Tag Archives: Domestic Violence

Why Do We Let People Keep Handguns in their Homes?

It was not that long ago that I actually thought it was illegal to own a handgun in Canada. I knew all kinds of people with shotguns and rifles, but I had never heard of anyone owning an actual handgun. Then a deranged and jealous man shot his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend a short drive from my house with a legally purchased handgun. A few days ago someone was convicted of first degree murder for shooting his girlfriend in St. John’s with a legally purchased handgun. I find it surprising that so many Canadians look at Americans as being a bunch of gun nuts but yet it is extremely easy to buy a handgun in Canada.

People have shotguns and hunting rifles for hunting. Hunting, particularly on the island of Newfoundland, is a good thing. Aside from providing healthy food for people, it helps control the moose population, which in turn lowers the risk of dying by crashing into a moose on the highway. The reason that people have handguns is that they really like shooting handguns.

As I understand it, people with handguns are only allowed to use them at shooting ranges. If you apply for a license to own a handgun and state that the reason why you want one is to keep it under your mattress so you can shoot intruders you would no doubt be turned down, but yet people who like shooting at the range are allowed to keep a handgun and ammunition in their home. If you are granted a permit to use a handgun at a shooting range then it would seem reasonable that the handgun should stay at the shooting range. You should have some kind of locker there and not be allowed to remove it or the bullets from the range.

I understand that there are background checks and if you have some kind of conviction for a violent offence you probably cannot own a handgun. The one blind spot in these regulations is that men who abuse women often do not have convictions for violent assaults. They are too cowardly to pick a fight with a man so they tend to seek out vulnerable women who won’t report abuse, and so they never end up with a violent conviction, not until it is too late.  There may be people out there right now who are not leaving an abusive relationship because they know their partner has a loaded handgun in the house and has threatened to use it.

If you are the type of person who really enjoys shooting handguns, I don’t think you are the type of person who should have a handgun in your house. Think about it, if you have a neighbour whose favourite hobby is shooting off handguns, would you feel comfortable with him having a loaded handgun in his house? I suspect you would feel much safer if the person had his gun locked up at the shooting range a 30 minute drive away on the Trans-Canada. Why would a responsible handgun owner have any objection to storing his guns at a licensed shooting range?