Gun owners are one of the few groups that it is acceptable to stigmatize in Canada.
The latest instance comes from a billboard campaign launched by the southwestern Ontario division of Crime Stoppers, covering my city of London, as well as Elgin and Middlesex counties.
The campaign, which is accompanied by a fear-mongering video depicting an image of a masked assailant pointing a gun at the viewer through a car window, proudly boasts the statement “Guns are the problem.”
Gun-related crime in London is negligible. The city has had three homicides in all of 2016—and none of them have been reported as being by firearm.
The city’s police department makes a number of drug seizures, but few that involve firearms.
So guns aren’t the problem at all, but that hasn’t stopped London-Elgin-Middlesex Crime Stoppers from vowing to get “illegal guns off the street” by showing pictures of guns that aren’t actually illegal.
In fact, in order to make the depicted guns illegal, the owners would have to be unlawfully in position of them, which would mean that criminals—not guns—are the actual problem.
The response from the gun community has been swift with people withdrawing support from Crime Stoppers after the group’s alienation of gun owners.
One commenter noted that the campaign “will promote reporting typical hunters and sport shooters” to authorities.