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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.

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  1. Those wacky Canadians. This has to be the stupidest "feel good" legislation I have seen in a while. Now the politicians can claim that they are doing their part to fight the ongoing battle against crossbow violence. Nip it in the bud is good thinking. Just one madman with a crossbow, could do a lot of damage. Why wait till it really happens? Go after the black ones first, they are always the most dangerous.

    Since they have so severely restricted firearms, now they have to create other political fodder. Hockey sticks and baseball bats will be next (well, not hockey sticks, we don't want a revolution). Go Canada.

    • Dont call me wacky, im 15 and just bought arrows and hunting tips at Canadian tire and no one even tried to stop me. Even the person in line behind me who was a teacher thought it was cool

  2. I can see it now: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives, Crossbows and Kitchen Knives. I feel safer already.

  3. I'd just like to point out that no legislation whatsoever has been proposed. This homicide just took place last Thursday, December 2nd. It is an unusual crime to begin with, and in addition, the victim was killed by his son.

    Like most places there are many strange laws in Canada but so far limiting access to full-size hunting crossbows isn't one of them.

  4. As another poster has point out, there has been no legislation proposed. What we really don’t need, here in Canada, is anyone posting brilliant ideas of new things to ban, like this blog appears to do.

  5. Come on for God’s sake Chris, you get this report from the BBC and print it as gospel? Most of the crap from the BBC is usually about as factual as the Urban Dictionary.

    No legislation like this exists here in Canada, no one has talked about it expect maybe left wingers in the Toronto coffee shops and we sure as hell don’t need anyone putting any ideas in our politicians heads. They’re screwed up enough as it is.

    We are fighting a gun rights battle now and came close to abolishing the bloody long gun registry, all we need is the hue and cry to go out to restrict cross bows.

    Next time you see or hear something from the BBC concerning Canada, send me an email. I’ll let you know whether there is any truth to it.

  6. If crossbows kill people, then spoons make people fat. We have a huge childhood obesity problem in North America. Thousands of people are dying from obesity-related illnesses and here we are talking about crossbows.

    The real problem is spoons and forks. They kill more people than crossbows, guns, knives, and even rubber bands in Canada, so the responsible person would ban spoons.

  7. Spoons and forks are a very serious problem here in Canada (not to mention the US). Like you stated we have a serious obesity problem in North America. Our politicians must license and restrict the ownership and usage of forks and spoons; the safety of the general populace is at stake


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