KAMLOOPS — Every time the gun debate flares up south of border, WE Canadians are drawn into it. So it is now, as funerals are arranged for the 26 people slaughtered in a Texas church this past weekend.
Police say the killer, a man named David P. Kelley, used an AR-15 semi-automatic, a civilian variant of the military M-16 assault rifle.
It has become the favourite weapon of mass murderers in the U.S. The National Rifle Association calls it “America’s rifle.”
Here at home, more than a few people would like to make it “Canada’s rifle.”
Currently, access to the AR-15 in Canada is much tougher than south of the border. Here, it’s a restricted weapon that is legal to buy, but only for target shooting and gun collecting. It isn’t legal for hunting.
And here, it can hold only five rounds, unlike the U.S. where it can hold 30.
Last year, a petition to un-restrict the AR-15 gathered more than 25,000 signatures but — thank-you Justin Trudeau — it was rejected by the federal government.
Legally purchased AR-15s have killed hundreds of Americans.
The AR-15 and variations of it have been used in the Las Vegas horror, the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando, the Sandy Hook school massacre, the San Bernardino office party killings, and other mass murders.
Kamloops has had several shootings recently, and in some parts of the Lower Mainland it’s all too common.
In Abbotsford, a 24-year veteran of the Abbotsford Police Department, Cst. John Davidson, was killed Monday as he tried to arrest a suspect who had opened fire with a shotgun in a shopping centre parking lot.
Such tragedies are heart-rending. Now imagine if AR-15s were involved. Imagine the carnage.
Marc Lepine used a semi-automatic rifle at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1989 before our gun laws were tightened up; we don’t want more U.S.-style mass shootings in Canada.
Instead of AR-15s being removed from the restricted list, they should be banned altogether.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.