THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
The Canadian authorities has tabled new laws to strengthen the screening technique of particular person firearm homeowners, institute a compulsory buyback of banned semi-automatic army type firearms and to ban the sale, import and switch of handguns.
This new laws, Invoice C-21, is a possible game-changer, nevertheless it’s been a very long time coming. Requires a ban on semi-automatic, military-style weapons date again to the Montréal bloodbath greater than 30 years in the past.
Montréal Bloodbath anniversary: The media should play a key position in combating femicide
Anne McLellan, then the Liberal justice minister, promised a ban on the gun utilized in that tragedy — the Ruger Mini 14 — in addition to the infamous AR-15, nevertheless it by no means got here to move.
In 2005, when Liberal Chief Paul Martin promised a ban on handguns as he ran for re-election, there have been about 350,000 restricted weapons in Canada. Now there are greater than one million. The proliferation of handguns is partly the results of the relief of legal guidelines, however much more the dearth of implementation of the legal guidelines that exist.
Whereas some individuals are rejoicing concerning the new laws, others are asking why it took so lengthy.
The easy reply? The gun foyer. However maybe there’s extra to it than that.
Extra weapons, extra gun deaths
The proof is evident — in industrialized nations the place there are extra weapons, there are greater charges of firearms crime and gun-related deaths.
A comparability of Canada, the UK, Australia and the USA is instructive: Whereas charges of murder with out weapons are comparable (though the U.S. is barely greater), charges of murder with weapons are dramatically completely different.
The U.Okay. has a price per capita of gun homicides that’s one-tenth of Canada’s. There have been simply 33 gun murders within the U.Okay. in 2019. In Canada in 2020, police reported 277 firearm homicides.
An necessary distinction concerning the U.Okay.? It banned handguns after the Dunblane bloodbath in 1996 that left 16 younger schoolchildren useless.
(AP Picture/Lynne Sladky)
Whereas mass shootings can happen in nations with strict legal guidelines, they happen far much less ceaselessly. The U.Okay. not often sees them. Canada has about one a yr. The USA had greater than 600 in 2021 and has seen greater than 250 this yr, leaving tons of useless and injured. In 2020, virtually 20,000 People have been murdered with weapons.
Rural charges of gun violence
Regardless of the rhetoric about gun management being an city or gang-related difficulty, Statistics Canada knowledge reveals rural charges of gun crime are greater in most provinces. Charges of home homicides, murders of law enforcement officials and suicide are additionally typically considerably greater in rural areas and the west.
Gun advocates complain that stricter gun legal guidelines punish law-abiding gun-owners. However handguns and semi-automatic military-style assault weapons usually are not used for looking or by farmers for professional functions.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Whereas smuggled handguns play a task within the unlawful community of medicine and human trafficking, they don’t seem to be the complete drawback. Authorized handguns are sometimes stolen, illegally offered and diverted. Many firearms recovered in crime in Canada which were traced again by authorities reportedly got here from Canadian sources.
The firearms used within the Montréal bloodbath, on the Québec Islamic Centre and at Dawson Faculty, for instance, have been all legally acquired.
Others, such because the 2018 Toronto Danforth mass taking pictures, concerned weapons that have been stolen from authorized homeowners.
American-style arming for self-defence can also be rising in Canada. Colten Boushie’s killer, who was acquitted of homicide and manslaughter, used a semi-automatic pistol. He additionally had two handguns he claimed have been for “taking pictures coyotes,” not a authorized function.
And the hyperlinks between right-wing and white supremacists teams and the gun foyer are troubling.
The parable of the Wheat King and the killing of Colten Boushie
Guarding towards smugness
The gun management debate has been waged for many years, however we’ve got reached a tipping level. Canadians shouldn’t really feel smug watching the carnage unfold within the U.S., the place there are virtually as many weapons as individuals and greater than a 3rd of the firearms are handguns.
Nations within the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and even Switzerland have strengthened their legal guidelines lately. Canada, meantime, is ranked fourth amongst nations within the Group for Financial Co-operation and Growth within the price of gun loss of life.
The Supreme Court docket of Canada has stated unequivocally that there isn’t any American-style proper to personal weapons in Canada, however many politicians echo gun foyer rhetoric about gun proprietor rights.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Having researched gun violence and advocated for stricter legal guidelines for greater than 30 years, I argue that the issue has not really been resistance by the gun foyer and its political allies. There are fewer than 300,000 authorized handgun homeowners in Canada and even fewer collectors of semi–automated, military-style weapons.
The gun foyer in Canada is remarkably well-resourced and has up to now hijacked the general public agenda. However for many years, most Canadians have supported a ban on semi-automatic military-style assault weapons and handguns.
Canadians must take motion
The uncomfortable fact is, nevertheless, that until they’re immediately affected by gun violence or on the entrance strains, most Canadians don’t actively foyer for gun management. The gun foyer, meantime, will put up billboards, donate to the trigger, manage protests and even stalk politicians on the marketing campaign path.
Politicians are much more more likely to hear from gun management opponents than supporters. Public conferences on gun management are typically swarmed by the gun foyer and lots of politicians have been focused throughout the election.
Whereas just one per cent of Canadians personal handguns, handgun homeowners dominated consultations on gun management proposals regardless of polls exhibiting clearly that almost all of Canadians assist gun management.
Canadians might want to take motion to make sure the brand new proposed legal guidelines turn out to be a actuality.
Wendy Cukier is President of the Coalition for Gun Management.
She has not obtained funding for her analysis on gun management within the final 20 years.