Monday, August 9, 2010

Coming out of the gun closet

Post 1.

Actually I “came out” quite a few years ago. Lesson learned, if you act like what you do is wrong, then people will build on that feeling even if there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. I thought I would do a series of posts to explain to the lay person about guns, gunowners, statistics, politics and laws of Canada. I will try to do it by the questions I am often asked. I hope you find the information and the format useful.

1. Question; Why do you own a gun?
Simple and short answer, I like them, I like shooting them, figuring out how they work and trying to hit the target. I also own some for protection from predators while I work and hike. Some people own guns for self-defence, yes even in Canada and it’s not as illegal as you think, this subject though deserves a post of itself. Which I will do later.

2. Question: Why do people collect guns?
For the same reasons people collect music boxes, banks, coins, cars, spoons, hockey cards, stamps or any other manner of things. Guns can be a good representation of the culture they came from, a German Luger is a complex piece made in that old world craftsman sort of way, each piece hand fitted to the next, a Russian TT-33 is rough, strong and no nonsense, similar to the Soviet Union that produced them. Each one has a story to tell. The mechanics of how it works, how it came to be is fascinating. Imagine something that has to move easily, suddenly absorb and lock up 50,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and then release itself and cycle another bullet smoothly to repeat, all using a simple spring, a chemical reaction and some mechanical advantage.
Many people collect guns from certain periods of history, some are early 17th century, others the Napoleonic period. The end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th saw a blizzard of new designs and new ideas, each causing the ones just before it to be obsolete, similar in nature to the lightening fast development of the personal computer. As mentioned each design and type reflects the culture and the technology of the period and place it came from.

3. Question; How many gun owners in Canada?
An excellent question with a less than clear answer. Under the current licensing system (PAL) there were 1,863,356 licensed firearm owners in Canada as of 2008. Yet in around 1995 there was close to 4 million firearm holders under the old system (FAC) almost half of the gun owners in Canada refused to comply with the new system, one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in our history and not a note of it in the media, interesting eh? There is also approx. 4,000 firearm businesses in Canada to support them, the majority being small family owned businesses.

The next post in this series
Part II
Part III

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