The killing of 49 people, and the wounding of more than 50 others in a nightclub shooting spree in Orlando last weekend is by any account horrific and tragic.
That anyone would value human life so little as to snuff out the very existence of so many people in their prime is beyond reason.
In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, people moved quickly to try and explain how something like this could happen. The shooter, an American-born son of immigrants, was “radicalized,” reports say.
Early stories saw the attacker labelled an “Islamic extremist” and “homophobe” who specifically targeted a gay nightclub, while later reports questioned his own sexual orientation.
Perhaps the loudest discussion in all this was an outcry and analysis of the type of weapons the man used in the attacks before he was gunned down himself by police.
Many in this country have asked how someone characterized by those close to him as “mentally unbalanced,” and, it turns out, a sympathizer of ISIS, have access to a semi-automatic assault rifle, or any other weapons? Welcome to the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, which refers to the right to bear arms – a document written in 1791 when the kinds of weapons available were light years away from those in circulation today, which are designed to do maximum damage quickly.
While Canada has no such language entrenched in its constitution, the gun lobby in this country has long argued that gun ownership is a “right” not a privilege, despite rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Such old arguments are getting rather tired, especially when considering the difference between musket balls and bullets designed to rip apart whatever material they enter.
We don’t espouse getting rid of rifles and shotguns used for hunting and target shooting.
But the availability of assault rifles and other semi-automatic firearms, to anyone other than law enforcement officials, is just plain unnecessary and has no place in a civil society, that is Canada.