Our last email on firearms definitely got you talking and since then we’ve received a lot of feedback. Keep it coming. This helps us know where people stand and informs our advocacy. A lot was positive, some of it was neutral, and there was some criticism from all corners of the discussion.
Let’s take a quick look at some of those criticisms and our response to them:
1: IT’S TOO LONG. That’s fair. Admittedly, we tend to be longwinded, but this is a complex discussion.
2: IT’S CONFUSING. Due to the complexity, connecting the dots can be tough without the whole backstory. We use www.ofah.org/firearms to try to keep new posts reader-friendly, but we will work at finding the right detail for a broad audience.
3: IT’S TONE DEAF. Some felt it came off as a lecture, and for that we apologize. In our attempt to lessen in-fighting and explain doing it ‘our way’ we came across as condescending to some. It was certainly not our intention.
4: YOU ARE GUTLESS FENCE SITTERS. Not the worst thing that’s been said about us, and we understand why some people may feel that way. Unfortunately, all ‘sides’ are asking us to entrench, often in polar opposition to each other. We aren’t scared to draw a line, but that line will always be to advocate for sound, evidence-based firearms policy that benefits all firearms owners. We don’t fight for specific firearms or even a certain group of people who use them; we advocate for evidence-based policies on all firearms.
5: THERE IS ONLY ONE SIDE. In the words of our followers “there is absolutely NO reason I can think of for a citizen of CANADA to own a handgun” vs. “All our restrictions should be scrapped. Everyone should be allowed to have whatever they want unless explicitly prohibited. We should have the right to carry for self-defence.” These may not be average viewpoints, but it illustrates the sometimes extreme differences of opinions we commonly hear.
7: YOU ARE BEING DIVISIVE. We heard ‘don’t blame the firearms community’ with a strong reference to that community only including recreational shooters. In our minds, the ‘community’ is all firearms owners, including the OFAH. We are all to blame for creating and reinforcing the factions of hunter vs. sport shooter or non-restricted vs. restricted licensee.
8: YOU DON’T SUPPORT CANADIAN GUN OWNERS. This is the only criticism we won’t accept. We work every single day to promote and defend the future of our firearms. Our cumulative actions speak for themselves.
WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?
All of these viewpoints came from Canadians who own firearms. It’s clear we don’t share identical perspectives. That shouldn’t pit us against each other though, and for years the OFAH has publicly discussed the need for ALL firearms owners to appreciate the fact that all firearms policy discussions can have relevance to your interests, even if it isn’t direct or immediately obvious.
Although it is clearly challenging, and we are taking some lumps along the way, we are still committed to working towards more informed perspectives, on all sides, to bring greater unity into the fight for better firearms policy. Keep the heat and the questions coming. We can handle it and it will help us be better advocates for the firearms community as a whole.
For more on OFAH firearms advocacy, visit www.ofah.org/firearms.