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What Canada Doesn’t Know About Its Weapons

Canada’s earlier registry for shotguns and normal rifles was maintained by the federal authorities somewhat than sellers. That long-gun registry, which was tormented by technical points however supported by most police forces, was scrapped in 2012 by Stephen Harper, the prime minister of the Conservative authorities on the time.

“Conservatives very a lot affiliate themselves now with the opposition to gun management, however that wasn’t at all times the case,” Blake Brown, a historical past professor at Saint Mary’s College in Halifax, advised me. He mentioned that Liberals and Conservatives handed firearms management measures within the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties, and that each events strengthened Canada’s gun legal guidelines within the years following the 1989 Montreal massacre.

In his guide “Arming and Disarming: A Historical past of Gun Management in Canada,” Professor Brown wrote that Canada’s cultural attitudes towards firearms diverged from these in the US as early because the 1860s.

[Read: Other Countries Had Mass Shootings. Then They Changed Their Gun Laws.]

“Actually there have been durations in American historical past the place they’ve been extra aggressive in gun management than in Canada,” he mentioned. “However, total, the pattern has been that Canada has seen themselves in another way in relation to firearms.” That has led to stricter gun legal guidelines amid fears of importing American gun violence.

Regardless of these historic distinctions, the gun debate raging south of the border usually reverberates right here. Whereas it was far from the spotlight issue in our federal election final September, candidates within the ongoing Conservative Party leadership race have been rehashing it.

[Read: Debate Over Guns Is Muted as Canada’s Election Nears]

Throughout our federal election protection in September, my colleague Ian Austen reported that there have been 12.7 million legal and illegal guns in Canada, or 34.7 civilian firearms per 100 individuals in 2017, the latest information. (These figures are from the Small Arms Survey, a nonprofit group based mostly in Switzerland, which estimates that there are greater than 300 million weapons in the US and 120.5 firearms per 100 individuals.)

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