Gun Legislation In Canada Essay Research Paper

Gun Legislation In Canada Essay, Research Paper h2>Control and Controversy Dan Barham 100032310 Soci 2723 11/30/1998? Firearms laws in Canada have

Gun Legislation In Canada Essay, Research Paper

h2>Control and Controversy Dan Barham 100032310 Soci 2723 11/30/1998? Firearms laws in Canada have

become increasing restrictive over the past century. Permits were first

required for carrying handguns outside of one’s house in 1892. Carry permits

for handguns grew restrictive until 1934 when handguns were registered. Since

that time, handgun registration became increasingly centralised. Bill C-150 was

introduced into the Canadian Criminal code in 1969. Bill C-150 stated that,

?All automatic firearms, handguns, and firearms less than 66cm (26in) in length

were classified as restricted firearms and required registration? Increased

criminal penalties were introduced for possession and carrying of both registered

and unregistered firearms. In 1976 the government enacted Bill C-83. Bill C-83

required that prospective firearm purchasers first obtain a police permit and

supply police with two character references.?

In 1977, Parliament passed C?51 which, among other things, prohibited a

number of firearms and introduced the Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC).

Now in order to purchase, Canadians had to submit to police scrutiny before

they could purchase any firearm. In 1991, Parliament passed C?17, an omnibus

firearm law. The government justified this legislation by the brutal murder of

14 women at the Ecole Polytechnique by Marc Lepine. Among other things, C-17

prohibited a number of semiautomatic firearms and restricted a number of other

firearms. It prohibited "high capacity" magazines, pawned

bureaucratic rules for safe handling and safe storage, introduced "reverse

onus" provisions for firearms applicants and a centralised training

program for prospective firearms owners. Concomitant to C?17, the Minister of

Justice tightened up many procedures for dealing with firearms owners,

including a lengthy new application form for the FAC. Despite the 1992 introduction of C?17, the new Liberal Justice

Minister vowed to introduce still more restrictive firearms laws after the 1993

federal elections. In November 1994, he introduced an outline of his planned

legislation, and in February 1995, over the objections of many Liberal MP’s, he

introduced C?68. Rushing this law through the House Justice Committee, the Justice

Minister vowed he would not accept any amendments to his law. Thus, he rejected

input from the Reform Party, the Bloc QuÉbÉcois and even his own party. Despite

the largest protest ever mounted in the history of Canada, the House of Commons

passed the law on June 13, 1995. It was passed through the Senate on November

22, 1995, and was proclaimed on December 5, 1995 in time for the sixth

anniversary of the Montreal murders. Bill C-68 requires

that all firearms must be registered in a central database starting on Dec 1

and being passed in by 2003. All gun owners must have a license to possess a

firearm by 2001.The registry

will require the county?s estimated three million gun owners to register

approximately seven million firearms. It was initially slated to get underway

next week, but the government announced Monday 16th of November that

the implementation of the database would be delayed two months because some

police forces are not ready yet. The Government stated that the cost to

register every rifle and shotgun in Canada would be $85 million – spread over 5

years to do the whole job, of creating the database, and enacting all of the

legislation, and to go through the registration process. It is now three years

later since the inception of C-68, the government has spent close to? $200 million and not a single firearm in the

country has been registered in the database yet. Much of the opposition to the

implementation of Bill C-68, say that enough is enough. The government is

wasting time and millions of dollars on legislation that has no guarentee of

affecting crime in Canada. ?Criminals are NOT affected by gun control systems.? They do not apply for a permit to buy a gun,

do not buy guns in stores, do not register guns, and, above all, NEVER go to

the police station to apply for a permit to take a handgun down to the bank for

the purpose of robbing the bank.?????? Dave Tomlinson, member of NFAWhen it comes to the debate over whether or not

firearms should even be permitted one of the major factors has been values.

Values guide actions and beliefs. They influence perceptions of the world and

allow us to make distinctions between "good" and "evil."

Values are culturally transmitted, often by parents, increasingly by the media.

In an important sense values are not open to discussion, they are articles of

faith. Evidence contrary to an individual’s values is generally ignored or

rejected. People may change their minds about many things based on comparative

evidence, but values tend to remain in place. When someone changes his or her

values it is a dramatic personal event, sometimes termed a

"conversion." Values play an important, though often denied, role in

gun control debates. Someone with anti-gun values is likely to support anything

called gun control, some one with pro-gun values is likely to resist

anything-called gun control. As a matter of intellectual consistency, values

lead people to patterns of belief and assumptions about the workings of the

world that they come to believe reflect the natural order of things, and are

"common sense." Two questions have been asked to determine

basic values. First: "Do you agree or disagree that Canadian citizens

should have the right to own a firearm?" This question does not refer to

the American Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, but just whether a

Canadian should or should not have the right to own a firearm. Second: "Do

you generally favour or oppose hunting?" Undoubtedly there are other basic

values, which come into the issue, but the time or funds were lacking to ask

about respect for life; security; self-preservation; self-reliance; or

independence. The two questions, "right" and "hunt," do,

however, provide a powerful index of the underlying assumptions of the

respondents. Support and opposition to gun control, smoke

screens and partial analogies aside, depends to a great extent on views of the

place of firearms in Canadian society. Some citizens have little or no

tolerance for guns and arguments about recreational use or wildlife management

are meaningless to them. Those who lawfully own firearms find the views of the

first group incomprehensible. However, the gun control debate is not carried on

at the level of values to determine whether Canadians do or do not have the

right to own firearms. It has often been conducted at the level of assumed

outcomes, debating instead whether laws and regulations can affect violence

against women, or death rates from homicide, suicide and accidents. Thus, it is

never resolved. For the first party, statistics are irrelevant,

as guns are bad in themselves. Arguments from firearm owners and their allies,

who say that rates of misuse are not high and that regulations are ineffective,

strike the first party as a self-serving cop out. Firearm owners have been

reluctant participants in a debate that they feel they did not start. They

state that they were willing to follow the reasonable laws of C-51 and C-17 but

felt betrayed when these actions did not end the debate and there was

continuing movement towards further legislation. Canada’s Aboriginals have been the wild cards

in the debate. High rates of violence in some communities and an apparent

willingness by a few of them to use firearms in disputes with government are

confounded with treaty rights. Generally though the aboriginal firearms-use has

constituted an unvoiced sub-text in the debate. At the level of values, the basic question is

whether or not Canadians have the right to own firearms. The position of

Canadian gun owners is that they are not campaigning for "the right to

keep and bear arms," but for a restoration of the right to own and use

firearms within a framework of reasonable laws. Those who believe in gun

control and are supporting that side of the debate seem to be taking the more

absolute position that firearms are not necessary in a law abiding society and

no one should carry them at all. Values are an important factor in the gun

control debate. Those who have anti-firearms values can be expected to support

any measures, which restrict firearms use. Those who have pro-firearms values

can be expected to oppose these measures. Logic and reason are of little use

when it comes to values. Emotion and a sense of right and wrong are the

foundations of value disputes. Just as partisans in the abortion debate are

seldom converted by the arguments of the opposition, those who have pro and

anti firearm values are probably not open to argument, and are unlikely to be

swayed by the arguments of the other side. Two basic value conflicts in the gun control

debate are over the right to own firearms and opinions on hunting. When these

two positions are combined into a single measure the outlines of the value

conflict become clear. On one side we have Canadian urbanites, and non-gun

owners. On the other side are those are rural residents, and gun owners. While

one may find a non-gun owning Montreal resident who supports the right to own a

firearm and favours hunting, or a rural prairie resident who thinks no one

should have the right to own a gun or hunt, they are often exceptions to the

general rule. Much of the gun control debate reflects these values, and while

people may talk of the techniques or effectiveness of gun control, they are

often simply voicing their value positions. ?Where do we go from here,? seems to be the

important question that we deal with now. Is Bill C-68 a valuable piece of

legislation, or should it be turfed and forgotten just like a long list of

other government programs gone wrong. Or is Bill C-68 a piece of legislation

that even though it has cost us more then we originally believed a piece of

legislation that will bring us one step closer to a crime free society? One

thing is for sure however, the gun control debate in this country is far from