Gun control refers to the regulation regarding civilians’ manufacture, possession, sale, modification, transfer, and use of firearms. This debate has remained prevalent for many years without a successful end. Some of the latest arguments regarding gun control relate to gun violence and mass shootings across elementary schools in the United States.
Gun violence has been rising in Canada, but there could be a brighter future with these gun regulations and the embracing of gun detection technology. Understanding them lets you know where you stand in the fight against gun violence.
With that, this blog will discuss the history of gun control alongside other essential information.
Early History of Gun Control
Regulation of firearms in Canada can be traced back to the 19th century when the government ordered the licensing of various firearms, including air guns. The registration of handguns began officially in 1934 as a law, while automatic firearms followed suit in 1951. As of the late 1970s, anyone who wished to own or operate firearms was required to acquire a certificate (Firearms Acquisition Certificate, FAC) from the police agency.
Gun Control History in the Early 21st Century (Before 2012)
Canada didn’t stop at the FAC but required every firearm owner to own a license alongside the previous certificate. The permit was either a possession only (POL) or possession and acquisition (PAL), accompanied by a legal registration of all firearms.
By 2005, nearly 3% of every Canadian household owned handguns, while at least 16% owned firearms of other types. Research shows that the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) reported 1.8 million legal firearm licenses, approximately 5.5% of its then population. British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario were the most licensed provinces.
Gun Control Between 2012 and 2020
October 2014 saw Stephen Blaney bring forward a bill that sought to minimize the legal requirements for transporting restricted firearms by licensed dealers. Compulsory training for all amateur firearms license applicants for greater safety in 2015 accompanied the law.
In June 2019, the government conducted various amendments to the pre-existing laws, bestowing the responsibility of firearms management on technical professionals. Thus reinforcing transportation requirements, extending background checks to a lifetime (from five years), and restricting firearms from areas other than the range.
Following the Nova Scotia attacks in 2020, Justin Trudeau, the then Prime Minister, announced that approximately 1,500 models of mainly semi-automatic firearms would be categorized as prohibited with immediate effect.
The law provided owners of such guns with a two-year grace period and various disposal options, including selling one’s privately owned firearms to the government or voluntarily surrendering guns to the government. Those who failed to volunteer or sell firearms to the government were forced to let them go alongside a penalty or prosecution.
Present Gun Control
October 2022 saw a national freeze regarding the transfer of handguns by individuals through regulatory amendments. Exemptions were offered to authorized people and athletes, trainers, and coaches of Olympic and Paralympic.
Justin Trudeau’s order of 2020 was initially set to end in two years but was lengthened to October 2023 to allow the officials to prepare for the confiscation procedure. It was also meant to give the remaining businesses, families, and individuals with restricted firearms more time to comply with the order.
Other Gun Prohibitions in Canada
Besides the gradual gun control practices, there are many other prohibitions surrounding guns in Canada, including:
The currently prohibited firearms and devices include mechanical or electrical gadgets made to be modified to mimic a gun, handgun barrels below 105 mm, suppressors, and replica firearms.
Any handgun ammunition made to go through the body armour is prohibited, excluding sporting rounds like SS197SR. Furthermore, Flechette rounds and explosive ammunition used alongside cartridges were also banned.
Legally, the potential age for registering a non-prohibited firearm in Canada is eighteen years and above. However, children at 12 can acquire a minor’s license, which allows them to purchase ammunition and borrow a firearm unsupervised, mainly for hunting.
The maximum capacity of a magazine is mainly determined by the type of gun it’s made for and not the potential type of firearm it may fit in. Due to this fact, the gun model doesn’t influence the magazine’s capacity but its own.
Benefits of Gun Control
Gun control has proven beneficial to Canadians in many ways. First, the country has reported minimized cases of accidental shootings among amateur gun handlers and children. There have also been fewer cases of gun violence in the country thanks to the regulations and the advancing gun detection technology. Gun control has made it difficult for people intending to initiate mass shootings to succeed, saving more lives.
Citizens can walk confidently across the streets and visit other public areas, knowing their safety is assured thanks to gun regulations. Crime rates involving guns have also decreased significantly because potential criminals cannot access firearms.
However, the connection between crime rates and gun control is complicated but still under further development. Lastly, gun control can assist in reducing the number of gun-related suicides or homicides since these firearms are the commonly used devices in such cases.