Protest first, ask questions later

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Canadians have the wrong idea when it comes to guns. Yes, I said it. Recently there has been a “call to arms” so to speak, when it comes to guns in Canada. People coming out of the woodwork to pressure the federal government to do something about guns.

As a Canadian citizen, this idea is shocking to me. I’m not denying that these things don’t happen, they do. Canada just doesn’t have the problem with gun control and mass gun related violence that the United States does. These mass shootings are primarily what I assume concerns the people in this movement.

Honestly, our current gun control system is optimal, if not already overbearing, and I can’t help but feel like only the people unfamiliar with guns and our current system are the ones trying to change policy.

To sum it up, in Canada you must take two separate gun safety classes if you want to begin the months-long process of getting a licence that will grant you the ability to purchase the allowed firearms in Canada. I took the classes this past weekend so that I could get an idea of what it was like, and see if this gun control movement had a valid foundation.

I found that I was nervous going into the classroom. There were no live weapons allowed, only prop guns that the instructor took just as seriously as real guns. By the end of the day I had handled so many different types of firearms I was no longer afraid of them; I understood their mechanics, understood the difficulty of handling them, and understood why we have the rules we have in the first place.

What I could not understand was needing more rules, because I didn’t see the guns as tools of a killer. I saw them as a bunch of moving pieces that required strict human discipline, a perspective which the mandatory course had certainly instilled.

I met the kind of people that shoot guns, and realized they are normal folks who follow the guidelines seriously for the sake of their hobby. They take it seriously because the rules we have in place are so stiff, they don’t want to lose their gun privilege for any reason.

In hindsight, I felt stupid for trying to avoid too many details when people asked “what are you doing this weekend” and I dodged with “oh, just some course thing.”

Now I feel proud knowing the systems we have in place to regulate firearms, and I think anyone in the debate should make sure they take this first step to understanding.

Alex Riehl

High School Student

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