Backgrounds of the authors
Both authors are American immigrants to Canada and firearms enthusiasts. Gary Mauser has lived in Canada for over 22 years and Taylor Buckner has for over 29 years. Taylor Buckner lives in Quebec and Gary Mauser lives in BC.
Professor Gary Mauser has over 25 years of experience in conducting survey research studies of public opinion. He has written two books and more than 30 publications in criminology, political science, psychology, and marketing. Taylor Buckner has 35 years of experience in survey research, much of it dealing with attitudes towards minorities and anti-semitism. His training in survey research took place at the Survey Research Center of the University of California at Berkeley. He has published two books and presented or published more than 25 papers on the police, heterosexual transvestites, rumour transmission, anti-semitism, attitudes toward minorities, and many other subjects.
Gary Mauser: I was born and raised in California, but purchased my first firearm in Canada after becoming a citizen. I left California in 1971 for France, where I spent three years teaching at the University of Grenoble. After a year in New Orleans, I immigrated to Canada in 1974 to accept a job at Simon Fraser University. Except for a year as a Visiting Professor at Laval University in Quebec City, I've lived in B.C. ever since.
I became interested in firearms after I'd been in Canada for almost ten years. In 1983, I had just turned forty, and it was time to reconcile with my father. We had been estranged since I was a teenager. This meant picking up a warsurplus Mauser rifle my father had given me as a birthday present almost 20 years earlier. At the time, I'd refused to accept it. I couldn't have cared less about rifles, history, or even my family name [Mauser-designed military small arms have been used around the World from the 1840s to the present day- ed]. To bring the rifle back to Canada, I had to learn the laws relating to firearms. Unfortunately, I didn't know anything about rifles or Canadian gun laws, but soon discovered just how much there was to know!
Once I got the old Mauser rifle home, I wondered what it was. Who had used this rifle and why? That got me interested in history, particularly that of firearms development, military strategy, and Canadian history. I also began to wonder, what's it like to shoot a rifle? Once at a rifle range, my intellectual journey really got under way. Besides target shooting, I became interested in gunsmithing, handloading, and hunting. Finally, I became interested in the politics of gun control and the sociology of gun ownership. Who uses firearms? Who doesn't? Who is afraid of firearms? Why do governments campaign against firearms ownership rather than doing something constructive to reduce criminal violence?
Taylor Buckner: I was born in Kentucky, was on the high-school rifle team briefly, hunted once with my father, did my compulsory military service, joined the Oakland, California Police Department (where I became interested in gun control), which became the source of my Doctoral dissertation. I moved to Canada in 1967 to take a job at Sir George Williams (now Concordia) University. During the twenty years I lived in downtown Montreal I was not involved with guns at all, though I had a shotgun my grandmother gave me as a high school graduation present sitting in the closet.
In 1987, I bought a 140 acre tree farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. One day, while in Canadian Tire, I saw a box of clay targets and a hand launcher, and thought of my old shotgun. I spent $15 on the targets and launcher, got out the old gun, went out to the farm, and tried to break a few targets. One thing followed another and I joined a local shooting club to become an active, if not terribly successful, competitive shotgun and pistol target shooter. Shortly after I received my first pistol permit, Marc Lepine went on his rampage. I have since spent more time in the "gun control debate" than I have shooting.
As a police officer I thought gun control would keep me safe, and I supported anything called gun control. As I researched it over the years I came to realize that it did not work, except in totalitarian societies. As is true of most Canadian gun owners, I support controls which keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those who would misuse them, but I have become increasingly sceptical of the utility of controls on ordinary gun-owners. I personally give the police a list of all my guns, whether required or not, because I want them to have it in case of theft. Just because I do this, personally, does not mean that I think it is a good public policy to have mandatory universal registration.
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