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DAVE HANSON: Responsible use of firearms

Competitors are shown in action at the P.E.I. Rifle Association championships on the Alexandra range outside of Charlottetown in this 2015 file photo.
(PEIRA Photo)
Competitors are shown in action at the P.E.I. Rifle Association championships on the Alexandra range outside of Charlottetown in this 2015 file photo.(PEIRA Photo) - Submitted

You will certainly leave with a smile on your face and positive memories that will last a lifetime

I would like to compliment Des Colohan on his opinion piece, which was published on Nov. 18 in The Guardian. His correct terminology regarding firearms was refreshing to say the least.

I would however like to provide a bit of additional pertinent information to this learned gentleman and others who have read his article. In the opinion piece, he calls out three firearms and their perceived uses. I’d like to take a moment to provide a bit of background on each one of these.

His mention of the 9mm Beretta CX-4 carbine for rabbit hunting is spot on in some aspects, but makes little logical sense in other areas. A rifle of this caliber is useful for this purpose because the bullet is not a high velocity projectile and therefore does not carry as far, nor does it create a large wound channel that renders the animal unusable as food.

Most people tend to use a low powered .22 caliber rifle for this type of hunting, though because most rabbits are taken at ranges under 50 meters. It is very doubtful that a hunter would come upon a “sleeping family of rabbits” that would require 10 shots to dispatch. The magazines for this rifle are interchangeable with its handgun counterpart, which makes it a viable platform for a number of target shooting events and primarily what this rifle was designed for.

As far as using a tactical shotgun for goose or duck hunting, I say perfect. The plastic stocks are impervious to inclement weather, tend to be less expensive than wood stocked versions and they usually have better sights than those found on traditional shotguns. The magazine capacity for hunting is the same for all shotguns, so like most commercially sold shotguns, must be limited to no more than two shells, (plus one in the chamber). Tactical shotguns sometimes include features to increase their “tacticool” appeal to buyers, much the same, as you would dress up a car with a spoiler, alloy wheels or aftermarket exhaust system. Not entirely useful on Canada’s highways, but nevertheless appealing to many.

The AR-15 (modern sporting rifle) is a 55-year-old design, which is considered restricted in Canada (to be used at approved ranges only) and typically fires a .224” diameter bullet that has an effective range of 300-400 meters. They are widely used in Canada for target shooting competitions such as service rifle, 3-gun, precision rifle shooting and a host of other disciplines. I use the term disciplines because each type of competition or target shooting requires different skill sets and equipment.

I’ll put it this way - you would not show up to a soccer game with a tennis ball, or play baseball with a football. They are both useful but are perhaps more suited to a specific use. It’s the same way with the responsible use of firearms in specific circumstances and competition. In many other countries, these rifles are permitted to be used for hunting and varmint control, as they are well suited to these applications, in addition to sporting competition.

I’d like to offer all those interested in the shooting sports to come join other firearm enthusiasts to enjoy the fun and camaraderie in a safe, responsible manner. I don’t know if it will increase your testosterone level, but you will certainly leave with a smile on your face and positive memories that will last a lifetime.

- Dave Hanson, Pownal, is president, P.E.I. Provincial Rifle Association

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