Canada plans to follow in the path of the world’s worst dictators

(See also Olivia Murray's "Trudeau takes another major step towards totalitarianism.")

Canada's government, headed by its prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has introduced drastic anti-gun legislation that, if passed, will mean (in Trudeau's words) that "it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer, or import handguns anywhere in Canada."  This is one more step in Canada's mostly relentless push (only slightly alleviated during the Stephen Harper administration) to bring all weapons under government control.  This never ends well for a nation's people.

Even though Canada and America come from the same British tradition that, under the Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights, recognized certain English rights, they took different paths beginning in the 1760s.  In America, colonists were outraged when Parliament's law aggressively restricted some of those rights.  When the colonists challenged the laws by referring to the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights, Parliament announced that those documents controlled only the king, not Parliament.

In the face of that sophistry, the American people rebelled.  After they won the Revolution, they ratified the Bill of Rights, saying specific rights are inherent in the people and no form of government can restrict them.  The Canadians, however, did not rebel and meekly allowed the British Parliament and then their own Canadian Parliament to do with them as they wanted.

Image: Justin Trudeau boasting about planning to disarm his people.  Twitter screen grab.

One of the most important rights in the American Constitution is the right to keep and bear arms.  It is the only right that has a single amendment dedicated solely to stating that right.  And no wonder, for the Americans, initially using only citizen arms, had just defeated the most powerful military in the world.  They fully understood that a citizenry's only recourse against tyranny is to be armed — with the corollary being that a government that knows that its citizens are armed is unlikely to slip into tyranny.

In Canada, though, there's been a long history of the government limiting the people's right to keep and bear arms.  Beginning in the 1880s, Canada has aggressively forced citizens to register their arms with the government, ensuring that the government, which controls the police force and the military, knows exactly who constitutes a threat should the government and the people find themselves at odds.

In the past 50 years, in addition to forcing all guns to be registered, Canada has given police greater search and seizure powers, imposed long waiting periods to purchase guns, severely controlled magazine sizes, restricted the size of handguns, and required licenses to buy ammunition.  During Stephen Harper's conservative administration, only the registry requirement for long guns was walked back.

Once Trudeau gained power, however, the government went right back to restricting gun rights.  In 2020, Trudeau announced that 1,500 models of "assault-style" weapons were banned, although the law never defined the meaningless phrase "assault-style."  The government has spent the subsequent time planning a confiscation program that will include semi-automatic weapons (weapons that actual gun-owners understand are not machine guns because they still require a deliberate trigger motion for each shot fired).

Reuters notes that, despite its strong gun laws, Canada's homicide rate is high and rising.  This is a classic Fox Butterfield statement that ignores the truism that, at least in a country that is no longer small and homogenous, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

Now Trudeau's administration plans to "cap the market" for handguns and, among other things, to limit rifle magazines to five rounds:

The government has spoken.  If a criminal gang or a bear is coming after you, you might be lucky enough to have a long gun, but after bullet number five, you're done.  (Of course, the rich and powerful will retain their security guards.)

But that's not the real threat.  The real threat, always, is the government that has disarmed you.  For more information, I recommend R.J. Rummel's depressing but comprehensive "Statistics of Democide."  Remember, too, that Hitler disarmed the Jews, the Soviets disarmed everyone, and the Chinese have some of the world's strictest gun control laws.

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