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Gun Control Laws in Canada >Page 1, 2, 3

[Poll: Should US enact gun laws like Canada's?]

Results of Canada's New Firearms Act
On Feb. 11, 2000, the Canadian Firearms Centre reported the following objectives of the Firearms Act of 1995 as already being met:

  • Across Canada, 1,287 firearms licenses have been refused or revoked for public safety reasons since the new law came into effect December 1, 1998. This is over ten times more revocations from potentially dangerous individuals than the total for the past five years.
  • Thanks to continuous background checks, 653 new applications have been refused for public safety reasons and we have revoked 634 licenses to individuals who were no longer eligible.
  • Since Dec. 1, 1998, approximately 8 percent (3,439) of all gun sales have resulted in cases where the new background checks required further investigation. Of these, approximately 8 percent (281 cases) of the sales were refused.
  • The new spousal notification line has received over 2,800 calls. This has proven to be an excellent tool for an applicant’s spouse (or others) to share concerns about public safety.
  • Police now have an online registry of owners and their firearms.
  • Extensive background checks are conducted on every person (59,132 to date) who acquires a firearm. (Similar to the requirements of the United States' Brady Handgun Control Act,  Canadian authorities conduct extensive background checks on every applicant before a license is issued and before a firearm is transferred to a new owner.)

New Act Challenged in Court
Canadian anti-gun control advocates have recently challenged the new Firearms Act in the Canadian Supreme Court. 

They argued that the Canadian Parliament did not have the constitutional power to enact parts of the Firearms Act. They are asking that responsibility for firearms control laws remain with the individual provinces. The Court has not yet issued a decision.

For complete details, see Gun Control Challenge, by About.com Canada Online Guide Susan Munroe.

Are Canada's Gun Laws Effective?
Especially since the Firearms Act has come into full effect, Canadian gun laws are among the toughest in the world.

Handgun registration has been required since 1934, with possession of handguns limited to collectors, target shooters and those who can demonstrate a need of guns to protect their lives.

Are Canada's gun laws effective? Here are some figures from the Canadian Firearms Centre:

  • There are an estimated 7.4 million firearms in Canada, about 1.2 million of which are restricted firearms (mostly handguns). In the U.S., there are approximately 222 million firearms; 76 million of the firearms in circulation are handguns.
  • For 1987-96, on average, 65% of homicides in the U.S. involved firearms, compared to 32% for Canada
  • For 1987-96, the average firearm homicide rate was 5.7 per 100,000 in the U.S., compared to 0.7 per 100,000 for Canada.
  • For 1989-95, the average handgun homicide rate was 4.8 per 100,000 in the U.S., compared to 0.3 per 100,000 for Canada. Handguns were involved in more than half (52%) of the homicides in the U.S., compared to 14% in Canada.
  • For 1989-95, the average non-firearm homicide rate was 3.1 per 100,000 people in the U.S., compared to 1.6 per 100,000 for Canada.

Does this mean Canadian firearms laws are more effective at preventing gun-related crime than U.S. laws?

Should the U.S. Enact Gun Laws Similar to Canada's?
Before you decide remember that 31 million people live in all of Canada while 32 million people live in California, U.S.A. alone. The current population of United States is just over 274.3 million. In Canada, an average of 3.4 persons live in each square kilometer of land. In the Unites States, an average of 29.8  persons live in each square kilometer of land.

Discuss this Issue Here
What do you think? Should the U.S. enact gun control laws similar to those in Canada? Share you opinion in this discussion group.

Or express your opinion in the following instant poll:

Guns of the North
Do Canada's gun laws violate the rights of its citizens? Civil Liberties Guide J.D. Tuccille takes a look.


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Should Gun Control Be Tightened?
US Gov. Info: Feb-15 1:51 pm 
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