Gun Control in Canada

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Part I:Introduction

The issue of gun control and violence, both in Canada and the United States,

is one that simply will not go away. If history is to be any guide, no matter

what the resolution to the gun control debate is, it is probable that the

arguments pro and con will be much the same as they always have been. In 1977,

legislation was passed by the Canadian Parliament regulating long guns for the

first time, restructuring the availability of firearms, and increasing a variety

of penalties . Canadian firearms law is primarily federal, and "therfore

national in scope, while the bulk of the firearms regulation in the United

States is at the state level; attempts to introduce stricter leglislation at the

federal level are often defeated".

The importance of this issue is that not all North Americans are necessarily

supportive of strict gun control as being a feasible alternative to controlling

urban violence. There are concerns with the opponents of gun control, that the

professional criminal who wants a gun can obtain one, and leaves the average

law-abiding citizen helpless in defending themselves against the perils of urban

life . Is it our right to bear arms as North Americans ? Or is it privilege? And

what are the benefits of having strict gun control laws? Through the analysis of

the writings and reports of academics and experts of gun control and urban

violence, it will be possible to examine the issues and theories of the social

impact of this issue.

Part II: Review of the Literature A) Summary

In a paper which looked at gun control and firearms violence in North America,

Robert J. Mundt, of the University of North Carolina, points out that "Crime in

America is popularly perceived [in Canada] as something to be expected in a

society which has less respect for the rule of law than does Canadian

society..."

In 1977, the Canadian government took the initiative to legislate stricter gun

control. Among the provisions legislated by the Canadian government was a

"Firearms Acquisition Certificate" for the purchase of any firearm, and

strengthened the "registration requirements for handguns and other restricted

weapons..." .

The purpose of the 1977 leglislation was to reduce the availability of

firearms, on the assumption that there is a "positive relationship between

availability and use". In Robert J. Mundt's study, when compared with the United

States, trends in Canada over the past ten years in various types of violent

crime, suicide, and accidental death show no dramatic results, "and few

suggestions of perceptible effects of the 1977 Canadian gun control legislation".

The only positive effect, Mundt, found in the study was the decrease in the use
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