Michael Major: When will we allow women to arm themselves for self-defence?

With the recent tragic beating death in Newton of Julie Paskall, an innocent hockey mom, there has been a lot of discussion about what to do to prevent such tragedies in the future. One topic that has been absent is allowing people to arm themselves for self-defence. We all have an absolute right to be safe and secure, and should be given the tools to protect ourselves.

Article 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

As well, Article 3 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

If we have the human right to security of person, then why do we not have the right to properly secure our person from attack or more effectively defend from attack? Sections 34 and 35 of the Criminal Code of Canada outline our rights to self-defence. However, regulations that cover what is a prohibited weapon list pepper spray and Tasers as prohibited weapons. Therefore, no one could legally carry either to ward off attack. Police are rarely able to intervene during an assault, and someone under attack may only have seconds to stop the attack from happening or continuing.

Both Tasers and pepper spray are less than lethal weapons and, when properly deployed, give anyone under attack valuable seconds to escape. We all have the right to self-defence, but when the criminals arm themselves we still handicap the law-abiding citizens by not allowing them to carry less than lethal weapons for their own defence. If the bad people in this world ignore the law and the regulations, then those laws and regulations only affect the honest, law-abiding citizens.

If someone obeys the law, then can that person not be trusted to continue to abide by the law even in possession of a personal defence weapon?

A possible model is to have a concealed carry permit issued by the RCMP to people whom pass a criminal records check and take a course on safe operation of their chosen weapon as well as their legal responsibilities. This would ensure that at least those who carry weapons for defence know what the law is and understand the legal implications of their use. This also casts doubt into a potential attacker’s mind because they will not know who may be ready to fight back.

An argument against such an idea is that we can not guarantee that when attacked someone will be able to use their weapon to stop said attack. We can not guarantee that a CCTV camera will film the attack or that the attacker will be caught or that the victim will survive. The fact is that during an attack there are limited options available to those under attack and no guarantees. What we all need are tools in our self-defence tool box. A weapon is just another tool to use to prevent oneself from becoming another crime statistic. Pepper spray or a Taser is better than trying to use one’s fists or feet. Sometimes it’s not possible to fight the attacker off or just simply “run away”, and a quicker, more effective option should be available. Thousands of volts of electrical current or a shot of OC pepper spray to the eyes can prevent a sexual assault, and isn’t that worth it?

Ultimately, we all live in the same world, and in this world there are evil people who always stand ready to do harm and are constantly looking for victims. It is time we stop being victims and fight back against those who prey on us. While we wait for legislators to fix the underlying problems, we need to be prepared to do what we must to protect ourselves and our families.

Comments (75) Add New Comment
Arms Race
And when will the arms race end?

Why should we have to live in a society that has weapons at all?

Why should I have to militarize just to be safe?

I certainly wouldn't feel safe in a society where every second person is packing a weapon.
Rating: -87
Guys too?
Im sure you arn't implying that men shouldn't be able to arm themselves as well? Men get attacked and killed too. Woman arn't more prone to it statistically.
Rating: +98
James Connor
My condolences go out to the woman in Surreys family, it is a horrible crime. But, aside from having the chance at being published in the next NRA weekly, do you REALLY think using a despicable crime by some low life, to segway into having a concealed carry law for "SECURITY", is the ANSWER? Do the USA's concealed carry laws not teach us how effective firearms are at keeping the average citizen safe? Military and Police train regularly, have extensive firearms knowledge, and still manage to MISS people more often than not…… and you want CIVILIANS to achieve "security" with a taser or better yet, a GUN? wake UP!!! your~dreeeeeaming~is creating nightmares.
Rating: -75
Both Tasers and pepper spray are less than lethal weapons and, when properly deployed, give anyone the ability to disable their victims – including women.

You were saying?
Rating: +63
Rick in Richmond
Mr Major is proposing we turn to the American model of public safety.

In that nation, the most violent among all industrialized countries, they enjoy a murder rate vastly higher than our own. They have some of the weakest gun control laws in the western world, and the NRA wants to weaken them further.

By arming itself to the teeth, America has achieved a rate of 3.6 handgun murders per 100,000 people. In the UK, where they have strict gun control, the rate is 0.04 per 100,000. In Japan, where it is almost impossible to acquire a handgun, it is virtually zero.

In Canada, where we are endlessly bombarded by American gun values, our gun homicide rate is 0.5 per 100,000. In Canada, lax border controls see gangs killing one another with illegally imported weapons, day after day.

Mr Major's "remedy" is far, far worse than the problem.

A strong argument can be made to allow people to carry, under license, bear spray or the like for personal protection. Gender is irrelevant. But carry a gun? Madness.

In 2011, there were 8583 gun murders in the States. In Canada? 158.

Mr Major's answer is the American answer, and it does not work.
Rating: -71
Stone Cecaudi
There are several tools which should be in the toolbox and which should be employed prior to a taser or a spray:
First, never let yourself be alone or walk in secluded areas.
Second, if in a car, all doors must be locked and windows up.
Third, never open a car window or door to a stranger.
Fourth, when a stranger approaches, taps, menaces, etc., start the engine and be prepared to drive away.
Fifth, ask for ID if the stranger claims to have authority.
Sixth, drive away from the stranger and report the event to the police.
Rating: -20
Needs a frank discussion...
Before we make knee-jerk responses based on the US experience with guns and whatnot, let's keep in mind the author is careful to limit his ideas to only tasers and pepper sprays...
Rating: +22
Tommy Gunn
Canadian citizens can and do feel morally superior to our American cousins because we here in Canada prefer our women to be beaten, raped and left lying in a pool of there own blood rather than allowing them to defend themselves with a weapon. Police are not there to protect us, wakeup.Oh, and by the way weapons training for the police consists of qualifying once a year. nothing more.
Rating: +69
A taser won't help much if it is in the bottom of a purse.
Rating: +16
I don't believe the authour is saying that everyone should be armed, but it should be a choice that is given to the people. If you believe you require a concealed weapon to be safe then you should be given that option, obviously only as long as you follow the rules and regs regarding its use. As for the comment about how police are so much better trained than everyone else. . . purely false. Ive worked on a gun range and seen people and LEO's shooting. By far the civilians are better shots because it is something they enjoy and do for themselves. It is not a requirement of the job (for most anyway). The average police officer shoots/qualifies maybe twice a year, firing perhaps 200 rounds. The average civilian shooter I've seen will shoot that in one range session, but I digress. CCW is an option that should be allowed to the public, with training of course. What's that saying they used regarding the LGR, "if it only saves one life."
Rating: +54
People ALREADY own hand guns. A permit to carry them is all that we are debating. This would in no way increase crime or violence. Think about it:

I have a restricted firearms license. I can currently only LEGALLY bring it to the range to shoot. If I want to, I could carry it out in public. It being illegal for me to do that can not stop me from doing it.

This is Canada and whether or not you choose to believe it a lot of people own hand guns.
Rating: +71
police aren't more trained. if anything civilians shoot and draw their guns more than police. to qualify for weapons as a cop you have to get a score on a paper target once a year, how many officers actually practice?

I guess it's OK for the liberal left to have women beaten and bloody because a rape lasts a minute, but a murder (of a criminal) lasts a lifetime. because EVERYONES life is sacred right? I guess it's OK to take her life than the criminals.

and if you take out Washington DC, Detroit, Chicago and Houston, America is one of the safest countries around (if looking at crime rates) note how those cities have the strictest gun control laws. most of the murders come from those 4 cities and NYC which gun control laws are following.

Canadians should have the ability to carry guns too, Yeah I said it, guns. permitting they are competent.
Rating: +63
Self defense is a human right
Self defense is a right of all life in the universe.
Self defense is a charter of rights and freedoms right.
Self defense is a natural law, Gods law.

It can not be denied by government in good faith for any reason, "terrorism", "public safety", or whatever the BS excuse is for the period.
Rating: +40
police are NOT better trained than civilians....

go to any Gun club in Canada and observe for yourself... see how often the civilians train VS the 2 times a year that police HAVE to train as part of their JOB.

Canadian citizens who own guns by CHOICE train all the time, for pleasure, far far more than police do out of job requirements.

(Note: some police enjoy guns are are gun club members who train for pleasure too)
Rating: +49
Arms Race:
You seem to have no trust for your average Canadian, do you truly believe that if given a gun, most of society would turn into gun-totting hip gangster wannabes? The average citizen is very respectful of one another and is one of the grand things that separates Canadian citizens from those around the world. A means to defend oneself is just that; only to be used when ones life is in perceived danger.

Only fools with large egos (and small dicks) would use a gun in a everyday scenario to prove a point or to get his way in.
Rating: +37
Take away California, New York, and all other states with strict gun control like we have in Canada and those stats you gun control fanatics go on about are less than ours. In fact you are 10 times more likeky to be shot by a cop than a person with a CCW license in the US. Police in Canada and the US also know they are more likely to be shot by a fellow officer than a criminal as well on the job.

The world isn't perfect, it never will be and regulating away our chances at a safe and secure life just to possibly save a criminals life is absurd. If you want to live in a gun free world were the cops look out for your safety go live in a prison. I will take a gun over a 911 call that could take 30 minutes for them to respond.

I guess I could roll up my window. It's not like they can't break it with hammer or anything. Oh right.
Rating: +38
Justin Credible
Self defense is a right. Regardless of what laws there may be, people who want to defend themselves will. It's ALWAYS better to have a weapon when you need it than to not have one in that situation. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6, and no government agency or police department has a right to tell me I cannot defend myself. There's a reason many sheriffs and just last week the Detroit police chief recommend people arm themselves. 911 takes minutes. A weapon is actually useful. If you don't believe in gun ownership or any weapons for citizens, then please throw away your fire extinguishers. Why do you need them if you can just call the fire department?

Rating: +30
@ Rick In Richmond.

They enjoy a high murder rate? Hmm let's look a HUGE PROBLEM with those statistics:

Take out just FOUR CITIES. Don't remove any counties, don't remove any of the states either. Just FOUR MAJOR CITIES.

Chicago. L.A. New York City and Detroit.

Do that, and suddenly? The U.S. is near the BOTTOM for global murder rates, violent crime rates, burglary, break & enter, etc.

Let's examine another, verified by the F.B.I.

Kennesaw, Georgia. This small picturesque town passed an ordinance back in 1982 REQUIRING MANDATORY ownership of firearms. This, of course was only a symbolic statute. Nobody is actually charged under this ordinance. Now, all the shootings that everyone said would happen, NEVER materialized. Crime PLUMMETED fast too. 89% in just one year. 89%! That's not exactly a dismal 5% or 10%. Almost ALL CRIME in this small town was gone.


Disarming LAW-ABIDING people, making them DEFENSELESS does not promote public safety. The ONLY thing it does is make it safer for criminals to do their thing.

I mean, I'm sure the criminals read up on the Firearms Act and only load their guns to 5 or 10 rounds. I'm sure their prohibited and restricted firearms are registered. I'm sure they would never transport them without authorization and only do so in the correct manner.

How many times am I gonna have to say it???? CRIMINALS DON'T FOLLOW LAWS!!!!

Rating: +33
pointing dog
its simple, the goverment has a monoply on force and violence, the police have a monopliy on policing said force. If they are unable to protect you then your life in thier view is not worth protecting
Rating: +23
Your local police department is not trained enough to protect one from violent crimes. They do not receive enough training to be proficient with firearms. There is the argument that police officers miss in stress situation, damn right they do. Because they don't train under stress situations. I can hit 10 targets dead center, in 15 second at distance of 20 yards. (On the move) How? Simply, by training few times a month and competing in various competitions. Not nearly the practice police officers get. (once a year) Just an FYI, did you know that police officers did not even need a firearms license until few years ago?

For the most part, they just come to clean up. Not to mention that they are understaffed. At the time of shooting on Toronto subway (few months ago), there were 160 officers on duty. (In the whole city of Toronto) Half of them were present at the scene. That leaves us with 80 officers "guarding" the rest of the city. How can we expect police to protect us in such situations?

I lived in 3 different countries that allow concealed carry. (US is not one of them.) I carried in two out of three. All three countries have lower per capita gun crime than Canada. Why? Because guns/weapons don’t kill. It’s the people that kill. Fix the people, and you’ll fix the problem.
Rating: +32


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