President's Perspective

From Issue: 
July 2016

On Sunday June 12, early in the morning, a gunman shot and killed 49 people and left another 53 wounded at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla. It’s the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, and my heart breaks for the victims, their families, and for anyone who was affected by this senseless tragedy.

There are a lot of factors in play when discussing this specific incident, but one factor it brings up is one that has been at the forefront of our safety messaging for many recent years: firearm safety. 

In Canada, we’re fortunate to have much tighter regulations on firearm ownership than our neighbours to the south. Proper authorization, training and a firearms licence are all mandatory for anyone wishing to have a prohibited firearm in Canada, meaning the odds are much lower that you’ll come face to face with a deranged individual who just happens to be carrying a gun.

Our risks are more related to accidental shootings.  They seem to happen around farms and northern communities where firearms are used primarily for hunting and wildlife control purposes. 

That’s why it’s especially important for these groups to take preventative measures before firearm safety becomes a lesson learned the hard way.

I can’t emphasize this enough: unload and lock your firearms away when they’re not being used. Ease of access is a big problem when it comes to firearm-related injuries and fatalities. 

By keeping guns locked away in a cabinet, safe or room designed specifically to hold them, they will not be easily available to be accessed or used in a home invasion or domestic dispute.

Roughly 80 per cent of firearm-related deaths in Canada are suicides. Most of them involve long guns, and are frequently more impulsive than planned. By keeping your firearms not readily available, you may very well be saving a life.

Safety, it’s an attitude!