Monday, January 21, 2008

Busy Busy Weekend

Well what can I say we got a lot done, our house is still a mess, and I think we are both exhausted. Erin will more then willingly paint you the image of her tyrant slave driver husband, but I don't really have to drive her too hard, just make a puppy dog face. It was all for good though. Are office is finally done, I may even post some pictures if I can remember. It is a little tight, but we have a work area for people, and a sleeping area for people (a desk and bed) and a work area and sleep area for cats (the cat tree, it serves both purposes.) Let's be honest, every surface is a sleeping area for cats, and cats don't do work, although to them napping is serious business.

The process of cleaning the office/future nursery, as well as furniture buying, has produced an inordinate amount of garbage. Were I to try and give it an ordinal, I would have to say one car load, and not one of those small trunk hybrid car loads, but a Sonata's worth. On that note, arriving at the dump in -15 degree C temperatures, with blowing winds, and not gloves is not a smart move. Especially when you realize only after arrival that unlike street pickup, dump drop off of recyclables must be sorted in advance...

After all that we began work on "Morgan's" room, Erin and her mom picked up paint Friday night, and we had at it on Sunday. The first coat went up without complaint, and the room is looking very gender-neutral babyesque. Its a really cute cheery green, (not hospital green) I think it is called farm yard? but if I were to pick a name, soft lime, or perhaps margarita would suffice. In the midst of all that we tackled the heap of laundry and kitchen mess that has been building up as a back log while we cleaned. The house still looks awful, but a lot less awful then before. There are corners of sanity forming, the office being the only one that has completely coalesced.

"Morgan's" new dresser is still occupying about 1/5 of our living room, and my D&D boxes another 1/6th. The piles have apparently given the umbrella plant cause to complain as they are blocking light. I can almost see the light myself, the tunnel just has one more coat of paint, and two coats of baseboard paint, but we are almost there, almost :) Actually we are going to put up the last coat tonight, and probably hang the closet bar tomorrow.

On a completely side note, this morning on the radio was a bit about handguns. While most crime is committed with 'illegal guns' those guns themselves are often stolen legal guns. While the restrictions put on gun owners is already onerous, I speculated on a few more that might discourage gun theft.

1. Ban the sale of hand gun ammo, except at licensed shooting ranges, stipulate that all ammo must stay at the range. This won't keep all the ammo off the streets but it should heavily restrict it. It would force ammo to be illegally sold through narrow distribution channels, and force thugs to pay more for it, given the Chris Rock theory, they may think twice before spending their expensive bullets. For hunters who use their handguns as a last defense against a big arse bear trying to eat them, if you allow for licensed gun owners to own licensed ammo presses, then they would be able to make ammo for personal use.

2. Limit the number of assembled weapons kept at a single location. Many gun collectors rage against crippling/disabling collection pieces as it reduces their value. But, if those collectors were permitted to keep their weapons not permanently disabled, but partially disassembled, with the requirement of keeping the removed components in an off site storage location, like a gun club, or bank vault. The weapons could be bought and sold by collectors as complete units, so long as they are stored apart. Each legal owner would be permitted a reasonable number of assembled weapons for the purposes of hunting, or range practice. The intent here is to be a disincentive to thieves from targeting gun collectors knowing that they will not posses sufficient weapons to make them viable targets.

Anyways some thoughts on the subject, maybe Colin can weigh in on how they are bad?


Colin Peart said...

Since you invite me to comment on the guns...

The problem there is that you already need a license to purchase ammo -- so consequently all of the ammo used is stolen as well. Ranges can be robbed as well, and many private collectors have equal or better security. I am afraid that neither of those will really change anything, except making it harder for law abiding citizens to use their legally owned firearms in legal ways.

Besides, you can buy all the components and tools necessary to make your own ammunition (but not sell it) without any kind of license or permit. I have not heard of that kind of operation in place to serve the criminal element mind you, but I imagine there are at least some cases of it happening.

I don't remember if it was Arsenio Hall or Chris Rock that once suggested we exorcise bullet control instead of gun control -- if a bullet cost $5000, then at least the police would know that whoever was shot really deserved it!

The truth of the matter is that crime is crime, and guns are tools of criminals and law-abiding citizens alike. Keeping in mind that killing someone is already a crime whether you do it with a wet noodle or a handgun -- banning that has not yet stopped it from happening.

Furthermore, guns and ammunition are not that hard to make. You should see some of the photos of places in Afaganistan that are turning out AK-47 pieces. Those work shops are downright primitive! The problem here is money: The harder it is to get an illegal gun, the more they are worth, and the more that illegal suppliers are inclined to smuggle, steal, or manufacture them for a profit.

To be fair (and because I grew up as a red-blooded liberal from Ontario before I had guns), there are some things that can be done:
-Address the reasons why people get into crime -- poverty, mental illness, drugs, prostitution, gambling, gang culture, etc. This is the hardest solution, but in the long term, it is the only one that works. I wish I could tell you how to do it, but many programs have been successful at getting the kids out of bad places and bad friends before they get into trouble.
-Communities with those problems need to fix them from within. However I believe that the government (both federal and provincial) could do more to encourage and support groups trying to fix those problems.
-According to our government (I have no idea how accurate this is), most crime guns in Canada are smuggled in from the states and abroad. Steps taken to improve enforcement there would help.
-Enforce the laws on safe storage requirements with inspections. The police already have this power, but it is almost never used. This one will piss the hell out of conservatives, but if it can get gun-owners to protect themselves, this is a good thing.
-Put more police on the streets.

I hope that is somewhat balanced -- I am afraid I sit somewhere in the middle of the road(a great place to get run over!)

Colin Peart said...

1 other quick piece of information: What is handgun ammunition? There are handguns that fire standard hunting rounds, and rifles, both assault, and lever-action (think cowboy action shooting competitors here) that fire rounds normally used in a handgun. Ammunition is something that when tightly fitted into a strong tube with something behind it to hold it in place and strike the primer will cause a projectile to squirt out the other end!

Unknown said...

The problem is of course how different regions have different problems, or probably more actually 95% of gun problems are in 5% of gun owning regions, specifically dense urban areas.

This most recent issue was with a legal gun owner, a gun owner who, if are to believe, owns a handgun for range shooting, or otherwise participating in contest of accuracy, like hunting, or getting his rocks off in a restricted environment, managed to hit an innocent bystander and not his intended stationary target. The shooter was sober...

Other then feeling guilty he should also be embarrassed...

Colin Peart said...

Agreed about the regionality of it. Mind you, Ontario is not short on legal gun users -- they just don't talk about it as much. It's less socially acceptable to hunt in ontario than in Alberta.

Interestingly, one of the major arguments out there is that regulating the ownership and possesion of property is a provincial power under the constitution, but the federal government has none the less taken charge of the laws around certain types of property, calling it a justice issue (which is a federal responsibility).

In any case, the real problem is people... You can't effectively stop someone who has legally obtained a firearm, who has no known violent history, and no known mental illness from changing later in life, or getting hot headed.

The question then is how much limitation do you put on everyone to try and prevent the relatively few freak occurances? And would this person have done something else, if they had not had the gun? I imagine that most of the firearms alternatives would be less likely to cause injury to a bystander, but the fact of the matter is that what that person was doing was already against the law to begin with -- why would the law have stopped that person from owning an illegal gun?

Interesting thoughts: Edmonton has the highest violent crime rate and murder rate per capita in the country among major cities. Alberta probably has the most guns and handguns legally available -- and therefore, based on your suggestions before, that should mean more illegally available as well. Yet in Edmonton, the weapon of choice is the knife -- compared with cities like Toronto, on a size-relative basis, we see more stabbings than shootings compared to the average.

So, am I a gun-nut, or what? Personally I believe in reasonable controls on firearms. Our current system of registration might be a little overboard on long guns, but handguns have been restricted and registered in various ways since the 1930's, and I am fine with that. I think it's good that prospective firearms license holders need to pass basic knowledge and skills tests (so at least they can't claim ignorance of safe handling practices). I think it is really smart that comprehensive criminal records checks are performed, and that police have access to information about known firearms legally held. I think it's really really smart that concealed carry permits are nearly impossible to obtain, and that handgun owners involved have to be a member of a range, or else have to be collectors that can only take them to shows and the like.

But you can't keep making things illegal -- if you do, eventually everything that is not prohibited becomes compulsory. (I don't remember the philosopher that said that, but he is famous. Maybe someone can let me know?) Besides, it doesn't work... Isn't Murder illegal already? What about discharging a firearm in a city and not at a designated range? How about carrying a legal handgun loaded anywhere but on a direct route between the residence at which it is stored, and the shooting range at which the owner has a membership? Those are all against various laws, and not one of those laws prevented an innocent bystanders death. So the response typically to suggest we put even stronger limitations on legal users, or else outlaw the use all together. That doesn't sound like innocent until proven guilty to me.

Reading over this, I know how I would have responded before I became involved in shooting -- Definitely a gun nut rant. So, I guess they got to me.