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Questions Nobody Asks After Mass Murder With A Firearm

Senator André Pratte invoked the Quebec mosque killer’s name on Twitteri, tied it to the New Zealand mosque tragedy, then implied Bill C-71 will stop these kinds of horrors from happening in the future.

Utter nonsense.

Bill C-71 would give the RCMP the authority to examine the entire life of an applicant. It does not give police the power to read minds or see into the future. 

When the Quebec mosque murderer applied for a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL), the RCMP background check didn’t raise a red flag because nothing in his past indicated he was headed down that dark and horrific road. Nor did the background checks performed every time he purchased “Restricted” firearms. 

The post-atrocity scrutiny of the killer’s life didn’t reveal anything to indicate he was capable of such evil. In his specific case, the lifetime background check provisions in Bill C-71 wouldn’t have changed anything. 

“But how can Alexandre Bissonnette… and other white, male, politically motivated terrorists all emerge from some void, absent any meaningful predictors?” John Semley asked in his Globe and Mail editorial.ii

It’s a great question. It’s also impossible to answer. 

What we do know is both the Quebec mosque killer and the New Zealand mass murderer had valid firearms licences issued by their respective governments. 

After the Quebec mosque tragedy, nobody dared ask the following questions of our government: 

  • Did the current firearm owner licensing system fail? 
  • If so, how did the system fail? 
  • Did someone miss critical information during the background check?
  • Did someone overlook or ignore a family member’s safety concern?
  • Is there any human error in the process we can point to and say, ‘Here. This is why he was issued a licence.’
  • What can we do to fix these problems so this systemic failure never happens again?

It’s not about assigning blame, but fixing the flaws in a licensing system created on the promise it would enhance public safety.

We fear, in the wake of their terrible tragedy, nobody in New Zealand will ask these questions of their government, either. 





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