Michael Ford (post until Oct. 31/19)
Criminal

No evidence to prove gun bans work: Dostaler

A handgun ban will not reduce crime, and it may even encourage the growth of the illegal ownership of these weapons, Ottawa criminal lawyer Céline Dostaler tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“Such restrictions make it harder to access guns, but criminals get them illegally in most cases anyway,” says Dostaler, founder of Céline Dostaler Professional Corporation. “A gun ban will only prevent law-abiding individuals from owning a firearm while allowing the black market to grow even larger.”

A recent column in the National Post supports Dostaler’s views. It states that in Ireland, murder rates more than tripled after the country’s 1972 ban on privately owned pistols and all rifles over .22 calibre.

Programs to buy back firearms from the public also miss the mark, Dostaler says, since only law-abiding citizens turn in their weapons to earn some money, as criminals continue to arm themselves.

The Post column states that in 1996, Australia offered to buy back guns, with “more than 700,000 firearms to be handed in and destroyed.”

That did not reduce crime, however, as “armed robbery rates rose after the buyback, and then slowly fell back down to pre-buyback levels as gun ownership increased,” it reports.

“If Canada has a buyback program like the one used in Australia, only law-abiding individuals would turn in their firearms,” Dostaler says.

“It makes no sense for someone with an illegal gun to hand it in,” she says.

Dostaler says Canada should learn from the public outcry over the 1995 long-gun registry.

“Farmers and hunters have a real and legitimate use for the shotguns and rifles,” she says. “Yet these were the people most affected by the registry, not the criminals with illegal handguns.”

She adds, “drugs are banned, yet there are still drugs on the black market. Banning guns will do the same thing.”

Canada has stringent laws about storing firearms, she says, noting they have to be locked up or taken apart when in a house.

“In Canada, owning a handgun for the purpose of self-defence is not an option,” she says.

Though not an owner herself, Dostaler says she can understand why some people want to own a firearm, giving the example of target shooting at a firing range.

“Most people have legal guns for a reason,” she says. “They have registered them and have done their courses. They are not walking around with guns on their hips.”

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