Gun Control in Canada
We’re coming after your AR-15s, said Beto O'Rourke when running for POTUS in 2019. But in February, O'Rourke moderated that warning with: "I’m not interested in taking anything from anyone. What I want to make sure that what we do is defend the Second Amendment. I want to make sure that we protect our fellow Texans far better than we’re doing right now."
Why did O’Rourke back down? Because in Texas, no gun-hating political aspirant has much chance of ever winning political office. More importantly, the Second Amendment says Americans have a right to own guns. So, unless O’Rourke can somehow arrange to have the Second Amendment removed from the Constitution, Americans may own, buy, sell, or transfer a gun.
It’s a different story in Canada. Canada has no law specific to gun ownership. All Canada must do to ban guns is to invoke an Order in Council (OC). One such OC, effective in October last year, froze the movement of handguns. Canadian citizens cannot now buy, sell, or transfer handguns within Canada, nor bring them into the country. Eventually guns in Canada will be extinct with this rule.
The reason Justin Trudeau gave Canadian citizens for the gun freeze were the same reasons leftist Americans give time and again. He said, “Canadians have the right to feel safe in their homes, in their schools and in their places of worship. With handgun violence increasing across Canada, it is our duty to take urgent action to remove these deadly weapons from our communities. Today, we're keeping more guns out of our communities and keeping our kids safe.”
Liken Trudeau’s statement to banning all safe drivers from the highways and allowing only drunk drivers to drive, because taking guns away from lawabiding citizens leaves the lawbreakers with guns.
It is unclear how a freeze on the movement of handguns is going to stem rising handgun violence. The Order of Council is reserved for emergencies and meant as a temporary measure. Restricting movement of handguns versus confiscating Canadians’ handguns is somehow going to end or reverse the “emergency” of rising handgun violence.
Trudeau offered no empirical evidence to support his new emergency public policy. I searched and found nothing to back up Trudeau’s connection between handgun ownership and rising handgun violence in Canada. There is a plethora of data showing that handgun ownership by law-abiding citizens is not the basis for the rising handgun violence in America. In fact, just the opposite.
The more a government infringes on the rights of its citizens to own and use handguns the more unsafe its citizens. Handgun infringement causes demand for handguns sales and use to increase. If legal guns are not available because of too restrictive ownership laws, then illegal gun demand increases. A decrease in handgun violence can only be achieved with comprehensive crime policy. A policy that is even and strict when it comes to crimes committed with a handgun.
That is not a policy that has at its core weak bail, soft on crime judges, denuded police forces, get-out-of-jail-free cards, or comprehensive background checks, to name a few common-sense penology tenets. Take every handgun away from every Canadian and American citizen and handgun crime will soar like never before.
The Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR) challenged the May 2020 assault-weapons ban in federal court. CCFR is a federally incorporated not-for-profit corporation, which acts as the public relations and education branch of the Canadian firearms community. CCFR membership is composed of individual Canadians, corporations, and industry organizations. The CCFR currently has a membership more than 28,300. CCRF is to Canadian what the NRA is to Americans.
CCFR argued that the ban exceeded constitutional legal authority. CCFR referenced the authority: “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person, and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”
So too our Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution refers to the rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” However, the founders felt it was imperative that a right to keep and bear arms be delineated in the Constitution. The Second Amendment guarantees Americans the fundamental right “to keep and bear arms.” Further, that that right not be infringed upon. Clearly Canada’s gun freeze would be a clear violation of that right.
The Second Amendment is the difference between freedom from tyrannical freeze laws, infringement, and the right of ownership.
The true reasons for Canada’s crime problem was revealed in a December 31, 2022 piece in the Toronto Sun by Lorrie Goldstein titled, “Canada’s soft on crime philosophy began five decades ago.”
The handgun freeze policy is really nothing more than a coverup of failed justice system policies giving rise to the rising handgun violence, both in Canada and the USA. A holistic approach to punishment, rehabilitation, and common-sense gun control will keep violent crime manageable while not abridging law-abiding citizens’ rights to own a gun and defending themselves.