Canada’s Reasonable Vision of Gun Control

Canada’s Reasonable Vision of Gun Control

Canadians march for gun rights in Ottawa, September 2020. At the same time that President Joe Biden was unveiling his plans this month to attack epidemic gun violence with all the tangential minimalism that U.S. law and politics can muster, I was 20 miles north of the U.S.-Canadian border watching what happens when people, and a nation, treat guns as if they might be dangerous. In a small, carpeted classroom in Delta, British Columbia, a dozen of us filed in for the first of two days of classes — 15 hours in all — required to obtain a firearm license. Canadian law recognizes three basic types of guns: non-restricted, restricted and prohibited. Firearms become more difficult to possess as the government’s assessment of their danger increases. Handguns, for example, are restricted. Despite their designations, even restricted and prohibited firearms can be legally possessed and acquired. Licensing is extensive and mandatory. Without a license issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, you can’t legally possess or purchase a firearm in Canada. And without completing an authorized training course in firearm safety like this one, and then waiting a minimum of 28 business days for your application to be processed, you won’t get a license. At the head of today’s class is Brock Edwards, a self-described “gun nut from Alberta.” A middle-aged White man with glasses, a greying goatee and a belly he uses as a prop, Edwards might actually look the part. Over the course of the morning, he demonstrates […]

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