The Trudeau Liberals are ignoring overwhelming data and rigorous science to push a political agenda at the expense of funding policies proven to save lives.
Right now, across the country, millions of law-abiding firearms owners are writing to Liberal Members of Parliament, pleading not to pursue a policy which will cost billions of tax dollars without saving a single life. Their correspondence is thoughtful, and the detailed arguments are evidence-based. They are pointing out countless studies and peer-reviewed papers, but they are being ignored and dismissed.
The Liberal Party of Canada long ago calculated it could win power without the votes of firearms owners. As a consequence, Liberals have tuned out the concerns of firearms owners. When powerful institutions, such as political parties, exclude groups of Canadians from participation in policy making, then all Canadians suffer from weak policy. When the Liberals stopped listening to law-abiding firearms owners, they also stopped listening to the science of firearms policy. The inevitable result is the Trudeau Liberals are preparing to direct billions of dollars to a scientifically discredited but politically popular policy at the expense of a policy proven to save lives.
At this point, the Liberals will only listen to Canadians who do not own firearms. If you believe in science and evidence-based policy making, you must speak up for it. If you do not own a firearm your voice could save lives, if you speak out now. It is not too late, but time is running out. Armed with the facts and evidence, perhaps you can convince Liberal Members of Parliament to change course and follow the science. At the end of this article there is a form you can use to email a Liberal MP, but first the facts.
Supply Vs Demand
The Liberals’ Firearms Confiscation Plan is based on an academic hypothesis popularized in the 1990s called “general firearm availability theory”. The ‘theory’ assumes the more firearms in a population, the more firearms injuries will occur. The thinking follows that if governments reduce the supply of firearms it will save lives. Unfortunately for proponents of this supply-side theory, after twenty years, the evidence to support it has never materialized.
Even Canada’s Department of Justice, in a review of the scientific literature on firearms, found general firearm availability theory lacking.
“…research has so far been unable to adequately specify, theoretically or empirically, the nature of the link between firearms and violence… the presence of violence can be conceptualized as either the cause or the result of the increased prevalence of firearms in some societies.”
At this point the science is overwhelmingly clear. Measures to restrict the supply of legally owned firearms in Canada have not saved a single life. A paper by Dr. Caillin Langmann, “Effect of firearms legislation on suicide and homicide in Canada from 1981 to 2016”, revealed none of Canada’s firearms laws have resulted in lives saved. While firearms laws may have reduced the rate of suicide by firearm, it also increased the rate of suicide by hanging. The homicide rate was not affected.
Since policies to limit the supply of firearms have failed to reduce deaths and injuries, how effective have policies to limit the demand for violence been? A study of twelve U.S. jurisdictions which implemented Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiatives found “a significant decline in gun homicide rates post-intervention”. A Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative focuses on suppression (enforcement), prevention, and reentry. The policy brings together law enforcement, criminal justice agencies, city governments, social service providers, community groups, and schools. By funding aggressive interventions in the lives of young gang members the policy reduced the demand for violence.
These comprehensive anti-gang policies are not foreign to Canada. The Harper Government launched the Youth Gang Prevention Fund in 2006, and the Trudeau Liberals promised to increase funding for anti-gang policies in the last election.
The problem is even if they keep their promise, they will spend 20 times as much on their confiscation plan to limit supply than they will on polices to reduce demand. They will re-direct police officers from life-saving work to administer their confiscation program. The hundreds of millions of tax dollars spent buying old rifles from retired hunters will not save a single life. Re-directing that money to comprehensive anti-gang programs will save lives.
Contact You MP
If you do not own a firearm and you live in a Liberal held riding, you have the power to save lives.
Tell your MP to follow the science.
Ask them to stand up in caucus and fight for evidence-based polices.
The facts show firearms confiscations programs are expensive failures.
Use the funds to save lives with proven comprehensive anti-gang policies instead.