Informed opinion needed

Re. Jenine Tespa’s letter Stop selling guns (Castanet, April 19)

I read through Jenine Tespas letter and agree with Dan Shemley, who wrote in to Castanet as well.

Tespa’s letter demonstrates a lack of understanding and knowledge regarding firearms use, as well as laws in Canada. My understanding is Tespa has confused firearms issues in the United States and Canada. Making false claims and holding opinions that are not based on facts is harmful to the rights and responsibilities of licenced firearms owners in Canada.

As Shemley wrote, accessing firearms of any kind in Canada is a rigorous process, requiring you to take a course on firearm use and safety, as well as a written and practical test, before undergoing a lengthy application process.

For anyone reading this who is not a firearms owner, please understand this application process involves a lengthy background check, multiple character references, an examination of any job losses or relationship losses and can take anywhere from two to nine months.

Any legally owned firearm in Canada is there because the owner has been deemed to be competent and safe to (have one). Every time I enter a store that sells firearms or ammunition, my license is checked physically and digitally via the RCMP before I am allowed to so much as handle a locked firearm.

Allow me to share several credible facts, taken directly from the website of the B.C. Wildlife Federation

“Licensed owners of firearms are demonstrably less likely to commit a crime than other Canadians. Holders of a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) are vetted carefully by the RCMP before a license is granted and the list of PAL holders is checked every 24 hours against the identities of people charged with criminal offences.

“The continuous eligibility screening program is administered by the RCMP to ensure that the owners of legally obtained firearms are not a threat to public safety.

“The homicide rate in Canada is 2.12 accused persons per 100,000 adult Canadians. In contrast, between 2000 and 2020, only 1.04 persons were accused of homicide per 100,000 PAL holders. So, an adult Canadian who does not hold a PAL, is more than twice as likely to be accused of homicide than a PAL holder. In fact, firearms owners are careful to avoid criminal activity because they know that even a minor offence will prevent them from being able to feed their families or enjoy the sport they love.”

To summarize, writers have a responsibility to be informed and to be non-malevolent in their opinions. They have the right to have an opinion, and have the right to express themselves in any way they choose, but their opinion must be informed and it must demonstrate a credible understanding of facts, otherwise it has no weight and contributes only to harming others.

Tristen Ramsay

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The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the author. Castanet does not in any way warrant the information presented.

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