Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association
Association canadienne des propriétaires d’armes sans permis

A Cancer of the Soul

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Speech to protest Bill C-68 (now called The Firearms Act)

Fed Up II Rally on Parliament Hill
22 September 1998

I want to start my remarks by saying "Thank you" ---to Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Now, before you start booing me off the stage, let me explain why I’m thanking him. It’s because his ingratiating attitude towards dictator Suharto, and his arrogant attitude towards the protesters at last year’s APEC summit meeting have brought home to Canadians, in a very vivid way, the dangers of tyrannical government, and the very thin line we walk between freedom and despotism.

Tyranny isn’t a subject that many people feel comfortable talking about these days. It’s almost considered impolite. We like to think that we’ve become so civilized that we don’t have to worry about such things.

But it was only 111 years ago that Lord Acton issued his famous warning: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." I don’t think human nature has changed much in those 111 years. The events of this century have proven it. Hitler’s absolute power killed at least 6 million. Stalin’s at least 12 million. Mao’s probably 20 million. Pol Pot in tiny Cambodia, at least 1.5 million. There have also been genocides in this century in Turkey, Uganda, and Guatemala, not to mention recent events in Rwanda and Bosnia.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Canadians aren’t a different species than the Russians or the Chinese. There are some who would behave no differently than Stalin or Mao if the conditions were right—or I should say, wrong.

I’m concerned about Bill C-68--and for that matter, all gun control laws—because I can’t figure out what they’re good for. When you examine all the justifications the government gives for gun control, one by one, each and every one crumbles into dust.

Take suicides, for example. Will gun control reduce them? Of course not. Japan has had strict gun control for decades, and has only one-sixtieth the number of guns per capita that Canada has, yet its suicide rate is higher.

What about accidents? About 60 Canadians die in gun accidents each year. But consider this: more than twice as many people die accidentally from medical treatment every year, and we don’t consider that a crisis. Almost 5 times as many people drown each year, but we don’t outlaw swimming pools. More than 30 times as many people die in falls each year, but we’re not banning split-level or two-storey houses. Don’t you find it curious that the government is more concerned about the safety of gun owners than about the sick, the elderly, or children?

Finally, what about murders? Will gun control reduce them? Dream on. Criminals who intend to commit a serious crime like murder won’t mind committing a little extra crime like possessing a prohibited weapon. As speakers John Lott and Gary Mauser will tell you, it may turn out that by preventing the use of guns for self-defence, gun control will result in higher crime rates and more deaths.

The evidence is so overwhelming that gun control won’t produce any of the benefits it’s supposed to produce, that I question how any honest person who’s given the matter even a modicum of thought, could possibly believe in it.

Which leads me to one conclusion: the real reason governments love gun control is because it is good for one thing, and one thing only: enhancing state power. As Chairman Mao said, (and who would know better than him?): "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."

I find the attitudes of most Canadian officials downright frightening these days. We’re told we can’t have weapons to defend ourselves against criminals—not even something non-lethal like pepper spray, as speaker Judith Ross just mentioned. "The police will protect you," the government tells us. But that’s ridiculous. The police aren’t there when a crime is in progress. Criminals plan it that way.

But aside from not protecting us, it’s becoming more and more common these days for police to be victimizing us. Canadian SWAT teams have mistakenly killed at least four people, and wounded several more, over the past thirteen years. They have broken into the homes of innocent people, sometimes without even the excuse of a warrant. They’ve beaten people who have no connection to crime. They’ve lied in court about their actions. Police officers responsible for destroying seized weapons have stolen the guns themselves. Later today, John St. Amour, the proprietor of Marstar Trading Company, will tell you about his alarming treatment at the hands of the police.

Then we have the famous statement of Allan Rock, the former Justice Minister and architect of Bill C-68, who said: "I came to Ottawa with the firm belief that the only people in this country who should have guns are police officers and soldiers."

Sorry, Mr. Rock, but if ever there were a good start towards a police state, that has to be it.

We are being asked to give up our means of defence in return for a promise of protection from the very people most likely to become our oppressors.

Please, for the sake of your freedom and mine, don’t give up the fight against this terrible law.

© 1998 Karen Selick
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