Hot! Gun control is everybody’s concern

TheStar.com – Opinion/Lettere – Re: Both sides reload: ‘This fight isn’t over,’ Sept. 23
Published On Sun Sep 26 2010.
S

ylvia Putz

I’d like Stephen Harper to know that I am one of many Canadians who was relieved that the gun registry is still in place. How he came to the conclusion that rural gun owners will never accept a registry because they won’t accept being treated as “criminals” is beyond me.

First, registering a gun would not make any person I know (and I know many rural folks, having family who live in the country) feel like a criminal. Like driving a car or purchasing alcohol, there are certain requirements in place to reduce the risk of harm.

Likewise, owning a gun requires the owner to care for that gun so that the likelihood of harm, either by accident or as a result of the gun being stolen, is reduced. I would hope that most reasonable people would accept a minor loss of “freedom” (such as registering in a gun registry) as the means through which we begin to create a safe society, not as an activity that criminalizes them.

Second, I don’t think polarizing voters as “rural” or “urban,” as Harper appears to be doing for political gain, is terribly productive. Gun control to protect us all, as well as possible, from harm through careless, criminal or accidental use of a firearm is everybody’s business, whether urban or rural.

As for this gun registry, it is not a magic solution to end gun violence. It needs improvement, and it is only one small part of a bigger problem (i.e., cross-border gun smuggling and gang violence). But it is one step in the right direction. It has helped the police do their work, and ideally it helps keep guns out of the wrong hands.

May the registry improve to do its part of the job combatting gun violence until, in a perfect world, it is no longer needed.

Sylvia Putz, Toronto

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