The BBC reports that out neighbors in the Great White North may soon be moving to close a ‘crossbow loophole’ in their arms control laws after a man was shot to death on a busy Toronto street. With a crossbow, of all things.
Crossbows, both there and here, are the subject of relatively little preventative regulation. Many states (and provinces) allow hunting with them, and they’re nearly as efficient deer-killing implements as traditional muzzleloaders. Using one in a crime still nets you a lengthy enhancement to your sentence, but the ATFE has no jurisdiction over them and even most felons can buy, own and shoot them unless they’re on parole. Kind of like the Dukes of Hazzard, but with shoulder stocks.
This laissez faire attitude surprises me on some levels, and not on others. If you’re a person who gets all their information from the movies, you would think crossbows were the preferred weapon of assassins and serial killers, able to kill silently from hundreds of yards off. They’re not, but you wouldn’t know that from their Hollywood rep. They’re ‘weapons’ after all, and we civilized people mustn’t let just anyone have them. Or so the logic goes.
On a realistic level, though, crossbows don’t really deserve much regulation. They’re not concealable, not quick or easy to load, and they only account for a handful of mostly accidental casualties. They’re nearly useless for muggers or spree-killers, and even damned difficult to commit suicide with. Compared to paring knives, they’re almost harmless.
Knowing Canada, however, that will be no reason not to ban them. In typical Canadian fashion, crossbow pistols are already banned (because they are ‘pistols’) despite being nearly useless for anything but the extermination of very slow-moving rodents.
Looking over the history of crossbow crimes in Canada, I’m sure that somebody will call it a crime wave and demand legislative action. Gun control—in all its forms—continues to be a ‘solution’ in search of a problem.