Firearms Owners Association
It is the recommendation of this Committee
to enhance the existing firearms licensing system ... The system will
feature a more robust screening process by permitting more direct police
involvement in the initial vetting of applicants.
Canada’s Astronauts Will Face Difficulty Possessing Firearms
With the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech, we are once again dismayed and saddened by the unconscionable loss of young lives. Once again, even before the shooter had been identified, we heard voices calling for more “gun control”. And once again, firearms and responsible firearm owners are being made the scapegoat for the inexplicable.
In Canada Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day is proposing an enhanced firearms licensing system which he assures us will prevent the tragedy of mass shootings.
Yet the “new” Conservatives’ licensing system is simply the “old” Liberals’ licensing system under a new, “enhanced” name. This system only provides a list of those citizens the government considers worthy enough to be permitted to own a firearm.
But Minister Day proudly declares, “The enhanced system will feature a more robust screening process.”
How ironic. The first people most likely to be denied a federal firearms license will be Canada’s astronauts.
What could possibly be a “more robust screening process” than the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s system for screening NASA astronauts? Yet in February 2007 NASA Astronaut Marie Nowak - whose biography and career résumé reads like any parent’s dream for their kid - was arrested and charged with carrying a knife, a BB gun, pepper spray, latex gloves and rubber tubing and assaulting a romantic rival in a parking lot. Subsequently NASA dropped Ms. Nowak for the space corps and is reviewing its psychological screening and checkup process. Officials said, however, that Ms. Nowak’s behavior had not raised concerns and that she had been at work preparing for her job at mission control for the next shuttle flight.
If NASA cannot adequately screen applicants who, if successful, will fly into space with some of the most advance technology known to mankind, how does Minister Day presume to assure Canadians that his new enhanced screening system will make Canadians safer?
Consider Marc Garneau who became the first Canadian in space, spent 15 years as a NASA astronaut, flew on three space missions, and logged over 677 hours in space. Mr. Garneau was a NASA cohort of Ms. Nowak. Obviously, Mr. Day’s new robust system would have to reject this former NASA astronaut.
Professor Gary Mauser of Simon Fraser University, one of the foremost Canadian authorities on crime control, states, “The best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour.” Subjecting responsible citizens to ever more invasive screening techniques will not make Canadians safer. If our government were truly serious about decreasing violent crime, Mr. Harper would focus our national energies on tracking convicted violent criminals. We need a Firearms Prohibition Registry - a registry of persons convicted of violent crime - not a bogus enhanced screening system.
Continually disarming responsible citizens will only make us more vulnerable to mass shootings.
Edward B. Hudson DVM, MS