Officer: Mam, do you have any weapons in your car?
Lady: Yes, I have four guns.
Officer: Four guns! What are you afraid of?
Lady: Not a damn thing, officer.
The downtown area of Ottawa was in a military lock-down during the morning of October 22. At approximately 9:30 a.m. a lone assassin, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, murdered Corporal Nathan Cirillo in cold blood as Cirillo stood guard beside the Canadian War Memorial. Moments later the assassin entered the House of Commons where he was met with substantial armed resistance. His potential rampage was brought to a decisive end when he was shot by the Federal Government’s Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers (other guards may have shot the assailant, as well). Vickers is being hailed as a hero, and rightfully so.
Zehaf-Bibeau was unable to cause anymore loss of life because of armed individuals who were able to recognize the threat and act with the required immediacy. Except for the armed guards, everyone inside and outside the House of Commons undoubtedly cowered in fear. Due to federal and provincial gun control laws, it is illegal for the average citizen to carry a gun as a means of defense. Therefore, there was no chance that an alert citizen could have nullified the threat that Zehaf-Bibeau posed even as he was setting up for his initial shot. The distance from the War Memorial to the House of Commons is a considerable distance. The shooter would have passed many individuals on his way. Had some individuals been armed, they could have stopped Zehaf-Bibeau long before he reached the front door of Parliament.
In Canada, only the police, the military and criminals carry weapons on their person on a day-to-day basis. Law abiding Canadians can own guns, but they are limited to using them for hunting or for practice in a shooting range. The mind of the average Canadian citizen has become so distorted by decades of misinformation that the concept of having a gun available for defence is viewed as lunacy. But, when only the criminals have guns then innocent people die because defense becomes much more difficult if not impossible. Had the Prime Minister been armed, he might have been tempted to show leadership by joining the defenders of Parliament rather than running away.
In the United States where gun ownership and the carrying of guns is a constitutional right, violent armed criminals have a much more difficult time carrying out crimes. The Cato Institute operates an interactive map that highlights cases where armed citizens have been able to prevent or limit the loss of life around them. You won’t hear about these stories in the Canadian press.
For example, consider the 2011 case of Tim Patterson of Couer d’Alene, Idaho:
“Patterson heard a woman shrieking in a nearby parking lot. When he ran over, he found the woman struggling with a hooded man over her purse, and he had a knife to her throat. Patterson pulled out his gun and shouted, ‘Drop it, or I’ll shoot.’ The hooded suspect dropped the knife, put his hands up, and then fled. Patterson had a concealed carry permit for his handgun. Sgt. Christie Wood called Patterson’s actions brave, but she also cautioned about civilians getting involved in crime prevention.”
(Sgt. Wood’s caution rings a little empty particularly considering the old adage that “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”)
Also, consider these statistics from Gun Owners of America:
- States which passed concealed carry laws reduced their murder rate by 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7% and robbery by 3%.
- The Kennesaw suburb of Atlanta passed a law requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in the house. The residential burglary rate subsequently dropped 89%.
- In 1979, the Justice Department found that of more than 32,000 attempted rapes, 32% were actually committed. But when a woman was armed with a gun or knife, only 3% of the attempted rapes were actually successful.
- 3/5 of felons polled agreed that “a criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is armed with a gun.”
The police know the value of weapons. In fact, I wrote about how RCMP officers on Parliament Hill were given Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns. However, it appears that the MP5’s were drawn long after Zehaf-Bibeau was dead. It was likely a small hand-gun that brought-down the shooter. Isn’t it time that Canadians rediscover the value of armed defence? Should the government not enforce laws that help to ensure our safety rather than prevent it?
There is speculation that Zehaf-Bibeau’s actions may be blow-back resulting from the Canadian Army’s actions in the Middle East. If this is true, then cases such as this may become more common in the future. If Canadian citizens are prevented from carrying guns to protect themselves and those around them, then additional, unnecessary, loss of life may result.