(Pleasantly) shocked

When I see an article about what a Canadian police chief has to say about gun control, I expect to see enthusiastic cheerleading for forcible citizen disarmament. Canada isn’t exactly what one would consider the friendliest ground for gun rights, and even in the States, metropolitan police chiefs tend to prefer that the “Only Ones” with guns answer to them for their paychecks.

It’s therefore a very pleasant surprise to see the chief of the Calgary Police Service express disdain for gun bans.

Banning handguns, as politicians on the federal campaign trail have suggested, is a “weak-kneed” strategy that won’t stop the flow of illegal weapons in Calgary, the city’s police chief said Friday.

Rick Hanson, while announcing charges against a suspect in the shooting of Brazilian student Neto Ribeiro, said the accused has “one of those feared prohibitions for possessing firearms.”

“There’s a little bit of sarcasm there because, personally, I’m tired of when serious events like this (happen), politicians trot out the same tried and tired old solutions of ‘we’re going to ban certain types of weapons, or make it more restrictive.’ They’re not getting it. These are criminals who use illegal means to perpetrate illegal activities,” he said.

What? Criminals break laws, so passing more laws won’t help? That’s crazy talk.

And he’s not done:

Hanson said a ban on handguns would not affect those committing violent crimes.

“It’s about criminals that are bringing guns into the country illegally. These are unregistered. Any of these weak-kneed solutions that speak to tired, old suggestions that aren’t our problems today. There’s no sense even talking about it.”

It would be interesting to discover the mayor‘s position (I see that he’s a member of the Liberal Party). You certainly wouldn’t see a police chief serving under Mayor Bloomberg or Mayor Daley making statements like that. Then again, I don’t know how these things work in Canada–perhaps the police chief is not a political appointee, beholden to the mayor for his job, and thus obligated to say only what the mayor wants him to.

Even if Chief Hanson is not putting his job at risk with such comments, though, I can’t help but be impressed.


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