In the wake of a horrific mass shooting in the United States, Canada’s Liberal government announced a slew of new gun control measures on Monday, the most controversial of which is a freeze on handgun purchases throughout the country.
Some of the new measures are small tweaks to existing laws, re-branded to win over urban voters who are unfamiliar with the country’s strict gun laws. For example, the government promised to bring in contentious policy proposals from south of the border like red flag laws and bans on high-capacity magazines, which Canada already has. The one thing all the new rules have in common is that none of them will make you safer.
The new legislation will be damaging to the Canadian economy and exacerbate the urban-rural divide in this country, all while failing to provide support for communities suffering the most from gun violence
The overwhelming majority of handguns used in criminal acts in Canada are smuggled from the United States. This number is as high as 86 per cent
in Toronto. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has said in the past that a handgun ban will have little impact
on crime in Canada’s big cities.
Freezing handgun sales in Canada is a rational short-term calculation by the Liberal party to take advantage of the legitimate outrage and sadness that Canadians feel looking south of the border, and shore up support in urban ridings.
The likely long-term implications of this, however, will be damaging to the Canadian economy and exacerbate the urban-rural divide in this country, all while failing to provide support for communities suffering the most from gun violence.
A 2019 study by the Conference Board of Canada
found that sport shooting alone supports 14,000 jobs across the country, and contributed $1.8 billion to Canada’s GDP. Most gun stores in Canada are small- and medium-sized enterprises in rural and remote areas. They will likely be devastated by these measures.
The Liberal party has a long history of bridging regional divides and keeping our sometimes-fragile Confederation together. It is time to return to those roots. It is time for the government to do the right thing: invest money in marginalized communities, get young people out of gangs and into jobs and affordable homes, and leave sports shooters alone.