On March 24, 2020, the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau said that the use of location tracking technology is not completely off the table to tackle the Wuhan virus.
“I think we recognize that in an emergency situation we need to take certain steps that wouldn’t be taken in a non-emergency situation, but as far as I know that is not a situation we are looking at right now,” he stated.
“But … all options are on the table to do what is necessary to keep Canadians safe.”
The Post Millennial reported that Toronto City Mayor John Tory announced that his city has already enacted similar measures to track city dwellers’ phones.
Tory said to the tech-news site The Logic that cellphone companies were giving him “all the data on the pinging off their network on the weekend” so that they could track where people were gathering.
“[It’s] something we’re doing now… I asked for it, and I’m getting it,” stated Tory.
Tory’s comments contradict the official stance of the city of Toronto, who says it “will not be using cell phone location data.”
“The City of Toronto will not be using cell phone location data, nor does it have such data, to determine where people are not practicing physical distancing. We know the vast majority of people who are not essential or critical workers are staying home to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said spokesperson Brad Ross in an e-mail statement, according to a Global News report.
In countries like South Korea, phone and credit card data are used to track the movement of people who have contracted the Wuhan virus. If someone was in close contact with another person who caught the disease, a notification was then sent to their phone.
In South Korea, individuals potentially exposed to the disease are quarantined at home and tracked with GPS technology. Fines for leaving their house are roughly $8,000.
Similarly, Israel has also started using cellular data to track individuals who tested positive for the Wuhan virus.
Americans should be thankful they live in a country with robust civil liberties.
In many other countries, times of crisis instantly propel the government to take extreme actions that substantially erode basic freedoms.
If Democrats Win, Will Guns Sales Go Through the Roof?
No matter who wins in 2020, the biggest story of this election cycle has been the record levels of gun sales. In a piece titled “Guns Sales Break Records With Gun Control Legislation Likely If Democrats Win”, Newsweek highlights the meteoric rise of gun sales in 2020 and how these sales will only go up under a Biden administration.
It’s likely that a Biden win on November 3, 2020 will give life to gun control measure such as universal background checks, assault weapons bans, and national gun buybacks. Scott Reeves of Newsweek noted that “coronavirus pandemic, urban riots and the likelihood of increased regulation if the Democrats win the White House, regain control of the Senate and hold the House” have led to the unprecedented firearms sales. A Biden win would only accelerate this trend, as people become frightened by the prospect of gun control.
Through September, background checks recorded by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reached 28.826 million. This total surpassed 2019’s record of 28.369 million, representing a 28 percent increase, according to the FBI report. As of September 30, Illinois was leading the nation in background checks with 5.6 million. Reeves noted that other states such as Kentucky (2.364 million) checks, Texas (1.730 million), Florida (1.386 million), Indiana (1.203 million), California (1.187 million) and Pennsylvania (1.030 million), were also experiencing significant upticks in gun sales.
Since NICS came into effect on November 1998, a total of 361.830 million background checks for all purposes have been completed since the program began in November 1998.
Zogby Analytics provided some more data showing how enthusiastic Americans are about buying guns:
Zogby Analytics in Utica, New York found that the number of gun owners increased 3.9% between October 2019 and October 2020 to 31.3% of the population. The number of individuals in a household keeping a gun at home, work, vacation cottage or club for personal protection, hunting or target shooting increased 7% to 42.2% in the last year. Membership in the National Rifle Association, a gun rights advocacy group, increased 6% to 17.7% in the last year, Zogby’s polling found.
“While there is fierce debate in Washington D.C. and among voters about what certain types of guns and accessories constitute ‘assault weapons,’ adults in the U.S. are buying and keeping more guns,” Jonathan Zogby declared.
Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, an anti-Second Amendment organization, is of the opinion that uncertainty brought about by the Wuhan virus pandemic, riots, and the election are contributing factors to the rise in gun sales.
“Typically, gun sales rise in times of fear,” he said to Newsweek. “We live in a time when there’s a lot of fear, including fear that there might be more gun regulation with a Democratic President and Democratic majorities in Congress. And, there’s been a lot of unrest.”
Americans actions speak louder than their words. Even if Joe Biden does the unthinkable (and the very unlikely) by winning on November 3, his administration will encounter stiff resistance from gun-owning Americans across the political spectrum.
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