It wasn’t until later in his life that my grandfather added his first revolver to his collection and joined a local gun club. At the time, my grandmother questioned why a handgun was needed in their home. Grandpa was a hunter and had been for many years. Rifles and shotguns were stored in an oak cabinet he had built himself. Taxidermy hung on the walls and tales of hunts past were told often, with a little more embellishment each time.
“Because I like to shoot and it doesn’t matter what kind of gun it is - if people can do it responsibly,” was his simple answer.
To this day, that reminder to support anyone who squeezes a trigger responsibly, either to put food on the table, for recreational enjoyment or competitively, holds true. It doesn’t matter what make and model you’re doing it with. Yet there is some negative sentiment in the Canadian Shooting Sports Community that, at present, is rife with internal division. Some within our own community believe that some models aren’t needed in the hands of responsible licensed citizens.
Whether it can be attributed to the rural versus urban divide or the traditional versus modern trending line in The Canadian Shooting Sports, there is a distinct narrative that exists that is dividing us. Those who want to see certain firearms prohibited from lawful ownership are delighting in the division amongst licensed firearm owners.
If you frequent social media, you have seen the some of the misguided statements and apathy that exists.
“Handguns are useless. You can't hunt with them.”
“No one needs an AR-15. You only need one shot to kill a deer.”
“My hunting rifles and shotguns are safe. No one wants to ban those.”
This is a time when The Canadian Shooting Sports Community needs to come together and present one unified voice. There is no time for internal division. There is common ground to be found and it begins with our common interests in firearms. The rest, depends on the most powerful tool in the toolkit - education.
For educating Canadians about the lawful ownership and responsible use of firearms in Canada to work, the narrative must be cohesive and concise. That is going to require the organizations that represent the hunting community, those that represent The Canadian Shooting Sports Community and those that represent The Canadian Firearm Industry to tighten up their messaging and step out of the echo chamber.
It’s also going to require responsible licensed firearm owners to have empathy towards those who don’t understand our laws and what is required to obtain a license. We must become educators. Some hunters may never desire to own a handgun or an AR-15, but gaining the knowledge of how to obtain and use them responsibly and being able to disseminate that information is paramount to defeating the narrative of lies being spread by politicians and anti-gun groups.
If anyone understands dealing with individuals and groups that want to end their activities, it’s the hunting community. Anti-hunting groups attack hunters on a daily basis on social media and hunters are singled out as a scourge on civilized society by those with little or no knowledge on the topic. These are tactics that are very familiar to those who own lawfully-acquired handguns or restricted rifles.
The Canadian Shooting Sports Community - consisting of hunters, recreational and competitive target shooters and collectors standing in support of each other needs to happen, right now. All need to be ready to educate their family, friends, neighbours and be informed influencers. People are more influenced by their peers than any form of media.
Discuss your interests openly. Be armed with facts and ready to be scrutinized. Offer to introduce those with an open mind to activities at a range. If met with extreme negativity, remain cordial and agree to disagree. More often than not, those you speak with will express interest in learning more, if your messaging is sound.
Those who want to cease your activities at the range, or afield chasing quarry, want you to stay silent and in the shadows.
They also want us to be divided.
It’s time to step out as a unified voice.
Have you signed E-2341 yet? Visit www.e2341.ca to sign the petition - then sit down and write a letter to your MP - then make an appointment to visit them at their constituency office. After that, take someone to the range who has never experienced The Canadian Shooting Sports. We all have to do our part.