Q&A With Nicolas Johnson of TheGunBlog.ca
By Donovan Dewis, Publisher, Canadian Access To Firearms (CATF)
Reprinted with permission from the October 2022 issue of Canadian Access To Firearms (CATF).
I first had the opportunity to meet Nicolas at TACCOM 2019. When I went to the show, I had a list of people I wanted to meet but in that list, I had a few key people I really wanted to sit down with and chew the fat, as one could say. Nicolas was one of these people.
I took over the paper in July 2018, and I can say what a ride. Trying to stay in touch with up-to-date news was a real challenge for me with everything going on. I found that TheGunBlog.ca was the best place to turn to.
I have only known Nicolas for a few years but consider him a very close friend. Nicolas has helped me in many ways, and I am very thankful to have met him. I hope you enjoy reading about Nicolas Johnson, the man behind TheGunBlog.ca.
Publisher, Canadian Access To Firearms (CATF)
Q&A With Nicolas Johnson
When and why did you start TheGunBlog.ca?
I began TheGunBlog.ca almost eight years ago, in January 2015.
I started it to fight the anti-gun bias in politics and media.
At first, I was incredibly naive. I believed politicians and journalists had an anti-gun sentiment simply because they didn’t know the reality of gun users. I believed that I could educate them by offering news, data and informed opinion.
I soon realized that a lot of politicians and journalists aren’t the least bit interested in the millions of men, women and youth who use guns responsibly.
Those politicians and journalists are anti-gun activists. They are working to suppress our community and eliminate personal gun ownership, whether for ideological or electoral reasons. They are using their positions and platforms to run an anti-gun crusade. Their No. 1 tactic is to associate gun users with crime and violence. That’s all they talk about. Every chance they get.
Readers of TheGunBlog.ca know the names of some of these media activists.
What was your background?
My interest is mostly self-defence and personal protection. My studies were mostly politics, sociology and anthropology. My career is mostly financial journalism.
I spent more than a decade at Bloomberg News, including as the leader of a large, high-profile team of reporters and editors. After Bloomberg, I did a stint at The Globe and Mail. I know how journalists think, how newsrooms operate and how the media work.
I apply what I learned in journalism to TheGunBlog.ca, with a big difference: I do my best to be up front and open about my advocacy and bias on the About page. TheGunBlog.ca stands for responsible gun owners. It promotes and celebrates gun ownership.
Every media has activism and bias in its DNA. Every media — including TheGunBlog.ca and CATF — was founded by someone working to promote or prevent change. That isn’t dishonest. It’s why we like some media and dislike others. The great media dishonesty isn’t pushing an agenda, it’s pushing an agenda while claiming they aren’t.
I still think that most journalists, by far, work in good faith and aim to produce reports that are factual and fair.
Who reads TheGunBlog.ca?
My subscribers include the leaders and influencers of the gun community, from the owners and executives of the largest businesses, associations, and shooting clubs, to journalists, lawyers and academics, to politicians and policymakers, to elite competitors… But I think it’s mostly ordinary gun owners like me.
I think of my audience as the Five Ps: (1) PAL Holders, (2) Professionals (Firearm Industry), (3) Politicians and Policymakers, (4) Press, and (5) Public.
Some of those Ps just visit TheGunBlog.ca casually. Some become fans and subscribe or donate because they love it. Some of them are professionals and subscribe because they need it.
I’ve got to say also: CATF republishes an article in each issue, and so some of my readers are CATF readers.
Thank you for reading TheGunBlog.ca!
What are your thoughts on what the government is doing to firearms owners?
I’ve been quite open about that from Day One: What the Liberals are doing with the support of the RCMP is unethical, unreasonable, and unjust. They are running a campaign of political and regulatory attacks and harassment against honest citizens. Their crackdowns are based on lies and deception.
They are undermining trust in our political system and institutions, and that’s dangerous for peace and stability.
It’s all just so wrong in so many ways.
But I don’t blame the politicians. They’re simply executing their election promises, which is how democracy is supposed to work. I blame the people who voted for them.
Where do you think this will go for firearms owners in Canada?
That’s simple: We’re an endangered species.
It’ll take decades, and I suppose there will always be a small number of die-hards, but lawful civilian gun ownership is on its way out.
Since the PAL regime was invented 22 years ago, the number of PAL holders has stagnated at 2 million, plus or minus 10%. But the population of Canadian adults has increased by 25%. So the relative population of PAL holders keeps shrinking.
Hunting has been declining for years. Now the Liberals are destroying plinking and competition by prohibiting the guns that were attracting people to the sport: handguns and AR-15-type rifles. They keep adding prohibitions and penalties for buying, selling, importing, or transporting our guns.
The result: Lifelong gun owners are getting rid of their gear, gun stores and gun clubs are shutting down. That will accelerate. Why join a shooting club if you can’t own the guns you want and can’t shoot the ones you own?
Without a major social, political and cultural shift, it’s easy to see where this is headed.
There’s no such thing as “law-abiding” gun owners, only “law-abiding” former gun owners.
Is there any good news for gun owners?
I see two sources of optimism: People and technology.
Our community has some absolutely incredible people. They are more engaged and active than ever, and they inspire people around them to get active.
In technology, I imagine 3D printing, personal energy weapons, and other developments in electronics and manufacturing will completely change “gun ownership” within our lifetimes. I love my AR-15s and my Glocks, and I hate that the Liberals want to confiscate them. I can hardly wait to buy or print laser guns and photon blasters that future confiscators will never know about.
Where do you see TheGunBlog.ca in the next few years?
My dream is for TheGunBlog.ca to inform and inspire more and more gun owners to think, speak and act like free and empowered citizens.
As TheGunBlog.ca says at the bottom of every page: The most important part of gun rights isn’t “gun,” it’s “rights.”