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

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      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.



      Arms Race

      Jan 8, 2014 at 3:23pm

      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.

      Guys too?

      Jan 8, 2014 at 3:26pm

      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.

      James Connor

      Jan 8, 2014 at 4:09pm

      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.

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      Jan 8, 2014 at 4:28pm

      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?

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      Rick in Richmond

      Jan 8, 2014 at 5:08pm

      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.

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      Stone Cecaudi

      Jan 8, 2014 at 5:24pm

      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.

      Needs a frank discussion...

      Jan 8, 2014 at 11:04pm

      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...

      Tommy Gunn

      Jan 9, 2014 at 6:58am

      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.


      Jan 9, 2014 at 7:55am

      A taser won't help much if it is in the bottom of a purse.

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      J D

      Jan 9, 2014 at 9:37am

      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."

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