/Yes, it is our business now

Yes, it is our business now

From Shaman’s Rock

By Jim Poling Sr.

There are times when we must risk the consequences and tell a friend that he or she is doing wrong. Canada has reached one of those times.

It’s time for Justin Trudeau, the prime minister who falls in love with every microphone and camera he meets, to tell U.S. President Joe Biden to get aggressive and take real action to end his country’s gun insanity.

Mind your own business, Biden and other Americans likely will say.

Unfortunately, it has become our business. The U.S. gun obsession is pouring hundreds of illegal guns into our country where they are being used in crimes. Crimes in which Canadians are dying.

Ontario police data shows that 73 per cent of guns used in Ontario crimes come from the United States. 

Toronto, which had more than 300 shootings last year, is a major destination for guns smuggled from the U.S. 

“Our problem in Toronto [is] handguns from the United States,” Toronto Police Service Deputy Chief Myron Demkiw told Canadian parliamentarians during hearings on gun violence in February 2022. Eighty-six per cent of crime handguns that were able to be sourced were from the United States, he said.

Just a week or so ago police busted a gun smuggling ring and seized 173 firearms, many of them handguns. Most were being smuggled from the United States.

Three of the firearms possessed by the man who shot and killed 22 Nova Scotians in 2020 were smuggled from Maine in the back of his pickup truck.

Guns from the U.S. often are smuggled by trucks or boats, but innovative ways of transport also are being used. Last year police in southern Ontario recovered from a tree a drone carrying 11 smuggled handguns.  

Statista Research reports that in 2021 the U.S. gun industry manufactured 13.8 million new firearms. Some were sold to other countries, some were smuggled into countries like Canada and the rest stayed in the U.S. where roughly 40,000 people a year are killed with guns.

Already this year, which is not yet four months old, there have been 13,000 gun deaths in the U.S., almost 10,000 injuries and 162 mass shootings. Those are not up-to-date figures because people are shot and wounded or killed almost every hour in the U.S.

American politicians have been unwilling or unable to legislate strict controls on firearms, including semi-automatic assault style rifles that shoot bullets capable of piercing body armour. They won’t act because too many of them fear losing their seats, although a majority of Americans say they favour stricter gun controls.

Fear is what drives America’s obsession with guns. They feared “Indian attacks” during the almost 400 years it took to colonize a continent owned and occupied by Indigenous peoples. They feared uprisings and attacks between opposing forces during and after the 1860s civil war.

Today Americans fear being victims of street violence, so they arm themselves with more guns. Almost one-half of Americans own at least one firearm, and not because they enjoy hunting or target shooting.

Many Americans own and carry a handgun because they feel they need to protect themselves against fellow Americans. 

Many do not have enough firearms knowledge and training to handle anything more than a cap gun. Several hundred a year accidentally shoot themselves. 

Take the reported case of the Georgia guy who shot himself in the leg while holstering his pistol as he dressed for an outing. The outing? He was going for an hour or two of relaxation at his favourite cigar lounge. 

Why anyone would need a SIG Sauer P320 pistol on his belt to go to a cigar lounge is beyond comprehension.

Suggesting Trudeau complain to Biden about lack of action on American gun insanity is probably not a great idea. Even if followed it would not achieve much.

Some Americans are suggesting that one way to get action is to boycott school attendance. Stop sending kids to school until lawmakers pass effective gun control laws.

Boycotts? Now there’s an idea. Maybe boycotting American products, visits and other contact is something for Canadians to consider as a way of protesting how U.S. gun production is killing Canadians.