How Canada Got Tough on Guns

How Canada Got Tough on Guns

MONTREAL—Less than two weeks after a gunman went on a rampage in Canada’s eastern province of Nova Scotia, killing 22 people in the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s modern history, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a long-awaited announcement: His government would ban “assault-style” firearms in Canada—a demand gun control advocates had spent decades pushing for. On May 1, Trudeau enacted new regulations to ban the use, sale, and import of more than 1,500 models of firearms and their components. “Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers,” Trudeau said , echoing the fatalistic refrain of many U.S. politicians after every mass shooting. “These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.” Canada’s assault weapons ban could nevertheless provide a lesson about what it takes to get gun control measures enacted Canada is by no means an anti-gun country. On the contrary, according to the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based research project, there were 12.7 million legal and illicit firearms in civilian hands in Canada in 2017, or 34.7 firearms per 100 residents—the fifth highest rate in the world. In 2018, nearly 2.2 million people had licensed firearms in Canada, with Ontario and Quebec leading the list of provinces and territories. As with all gun-related policies, the response was swift and divided: Gun rights groups lambasted Ottawa for what it called its “ […]

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