‘Up In Arms’: Better Than We Feared

The film “Up In Arms: How the Gun Lobby Is Changing Canada” premiered last night on TVO, and early responses by firearm enthusiasts suggest we’re relieved.

“All in all, I think it was ok,” said a commenter on CanadianGunNutz.com, Canada’s most popular online discussion forum about firearms. “Not as bad as I have been fearing [these] past few weeks.”

“Fairly balanced,” said another. “I agreed with as much as I disagreed with.”

We saw shooters enjoying themselves training and competing at the range. We saw John Evers defending the rights of gun owners, along with Pauline Langlois, the owner of Al Simmons Gun Shop in Hamilton, Ontario. We saw youth from a poor Toronto neighbourhood discuss their difficult circumstances, though it wasn’t clear how that related to firearms. We saw Tony Bernardo of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association explain his contribution to Bill C-42.

Chris Wyatt, Ontario’s former Chief Firearms Officer, shared his glee at winning a battle against Bernardo when Wyatt successfully forced more paperwork onto  shooters going to target ranges as visitors.

We saw a few factoids about firearms. “In Toronto, guns have been used in half of all murders since 2000 – up from 25% in the 1970s.” Not sure how that matters, but hey, good to know. In the U.S., murderers like handguns the most, but they prefer knives, clubs, hammers and fists over rifles and shotguns, according to FBI data. (The data show that 687 people were killed with weapons such as hands, fists and feet in 2013. If only the U.S. had a hand registry and a foot registry, those lives might have been saved.)

We also heard people discussing “gun crime” and “gun violence” as if the gun were responsible for the crime and the violence instead of the person holding the gun. As illogical and absurd as that is, many of our politicians and police share that view, and the director of Up In Arms let them have their say.

In the end, neither the gun enthusiasts nor the gun prohibitionists came out sounding like heroes or lunatics. Click here to watch the film.

“Someone once said that the true sign of a fair compromise is one in which all parties involved feel that they got a little bit betrayed,” said a post on CanadianGunNutz.com. “In those terms, I think that this was probably a fair documentary.”

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