There’s no doubt: A national ban on handguns would save lives
There are many explanations for a recent spike in gun violence over a long hot weekend in Toronto, with 17 people injured in 14 separate shootings, and five more shootings a week later.
Some of them are well-argued, others are arguable and some of them go almost unmentioned.
The causes of this particular human misery include poverty, gangs, legal guns being easily stolen, smuggled guns, lack of education, illegal drug use, and empty spans of time combined with summer heat, and, as always, cruelty. All of these can overlap to do even more damage.
Although gun deaths up to July 29 are at a three-year low, it doesn’t feel that way.
The Toronto Star reports that 18 people had been shot to death, down from 30 by that time last year (including those shot by the Danforth gunman) and 20 by that point in 2017. We don’t know what the rest of 2019 will bring.
But this isn’t a wave of “youth crime.” These are young men.
Polite headlines referring to “people” obscure this fact. When a young woman fires a gun, it’s an anomaly, the exception that proves the rule.
Men shooting into crowded nightclubs, driving the streets aiming to execute a rival, firing into public parks where children play, that’s standard now.
I have often written about the need for gun control in Canada, as a reminder that men use guns to threaten, wound, stalk and kill women. Misogyny is ingrained but guns make it easier to act on it. A Canada-wide handgun ban would save many lives, as would a ban on assault weapons.
Many men agree, which helps because feminism will only succeed if men and women work together for equal rights. It’s a betrayal that the federal government has decided against this.
I heard from men, but no women, after a recent column favouring a national handgun ban. These readers, some of them American, like handguns. They emailed to tell me this at great length.
I don’t understand why they think I should find this relevant. There are many things I would likely enjoy: Recreational morphine; shooting coyotes (with arrows, to make it more even); jet-skiing drunk; and I’m just getting started. But I don’t do them because they’re bad for me personally and a threat to others.
Gunnery is strange as well as superfluous. I don’t oppose hunting for food, but imagine going to a shooting range for pleasure. Sandy Hook killer Adam Lanza did that. With his mother.
Wouldn’t a game of darts satisfy the urge to aim at something very carefully and hit it dead-on? If it’s gunfire they like, perhaps say “Bang!” But sport shooters wear protective earwear to block that very noise. I remain mystified.
Boys, habituated to gaming and guns, are raised to think they’re entitled to whatever they like, as girls emphatically are not. These boys grow up less able to cope with adulthood and its strictures. These men are incredulous that I object to their guns and don’t see that women might have a particular point to make.
I was informed that gun laws won’t work because criminals would buy smuggled U.S. guns. Again, I say men will break the law, which is no reason to abandon laws. To those who say not all men, I agree. Any law against handguns would only affect men with handguns. Other men would spend their days as I do, happy to live in a slightly safer Toronto.
The gun debate follows gun-owners’ talking points, many of which are absurd.
First, I will repeat that a handgun will be unhelpful once the grizzly is within range. Second, American laws are irrelevant.
A government’s first duty is to protect citizens from violent death.
As the mayor and prime minister discussed on Tuesday, one path is to give young men places to go and things to do in a world where guns make wealth look easy. Another way is to ban guns, these small wretched male toys radiating death.