Bang, bang, bang.
It can be heard coming from behind just about every tree in the province this time of year. Not surprising, since Newfoundlanders and Labradorians love their big-and small-game hunting, and ‘tis the season.
However, here in central Newfoundland, a number of recent incidents, including a 68-year-old woman being shot in the shoulder by a moose hunter while spending the day in the woods with her family, certainly have a lot of people thinking not only about guns, but also of what their users actually have going through their minds.
In the other two incidents, there have been reports of hunters shooting ducks in a pond within the town limits of Grand Falls-Windsor, while in Fogo a rifle was discharged outside a bar. Makes one wonder just how some people are able to own a gun — accident or no accident.
Just last month, the federal Conservative government decided to make a move to eliminate the long-gun registry, and while there have been many discussions across the nation weighing the pros and cons of such a decision, having registry or not having one would not make a difference in these three incidents.
Here in the province, gun owners are required to do one of three one-time safety courses in order to get a permit (licence) to either purchase, carry and/or use a gun, depending on their requirement.
This one-time course is supposed to properly prepare the gun owner to have the knowledge, understanding and ability to use their firearm in a safe and responsible manner.
However, these three latest incidents might be more of a message that such a system is failing, and money might be better spent on other avenues of responsible gun control and ownership than a name, address, phone number and how many guns a person owns written on a piece of paper and hidden in a file box on a shelf in an office in Ottawa — okay, a little old school thought but the computer file would be well tucked away on some server.
The point is, it’s not worth knowing who owns guns after they own them, but knowing if the gun owners understands and takes responsibility for its use.
In most cases involving firearms, as it is with two of these three incidents, just plain common sense would be a safe enough decision.
When hunting, it’s common sense that you don’t shoot if you’re not sure what you’re shooting — remember ignorance isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a defence. Also, if one is within a town’s limits, the chances of other people, especially children, being around increases, and one would hope common sense would lead one to not shoot into a crowd.
Register your gun or don’t, it doesn’t really matter. Common sense from the gun owners, as well as more educational efforts and stricter penalties from the policy-makers is the way to go to help ensure the safety of all people. Reprinted from the Beacon