Calls for Stricter Canadian Gun Owner Mental Health Screening

Mental Health

Canada-( In the wake of every mass shooting, the media-presented solution is always the same –– more restrictions on the people who did not commit the crime. That refrain is just as predictable as ours –– stop blaming the people who did not murder anyone!

Jeff Wilkinson, writing for, did his best to turn an American mass murder into a call for greater Canadian firearm restrictions. Wilkinson cited statements by Iain Overton, research director for Britain’s Action on Armed Violence, as the rational for stricter mental health checks.

“I don’t think Canada should feel smug,” Overton said. “Between 2003 and 2012, over 5,500 Canadians shot and killed themselves. And this, I think, is something that really is lacking in the Canadian debate.”

What’s missing from Overton’s comment?

Full disclosure of Canadian suicide numbers by all methods. That gives a vastly different view of Canada’s suicide deaths.

Overton would have readers believe it’s a gun problem. It’s not. According to Statistics Canada, 44% of all suicide deaths are by hanging; 25% are by poison; and just 16% of all suicide deaths are from gunshot wounds.

Almost half of all Canadian suicides are death by hanging. Where is Overton’s call to ban ropes in the wake of 27,000 hanging suicides in his quoted range, 2003 to 2012? Or his call for more mental health checks at home improvement stores?

Wilkinson and Overton care only about firearm suicides. Why is that?

Are the thousands who hang themselves morally superior to those who shoot themselves? The answer, it seems, is a resounding “YES!”

You can’t blame guns for hanging suicides, and nobody will ban rope, so they howl about the smallest segment of Canadian suicides, those 16% of suicides by firearm.

The uncomfortable truth ignored by Wilkinson and avoided by Overton is this: While Canada’s suicide by firearm numbers continue to DROP, our overall suicide rate continues to rise.

In 2009, 3,890 Canadians killed themselves. By 2014, that number was 4,254, and yet Wilkinson will only talk about guns.

“If you don’t have a gun in the house, then your risk of suicide will go down, according to Overton.”

What a lovely but misleading statement. Firearms are inanimate objects. A gun cannot force a human being to do anything. A gun does not hold some mystical power over us. A gun does not, and cannot, whisper “shoot yourself” in your ear.

That’s the stuff of anti-gun fantasy and lousy Hollywood movies.

The terrible truth is this –– when people decide to end their lives and they are serious about that decision, nothing will prevent them. The annual increase in Canadian suicide numbers proves this with horrible clarity.

Only a fool would deny Canada faces serious societal problems when confronted with those numbers.

Why are the 1,957 people who hang themselves and the 1,063 who poison themselves each year ignored by Wilkinson? Because they didn’t kill themselves with a gun?

Statistics Canada dedicates an entire report to firearm suicides.

No such report exists for hanging or poisoning suicides.

We ask again –– why are those 3,000 suicides per year –– tragedies and failures of society, each and every one –– seemingly of little consequence?

Obviously, we have a national suicide problem. Those numbers don’t lie. Over 3,000 people killing themselves each year by hanging and poison is a wake-up call –– at least it should be a wake-up call.

If we want a conversation about suicide prevention in Canada, then let’s have a serious conversation. Bring everyone to the table. Stop hiding from inconvenient facts that don’t support your pet agenda.

Let’s stop “blaming guns” for suicides (and murders) and truthfully examine the state of mental health in Canada.

About CSSA:Canadian Shooting Sports Association

The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes Canada’s firearms heritage, traditional target shooting competition, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor competitions and youth programs that promote these Canadian heritage activities.

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None of my guns have ever loaded themselves or shot anybody ever. Kennedy’s car killed more people than any of my guns.

Wild Bill

The Canadians better pay less attention to mental health, and more attention to this new disease called Klebsi that is coming out of China. Apparently there is not a cure yet. Anybody else hear about Klebsi?


We’re worse than Canada by far. And almost everywhere else for that matter. The guns make it all too easy.


Got to keep those guns out of the hands of canadians, after all they are still subjects of the Queen of England.
If I had to live in Canada I would consider an alternative because there is nothing there but high taxes, extremely high costs of living and an extreme liberal running the country.


Far better hunting than here, though. And much lower suicide rates than here. And much lower suicide rates by gun than here? Have you see our gun suicide rates here?! Compared to everywhere else in the world? No that’s insane. Guns certainly make it a lot easier to get the job done right first time too.

Wild Bill

@Tcat, I see that some liberal hipster thinks that lower suicide rates in Canada out weighs American freedoms. Eliminate freedom so that suicide rates go down? That is a poor trade. If Tulip would rather live in Canada, then I’ll not stand in his way.


W. Bill I agree as long as he tiptoes through the tulips. An overused phrase, you can’t fix stupid, applies here.

Sam W.

Psychiatry is not about stopping problems it is about pushing dangerous drugs, and exempting dangerous criminals from prosecution. They want to sell everyone these drugs so it will be impossible to own firearms. It is like a legalized drug pusher only out to make money.


If you want to know who causes these incidents, look to who benefits from them.