It’s sometimes astonishing that Canada and the US are in the same continent. The share so much history and culture and stuff, but in some gigantically enormous ways they are completely alien to us. Ya, there’s this whole douche-bagger or trash-bagger or tea-bagger thing; or whatever they call themselves. I can’t even being to understand what’s been polluting their drinking water. But that’s just a few really loud crazies. What always really strikes me is the American attitute toward guns.
This “open carry” thing in particular is mighty strange. Open carry means you’re allowed to carry a gun, openly, as you go about your daily business. So you wear your Glock as you drop off the kids at daycare, get your groceries, go to the gym and on Sundays, you and hubby tuck your his-and-hers Smith & Wessons into your dressiest holsters and trot off to church.
This sounds so bizarre and foreign to me, but apparantly the majority of states allow “non-prohibited” citizens to openly carry a loaded handgun without any special licenses or permits. Other states allow citizens to carry loaded weapons openly or concealed with a state-issued permit. Only 7 states and the District of Columbia do not allow the open carry of firearms.
All this openess is relatively recent — I guess since terrorists started runnin amok in the USA. There are a few groups protesting it, but two-thirds of Americans are not only comfortable with this regression to the days of gunslingers but believe their constitution should guarantee them the right to “bear arms”.
The FBI estimates that there are over 200 million privately-owned firearms in the US – that doesn’t include guns owned by police, military and security personnel. Approximately 80 million people in the US own guns and the average gun owner usually owns several firearms including pistols, shotguns, and rifles of all makes and models.
Interestingly, Canada has about the same number of guns per capita as the US. We do not, however, have the inherent “right to bear arms” and most of our guns are not hand guns. We need a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) to own a gun for hunting or target shooting or collecting, but it’s pretty much impossible to get a permit to own a gun for self-defense. Every gun has to be registered as well as licensed, although there are a few issues with our gun registry.
In Canada, only occupation-related circumstances are considered valid reasons to own and/or carry a handgun (i.e.: armoured vehicle personnel).
One of the segments of our physical education classes in high school each year was rifle-shooting, (we were all farmers). We had a small range under one of the stairwells. That’s about the only time I’ve ever handled a gun of any sort. It was fun to blast away at some paper targets, but the idea of wearing a loaded hand gun all day and walking around among a bunch of other people carrying loaded hand guns is freaky.
I don’t understand what these gun-toting people are so afraid of. I don’t recall any time in my life so far (knock wood) where a gun would have come in handy. I know stuff happens to people sometimes, but what are the odds that even if you’re carrying a gun, that you’ll be able to use it successfully to defend yourself?
There are so many variables:
- Could you shoot a human being even in self-defense? It’s easy to say yes, but not always easy to do, I understand.
- If someone bigger and stronger than you or a group of people is attacking you, how likely is it that they’ll overpower you and take your gun?
- Could you get your gun out and the safety off in time to defend yourself?
- How likely is it that you’re the one who’s going to end up shot?
The level of gun ownership world-wide is directly related to murder and suicide rates and specifically to the level of death by gunfire. ~ Gun Control Network
Personally, I think we should all be permitted to carry small paintball guns which we can use against anyone who annoys us or pisses us off during the course of a day.
- The lady in the 8-items-or-less express line ahead of you has a cart full of groceries? Pop her in the back of her new perm with a purple paintball.
- Cashier is igoring you while talking on the phone to her boyfriend? Pop her in the forehead with a blue paintball.
- Cell phone dude finds out you still have a year left on your plan so laughs off your request for a phone to replace the one you just bought that broke right away? Pop him in the groin with a yellow paintball.
- Cyclist almost knocks you off the sidewalk as he’s speeding by? Pop him in the back with a big, black paintball.
- Drunken college gang hooting and hollering outside your door at 3:00 am? Hit them all with a mad volley of multi-coloured paintballs.
I can’t tell you how many, many times I’ve wished I had something like that – just to emphasize a point when someone is being particularly belligerent or rude. I think it would really help to shape up the service industry and to make us all a little more polite.
What’s your attitude or experience with guns? And for the Americans out there — do you often see people wandering around the streets wearing pistols?