them, especially in a modern, urban, cosmopolitan city like Vancouver. "Like how does it make a community better?" Kettlewell asks. "I understand that the police need guns and the army needs guns -- but citizens, why do they need guns?"

Well, to go target-shooting, hunting or to defend their property was my immediate thought. But then I don't hate guns, even though my brother-in-law killed himself with one. I don't hate them any more than I hate butcher knives. I just hate the sickos who use them in a bad way.

Now, I should explain here that Kettlewell, a Kits Point resident running in the new Vancouver-False Creek riding in the May provincial election, is not talking of an outright Vancouver city firearms ban.

Hunters could own guns. They'd just have to store them at a gun club and sign them out when they wanted to use them, with a plan of their intended activities -- as in "I'm going to Prince George to go hunting."

Kettlewell, a Burnaby pub operator, started his anti-firearms campaign on Facebook ("Imagine Canadian Cities Without Guns") two weeks ago. He ramped it up Wednesday on CKNW's Christy Clark Show.

So far, he says, the response has been overwhelmingly positive -- from people like my own boss, Province editor-in-chief Wayne Moriarty, who also doesn't see why anybody in an urban setting needs a gun.

Why is Kettlewell suggesting this now? Well, he believes that, if a no-guns-at-home law had been in place last year, his buddy Ben Banky, gunned down tragically at a company Christmas party, might still be alive today. And I sympathize with him for his terrible loss.

But as retired Simon Fraser University professor and firearms expert Gary Mauser points out, storing a number of weapons in one location is risky in its own right. "Gun clubs, because of noise regulations, have to be away from other houses, so they're a perfectly vulnerable target," he says. "Having a large set of guns being available for theft strikes me as a very impractical idea. It wouldn't help public safety."

Mauser, in fact, thinks the greens are paranoid about guns, as are many urban Canadians. Most rural folks grew up with firearms and are comfortable with them. I agree with him. Sure, allowing people to have guns on their own property can be dangerous. But so can letting them have cars, motorcycles, horses . . . and cows. Should we also ban them?


I can imagine Canadian cities without guns, In fact the day that happens is the day I become an agoraphobic living in a bunker. The streets will not be safe to walk anytime of day. Every thug an n'rr do well will have the Governments guarantee we are all disarmed and defenceless. What I can't imagine is the Canada that would enact and enable such legislation. What I can't imagine is that "WE THE PEOPLE" would swallow such baloney that removing guns from law abiding citizens is a good idea. That it would make the streets safe. Some things in life are just truism, like it or not it is just the way humans are wired. The words "An armed society is a polite society" happens to fall into that category. Bullies come in different shapes sizes and guises. They all bank on the fact that they can intimidate or cajole people with no worries because it comes down to this "What are you going to do about it?". Consider the proposition that if we all carried arms we would all be equal. It would not matter if we were experts in martial arts or near sighted grannies WE WOULD NOT BE VICTIMS of the strong.

I also take issue with people and organizations that keep peddling this idea. Not one of them has said "We are willing to put our money where our mouths are, and indemnify ourselves and guarantee the publics' safety." No of course not why would they? They can't see past their agenda. The belief that only Police and the Military need guns is a cop out after all if the "People" are disarmed why do the police need guns? it to protect us from the thugs and n'rr do wells that did not give up their guns? Which exposes the flaw of their plan, the truth is Canadian Cities will never be gun free. These people would only make the streets safe for criminals.

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