Stuart Seki is in Mayor David Miller’s crosshairs.
As the owner of 26 handguns, he is in jeopardy of loosing those firearms because of Miller’s aggressive calls to ban handguns across Canada.
Seki has been collecting guns since he was 16. His collection now spans 65 firearms, with the most prominent brands being Smith and Weston, Colt and Enfield.
“You can compare shooting sports to stamps,” Seki says. “With firearms you can shoot them or you can just collect them, or you can be a person that does both.”
The fascination began when he learned to shoot during childhood as an air cadet, and then grew when he joined Sharon gun club in 1987. Seki, now 40, has been a member ever since.
Mayor Miller believes that banning legal handguns is going to help cut down rampant murder rates. Seki, who has been working for the OPP for the last three years as a gunsmith and as a weapons technician since 1989 with the Canadian Forces Reserve, doesn’t think that will solve the problem.
“The only things these kinds of laws will do is keep honest people from doing what the government doesn’t want them to,” Seki says.
Seki says that in the 1990s the Liberal government implemented stricter laws governing the ownership of firearms in Canada.
“Mark Lepine went to a college in Montreal and went on a shooting rampage with what is known as a mini 14,” Seki says. “Everyone was up in arms and decided to limit the capacity of magazines and started to prohibit, ban, and restrict lots of different types of firearms.”
Seki says the Canadian government spent almost $2 billion to register every firearm in the country.
“Do you think a criminal is going to be concerned that they’re using a prohibited firearm and a prohibited magazine in a crime?” Seki demands.
He doesn’t believe that crime involving handguns has decreased over the years, and is frustrated by the fact that the government could have used that money for other social causes that desperately need it.
Seki thinks $2 billion would have been much better spent in purchasing more MRI machines and other medical equipment and help that are desperately needed right now.
Angelo Hsu, a student who’s been in the reserves since 2005, says the money and effort that would be invested into banning handguns should instead be pumped into increasing emergency services.
“Guns are not the issue here, it’s the level of enforcement,” Hsu says.
Hsu says in European countries like Sweden almost every single household owns an assault rifle from their days of conscription. After people were discharged they were allowed to keep their weapon and ammunition. However, he says firearm related crime in Sweden is exceptionally low.
“When the liberals passed the firearms act, in my opinion it was one of the most unorganized acts that a federal government could pass,” Hsu says. “It’s so filled with loop holes.”
Hsu says that the storage requirements being dictated are open to a lot of interpretation. Right now he is way above the legal limit in how he stores his handgun and two rifles, but explains that if one of his firearms were to be stolen he would be charged to the extreme extent of the law.
Hsu thinks if handguns were banned it would be naive to think they would just disappear.
“If you ban something chances are people will still get the supply,” Hsu says. “There’s no way border control can control the flow of every single package into the country, they’re trying but there are still many ways to smuggle firearms into the country.”
Andrea Hannen, a regional director for Canadian Shooting Sports Association, is outraged by a proposal that would ban a tool used in both a recognized sport and an Olympic discipline.
“Personally, I would probably move my business and my family to the United States,” Hannen says. “I wouldn’t want to remain in a country that had such little regard for property rights that it allowed the government to seize my possessions without cause, due process or appropriate financial compensation.”
Like Hannen, Seki and Hsu are concerned over how the government would go about fairly enacting such a ban.
“My collection is a moderate collection. There are people out there who own hundreds. You have firearm collections like people have comic book collections,” Seki says.
Hsu says he believes one of two things would happen if the ban went into effect.
“According to the firearms act the RCMP can come to my house, confiscate my weapon without compensating me, and since my handgun is a limited edition it would be $1,300 down the drain,” says Hsu, certain his weapon would then simply be destroyed.
He believes the second option would be allowing handgun owners to keep their weapons, forbidden to discharge them, forcing the gun to become a wall piece, or what they call in the reserves a safe queen.
“If you’re going to ban legal handguns, it’s just unfair for legal gun owners because they’ve done nothing wrong,” Hsu says. “To me it seems like they’re incompetently trying to find a solution for an issue there is no solution for.”
Hannen also worries about how such a ban would affect society overall.
“Gun bans never work as a means of reducing crime,” She says. “They’re always a miserable failure and they carry the additional risks of undermining property rights and privacy rights in ways that affect everyone, not just gun owners.”