Law not God
May 1, 2020 1:56 PM   Subscribe

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced new additions to the country's prohibited weapons list. Saying Nova Scotia victim's "families deserve more than thoughts and prayers. Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers." approximately 1500 models accounting for 125,000 previously legal semi-automatic rifles owned by Canadians have been banned (with a two year amnesty for currently owned weapons). Newly prohibited "assault-style" weapons placed on the prohibited list include the Mini-14 (used by Ecole Polytechnique shooter) and the popular AR-15 platform.

The new additions go to fulfill a campaign promise so while the timing is two weeks after a mass shooting in Nova Scotia the new regulations were already in the works prior. And some of the Nova Scotia shooter's guns were already illegal in Canada.

All fully automatic rifles were already prohibited. As were magazines capable of holding more than 5 cartridges. Also added to the list were any weapon with a bore greater than 20mm and any rifle capable of firing a bullet with more than 10,000 joules of energy (large sniper rifles).

Additions to the prohibited list were approved by an order-in-council from cabinet and do not require new regulations.
posted by Mitheral (53 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
......................
posted by scruss at 2:03 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


Thank you, Prime Minister Trudeau.
posted by orange swan at 2:15 PM on May 1 [17 favorites]


No civilian needs a semi-automatic long gun or shotgun. Any gun except a pistol should require an action between each shot. Pistols need not be bigger than 38 caliber or have barrels in excess of 5 inches. Revolvers should only be single action.

All firearms registered. Dealer or owner, you get a federal license. License has a QR code that's signed by the feds. Every dealer has their staff registered. Every dealer has every gun they have in inventory registered. Every gun has a serial number tracked to a license.

When someone acquires a firearm the dealer inputs the serial number, scans the employee's license, and scans the customer's license. Upon an affirmative confirmation a QR code or functional equivalent is issued. It is added to the license holder's list on an app and printed onto a sticker. The sticker goes onto the back of the license. The license only has places for as many stickers as the license is allowed to own. You either need the QR code on your license or access to your app at all times you are using the firearm or it is outside a storage safe. Anyone firearms dealer can reprint the QR code at any time as it is only used to confirm a registration offline. Since the QR code and app registration can be easily confirmed visually the number of mistakes of ownership should be minimized.

Police can scan the QR code. Signed by the feds it includes the serial number of the firearm in question, and the legal owner's license with photo. If they don't match the current owner the gun is seized and the person is detained until the true situation is ascertained.

All firearms are in safes inspected by local police. Local police may inspect the gun storage facilities at any time as often as once every 30 days. Ammo in a separate safe with a separate lock. Cars also get safes for transport to and from a shooting venue. If the guns aren't suitably secured upon inspection they're confiscated immediately. If the gun safe was insufficient you get a do-over. If you didn't have the gun in the safe you're done. Gun ranges may have secure storage areas but require individual safes for weapons. Communal ammunition stores can be allowed.

Gun stolen? Immediately report it. The gun is your responsibility until it leaves your legal custody. Caught with a firearm that isn't yours? Charged with illegal possession. Strict liability. Only affirmative defense is the owner coming forward to take the heat at which point they get charged with illegally supplying a firearm to an unregistered user. Only exception to this is at a genuine sporting complex where the firearms do not leave the premises.

Charged with a crime? All guns are immediately seized. Convicted? Your guns are not returned and you cannot purchase a new firearm until you have completed any sentence, parole, or probation. Felony offenders never can purchase another firearm.

Antique guns will have their barrels welded and a serial issued to be engraved onto the stock if the antique firearm doesn't have one.

Caught with an unregistered firearm? Immediately seized. Not a genuine antique? Charged with possession of an unregistered firearm.

Private sale? Scan the firearm licenses and input the firearm's serial onto the government tracking website. If the sale is allowed to proceed then it can be confirmed and the chain of custody is maintained. No app confirmation? No sale.

Lottery of spot checks for both dealers and private owners performed by federal agents. No advance notice. Minimum of 24 months between spot checks except in the cases of previous offenders who have violated rules previously.

Lock it all the fuck down. They're deadly weapons and should be treated with the seriousness as such.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:26 PM on May 1 [74 favorites]


No civilian needs a semi-automatic long gun or shotgun

Nor a pistol. Not any other sort of long gun.
posted by biffa at 3:34 PM on May 1 [8 favorites]


Pretty much every point above already applies to autos.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:36 PM on May 1 [10 favorites]


I will accept the use of 100% registered bolt action rifles with serialized ammunition for use by indigenous subsistence hunters only. Because banning long guns pretty much wipes out much of the aboriginal lifestyle. And that's bullshit.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:47 PM on May 1 [12 favorites]


I've lived in rural and remote areas Canada where guns are crucial tools for augmenting an inaccessible, unaffordable, or culturally inappropriate supply chain with hunting and for self-defence in potentially deadly animal encounters. I've also known the fear of having a gun in the house when someone is proving themselves increasingly motivated to hurt people. I hope that the generally wealthier and more urban policymakers making decisions about firearms continue to listen to those outside their immediate spheres, particularly to indigenous voices, but for the moment I'm very happy about this decision.
posted by northernish at 4:53 PM on May 1 [25 favorites]


This is a silly announcement, designed to make headlines and give the government points for doing something (!!!). It's not 1500 models, it's 9, with infinite variations thereof (manufacturer, irrelevant features, etc - like banning all the SKUs for a Honda Civic and claiming you've banned dozens of cars).

Whatever your thoughts are on gun control, it's disingenuous and cynical for anyone to pretend this will save lives or stop future mass murders. There are countless alternatives to these particular rifles that will do the job just fine, and aren't even restricted, let alone prohibited. In fact, the alternatives to these exotics (mostly, for Canada) are cheaper, less regulated, and have cheaper ammo (for the most part). As someone mentioned, it's laughable to do this, and all for the UNRESTRICTED sale of semi-auto tactical 12ga shotguns with removable mags. We can even buy shotguns legally with shorter barrels than the US! For example. There are no new restrictions on countless semi-auto centrefire rifles, even "tactical" scary ones. There are no new restrictions on handguns. We are already restricted to 10 rounds in a magazine. Sooo......

The reality is our government will never do anything like banning all semi-autos (or even restricting them), let along shotguns, etc, because 1) there's too much opposition (votes), and 2) it's way too hard and expensive. Far better to haphazardly "ban" (but allow them to be grandfathered and kept forever) a few scary sounding and looking guns that only (really) weirdos own/obsess over (we don't have the same gun culture for modded ARs and whatever), get golf claps from he press that has no clue and is fooled by the 1500 headline, and make the general population feel like someone is doing something.

Mission accomplished!
posted by Mirax at 5:09 PM on May 1 [9 favorites]


There are carve outs for aboriginal hunters. And long guns/hunting is also an important culture for the white guys. And aboriginal peoples make up 5% of the population and growing. Restricting long guns just to aboriginals is still going to leave a lot of legal rifles floating around.

So banning bolt action hunting rifles isn't going to happen. People already require a license for long guns that needs to be regularly renewed, can be revoked at any time by law enforcement, and are fairly difficult to get in the first place, say three times as hard as a driver's license. And renewal requires certifying. There are already laws requiring secure locked storage.

Charged with a crime? All guns are immediately seized. Convicted? Your guns are not returned and you cannot purchase a new firearm until you have completed any sentence, parole, or probation. Felony offenders never can purchase another firearm.

Much of this already happens but we don't have felonies, our laws are structured differently. And we generally don't restrict the freedoms of citizen who have completed sentences. EG: one can vote here even while incarcerated.

Pistols need not be bigger than 38 caliber or have barrels in excess of 5 inches.

Prevailing theory in Canada is different. Barrel length is a minimum of 4" and has to be larger than .32 caliber. Above that weapons are restricted which has special licence requirements, back ground checks, storage restrictions, transfer restrictions and basically are only usable at a licensed range (IE:Not the Woods) and you are only allowed to transport between range and home. Anything that doesn't meet those requirements is prohibited (IE: all pistols (barrel length less than 18") are either restricted or prohibited). The fear is easily concealable weapons.

This is a silly announcement, designed to make headlines and give the government points for doing something

That's what I was telling my sister when this was on the radio this morning. Though the inclusion of the AR-15 variants is significant; it's a pretty popular platform. The restrictions won't make anything like a significant impact short term. But it'll discourage some people from getting into sport shooting and if the only draw to that is a specific "cool" looking weapon I don't really have a problem with that.

It's why being a single issue gun voter in Canada is foolish IMO. things are going to push back and forth around where they are now (and have been for a few decades) but I don't see us going either full Australian or full USA.
posted by Mitheral at 5:27 PM on May 1 [12 favorites]


I will accept the use of 100% registered bolt action rifles with serialized ammunition for use by indigenous subsistence hunters only.

Serialized ammunition is a significant cost burden on the poor (IE: aboriginal hunters). I bet it would double or triple the cost and the complication of having to keep track of who bought what would mean greatly reduced access.
posted by Mitheral at 5:39 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Though the inclusion of the AR-15 variants is significant; it's a pretty popular platform.

Even then, most (all?) AR platform rifles/equivalents were already restricted. At that point, you not only need to be committed through licensing and acquisition, but rigorous about storage, transport, etc. The government already knew the name and address of every legal owner of these weapons, and specifically approved their purchase. These rifles are not impulse buys (like they can be in the US), and already couldn’t be owned anonymously. If the goal is to prevent mass murder using these weapons, how does this change anything? Someone with the money, mental capacity and organizational skills required to get an RPAL is not going to be deterred from whatever crimes they intend to commit by this ban. And if you have none of those factors in your favour, there’s almost zero chance you could get your hands on one. And if you’re grandfathering them instead of seizing them immediately, then what’s the point other than smoke and mirrors and pissing off people that were already very unlikely to vote for you?
posted by Mirax at 5:53 PM on May 1


Mitheral, I would be okay with having the ammunition cost subsidised, FWIW.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:54 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


In January I was not homesick at all despite not living in Canada for the last 15 years.

In February I started getting a bit homesick

By March I was full on homesick.

Now I am twice as homesick.
posted by srboisvert at 6:12 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


1 2 3 4 5

Links are to Cabelas Canada for rifles on sale if you don't want to click - I think most Canadians would be shocked to see that all those firearms aren't just legal (and cheap), they're unrestricted and available online, at your door in a week or so (if you're licensed). All semiautomatic, 9mm or Nato (or 12ga for the "tactical" shotgun[!!!]), all "tactical", "cool-looking" black guns. Yes, there are technical differences, but for all practical purposes, what is the difference between this random, unrestricted, untracked assortment I found in 2 mins, and the rifles banned today? Has anyone asked Trudeau or Bill Blair that question? Do reporters even know to ask?
posted by Mirax at 6:16 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


People already require a license for long guns that needs to be regularly renewed, can be revoked at any time by law enforcement, and are fairly difficult to get in the first place, say three times as hard as a driver's license.

I appreciate the post and Mitheral's subsequent comments, however: the FAC process is much easier than getting a driver's license. I don't have a problem with this, but I have looked into and/or proceeded with both here in B.C.

I'm not impressed with the new regulation, it does not restrict semi-automatic weapons which would be a meaningful change rather than something symbolic - not to understate the value of symbols, I get that the regulation is perceived by many as a good thing.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:23 PM on May 1


2) it's way too hard and expensive

We did it, in Australia. Similar sized country, similar population. We haven't had a massacre since.

Of course, we don't border a gun crazy country immediately to the south, but it can be done.
posted by smoke at 6:24 PM on May 1 [14 favorites]


CTRL-F Kriss Vector - not on the Restricted list in Canada.
He says, with an optimistic... Yet?
posted by bartleby at 6:49 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Of course, we don't border a gun crazy country immediately to the south, but it can be done.

That's going to be a big factor. Which doesn't mean that the restrictions won't work or don't matter, just that over on this side of the border it's all freely available so the supply is never going to be fully cut off.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:12 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


The overly facile "Look, all you have to do is..." Wood Guns.

Not guns made of wood. There are hand guns (fits in the hand) and long guns (long rifles and shotguns). I heard a lot of 'military grade' in Trudeau's speech. Many people are opposed to civilian possession of those. Wood guns is my term for the kinds of guns people who are iffy on guns generally agree are 'I guess those are Ok, for like hunting and protection'. I call them wood guns because they usually have (but not necessarily require) wood 'furniture' (grips, stocks, etc) rather than mall-ninja tacti-cool furniture.

Revolver handguns
Bolt, Lever, and Pump-action long guns.

What jumped mid 20th century civilian hunting firearms to combat/military grade firearms was the swappable magazine. No military in the world has forces/equipment that shoot 6 or 8 times, then you have to hold it crossways and thumb more rounds into it individually. But every Wood Gun does that, and still has an agricultural or civilian use.

'So just' heavily restrict or ban or whatever, any gun designed to use swappable, detachable, stripper-clip-reloadable magazines. That will end a lot of the rules-lawyering 'this is the California-compliant model of AK47, see we removed the pistol grip' stuff.

There's lots of other discussion about how to do licensing, but start with that divide between civilian Wood guns and military magazine-fed firearms.
posted by bartleby at 7:14 PM on May 1 [19 favorites]


Far better to haphazardly "ban" (but allow them to be grandfathered and kept forever) a few scary sounding and looking guns that only (really) weirdos own/obsess over (we don't have the same gun culture for modded ARs and whatever), get golf claps from he press that has no clue and is fooled by the 1500 headline, and make the general population feel like someone is doing something.

Canada is not grandfathering them. They have a two year amnesty to turn them in and receive some compensation.
posted by srboisvert at 7:15 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


CTRL-F Kriss Vector - not on the Restricted list in Canada.

That should be restricted, on the grounds of truly ugly design.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:19 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


I was hoping this was meaningful insofar as it would phase out people owning the 'cool' rifles that mass shooters plan their killing fantasies with. I would like for it to become socially unacceptable for people to own those infamous kind of guns. Help me out here - is that simply not the case?

My husband was explaining the different kinds of guns to me (he grew up in rural Nova Scotia and has a 20 gage and some 22 gage bolt action rifles for hunting) and he thinks this ban is pretty useless. He explained how simple it is to convert any semi-automatic weapon to a fully automatic one by simply removing a pin and - wow, I had no idea.

So, not incredibly meaningful but a step in the right direction? Looking forward to this discussion.
posted by kitcat at 7:51 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


20 minutes on Canadian gun laws, from 2016
How to buy a gun in Canada: Armed and Reasonable
posted by bartleby at 7:52 PM on May 1


Canada is not grandfathering them. They have a two year amnesty to turn them in and receive some compensation.

"The Government intends to implement a buy-back pro- gram, which would allow affected owners to declare their intent to deliver their firearms to a police officer. The buy- back would compensate affected owners for the value of their firearms after they are delivered to a police officer. An option to participate in a grandfathering regime would also be made available for affected owners."

---From the gazette today.

"Government intends to offer owners the choice of either grandfathering or compensation if they surrender the firearm.

Details on grandfathering and compensation will be announced later, once details have been decided.
Owners will then have to declare their choice of complying through grandfathering or surrendering for compensation, before end of amnesty."

---From the ministry of public safety.

Sounds like they will be grandfathered as in no seizure, but you won't be able to do anything with them, no range, no hunting, nothing, sit in the safe. Which doesn't take any out of circulation that you'd actually want out of circulation.
posted by Mirax at 8:12 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Speaking as a Canadian citizen, I am still prouder of my country today, as much as I am made ever more aware of the real danger of continuing to live in a gun-crazed United States.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:36 PM on May 1 [9 favorites]


I appreciate the post and Mitheral's subsequent comments, however: the FAC process is much easier than getting a driver's license. I don't have a problem with this, but I have looked into and/or proceeded with both here in B.C.

Oops, old person speaking. Hardest part of getting my driver's license 30 years ago was the eye exam. Yes, it is now harder in some ways to get a driver's license in BC than a long gun license because of the long waiting (nominally practice) periods. A graduated license might be a cool thing to implement for long guns where you have to prove proficiency a few times over the course of a year before you get a full license.

Canada is not grandfathering them. They have a two year amnesty to turn them in and receive some compensation.

The article I posted was unclear on that implying some of the now prohibited weapons could be grandfathered in general and specifically for aboriginals. I think you are right and the reporting is just sloppy. Subsistence hunters will be allowed to use the newly prohibited weapons while most people just had their rifle turned into an expensive dangerous paperweight that the government might buy back at a discount some time in the future.

Yes, there are technical differences, but for all practical purposes, what is the difference between this random, unrestricted, untracked assortment I found in 2 mins, and the rifles banned today?

Nothing of course, any "assault weapon" ban is a ban on scary "looking" weapons rather than a ban on effective weapons. Which to a certain extent I'm glad about. The people who are only attracted to a rifle if the rifle is scary looking are probably the people we don't want procuring weapons. Banning specific features is a more effective route if any of those features are actually dangerous.

I had a funny thought. If all removable magazines were still round limited but required to be American magazine long no one would use a removable magazine rifle.

When talking about those still available scary black guns remember most of the pictures you see will have been provided by American marketing departments. EG: the magazine in this picture of an MP40 is the US mag. I don't know if they sell that mag with a modification to only hold 10 rounds or if a shorter mag is provided but either way it only holds 10 rounds despite being longer than a large Subway sub.

Wood guns is my term for the kinds of guns people who are iffy on guns generally agree are 'I guess those are Ok, for like hunting and protection'.

Keeping in mind that officially in Canada you are only allowed to procure a rifle for protection from animals never from people.

CTRL-F Kriss Vector

The American Kriss Vector isn't on the prohibited list because it doesn't have a legal barrel and so is made illegal by the general regulation. The prohibited list is mostly weapons that would otherwise be legal under the general regulations. This is the version that you can buy in Canada with a legal 18" barrel. It's a lot less tacticool than the American version. You'll find that a lot of American weapons aren't on the list but are never the less illegal in Canada.

He explained how simple it is to convert any semi-automatic weapon to a fully automatic one by simply removing a pin and - wow, I had no idea.

Most weapons aren't quite that easy though I have no doubt many can be converted if one is determined. This ban might actually have an effect in that direction because IIRC the AR-15 lower receiver is one of the ones that can be easily modified.

But a full auto weapon immediately becomes illegal and is less useful than a semi fire weapon it is based on in almost all cases especially when combined with a small magazine. Full auto fire tends to track off target (and in an upwards direction) which is why very few military weapons are full auto even in turned up to 11 America.

There's lots of other discussion about how to do licensing, but start with that divide between civilian Wood guns and military magazine-fed firearms.

One of my instructors proposed requiring all rifles to have a side profile that was at least 50% wood or hot pink as a way of combating tacticool.

Sounds like they will be grandfathered as in no seizure, but you won't be able to do anything with them, no range, no hunting, nothing, sit in the safe.

This is how it was handled with many now prohibited but previously restricted handguns. Not mentioned is they are also non-transferable except to a spouse. It's take the government money now or have a fancy defacto paperweight that is seized from your estate. Some people would hang on in a hope that a future conservative government will revert the regulations the way the registry was cancelled but their won't be a fiscal reason for doing so and will therefor be a harder sell with urban conservative voters. It's tough to project being both tough on crime and legalizing "assault weapons" in Canada. And the US is constantly providing examples of mass shooting crimes with "assault weapons". I don't remember any rifle ever dropping off the prohibited list even though control of that list has been in even looney level conservative governments on several occasions (remember this is a easy order-in-council change not requiring legislation).

posted by Mitheral at 8:36 PM on May 1 [13 favorites]


I wonder how this relates to farmers who need to kill coyotes picking off lambs or calves.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:36 PM on May 1


Those uses are easily handled by plain small calibre rifles (wood guns, I love that term). I have no doubt someone was using an assault weapon for shooting coyotes but they aren't a unique use case.
posted by Mitheral at 8:44 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


Its a good first step, but they really should restrict semi-auto rifle ownership to specially trained and licensed police officers, animal control officers, and farmers.
posted by zymil at 9:31 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


I wonder how this relates to farmers who need to kill coyotes picking off lambs or calves.

Ironically, the AR-15 is maybe the optimal rifle for this task. Coyotes are an interesting case because they're a weird in-between size animal. They're larger than small game like squirrels and rabbits, but much smaller than a deer. So you have a goldilocks issue with most hunting calibers, but assault rifle ammo is just right.
posted by ryanrs at 1:27 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


We banned semi-autos in New Zealand after a racist angry white guy shot up two mosques and killed fifty people

There was the usual wah-wah from other angry white guys about the terrible infringement upon their rights, at which the rest of us basically said "what about our rights not to get shot?"

It's really not that hard to do.

(There's exemptions for licensed pest control companies who can demonstrate a need. Farmers are allowed semi-auto shotguns up to five rounds or bolt action rifles up to ten. We don't have coyotes, but if your coyotoes haven't run away after the first couple of shots then they must be wearing ear-lugs.)
posted by happyinmotion at 2:25 AM on May 2 [6 favorites]


It is very hard to do in the U.S., which is why many of us are so frustrated.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:39 AM on May 2 [4 favorites]


Every little bit helps, but it's important to underscore just how little this bit actually is.

The vast majority of gun deaths in Canada, like its southern neighbor, are suicides.

This is more effective as a boost for Trudeau and the Liberal party, but it won't actually make a significant dent in the vast majority firearm deaths.
posted by Ouverture at 5:58 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Ironically, the AR-15 is maybe the optimal rifle for this task. Coyotes are an interesting case because they're a weird in-between size animal. They're larger than small game like squirrels and rabbits, but much smaller than a deer. So you have a goldilocks issue with most hunting calibers, but assault rifle ammo is just right.

There are plenty of bolt actions that will take .17 or .223 and they’re cheaper than an AR-15. There is no practical or economic reason for a civilian AR-15 to exist.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:07 AM on May 2 [7 favorites]


I was so afraid that the only response to the attacks in NS would be a ban on replica police cars or uniforms. I know this was in the works already but could have easily been left on the backburner during the COVID crisis (that and the Liberals' poor record of keeping their campaign promises from the previous election.)

I'm just afraid that like last time we had a major change to our gun laws, the following Conservative government will work to claw it back.
posted by thecjm at 7:24 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of bolt actions that will take .17 or .223 and they’re cheaper than an AR-15. There is no practical or economic reason for a civilian AR-15 to exist.

When I hear people say "out on the farm, the only way to deal with X is with an assault rifle" I translate it in my head as "I have terrible aim."
posted by thecjm at 7:26 AM on May 2 [7 favorites]


I wonder how this relates to farmers who need to kill coyotes picking off lambs or calves.

There are predator-management options other than just shooting, though that always seems to be the default. But as others have said, there isn't any lack of bolt-action rifles that shoot predator-control-sized calibers, and it is a pretty unusual situation where you would need the rapid rate of fire and larger magazine capacity of an AR-ish rifle. (I mean, are those coyotes going to charge and overrun your position?)

The exception might be controlling feral pigs, where they are in groups and having fast follow-on shots would be important, but that a) isn't (yet) a major issue in Canada, b) doesn't involve small calibers like .223, and c) yet again, there are management options other than maximum firepower. (And, much of the spread of feral pigs can be attributed to sport hunters who release them in new areas to create hunting opportunities -- I hate it that our firearms laws are based on these doofuses.)
posted by Dip Flash at 8:11 AM on May 2


Glad to see the 10000 joule rule. I would have been happier to see a 5000 joule limit. One of my personal nightmare scenarios is civil unrest involving long range weapons used for sniping and infrastructure attacks.

No civilian should own any weapon that chambers the 50 caliber Browning machine gun round (18K joules). 30.06 Winchester or Winchester 300 magnum both check in at under 5000 joules, and that's more than enough.
posted by the Real Dan at 10:25 AM on May 2 [3 favorites]


Glad to see the 10000 joule rule. I would have been happier to see a 5000 joule limit.

Assuming I am using the joule to foot-pounds converter correctly, you need to go somewhat past 5k joules for the calibers people often use for bear protection. So it probably makes sense to set the limit higher than 5k, but 10k seems oddly high for sport or hunting.

But still, even that is an improvement on the total lack of limits on this side of the border.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:51 AM on May 2


The vast majority of gun deaths in Canada, like its southern neighbor, are suicides.
"By state or region…for every age, for both genders, where there are more guns, there are more total suicides."

I'm not sure if this is what you're trying to convey but it is absolutely not true that if one doesn't have access to a gun, they will find another way to die by suicide. The same correlation exists for domestic murder and accidents.

---
it's disingenuous and cynical for anyone to pretend this will save lives or stop future mass murders. There are countless alternatives to these particular rifles that will do the job just fine
Pro-regulation arguments always seem to basically boil down to: "guns whose only purpose is killing large numbers of people should be banned. Only guns with specific economic uses and limited power should be permitted."

Meanwhile anti-regulation arguments usually aren't arguments per se, but multiple pages of loving, detailed, pedantic prose about the many powers and permutations of various types and models of guns and ammo, and why regulation is impossible because the bobble-heads in government "don't know anything about guns." If a killer wanted to use this banned gun, they could always substitute that legal gun. Or if you really want to kill a lot of people, a machine gun is too hard to aim. Like, what are you, a mass-murder concierge? Come the fuck on.

There is no economic or practical reason to own a gun, as a civilian, for any other purpose than hunting or wildlife/livestock management and the tools for those purposes are very easily categorized. Only 4% of Canadians even want guns for protection. Most of the rest use them for "sport." You can't have a basement nuke or a novelty vial of smallpox either -- simply wanting an object because its your hobby or fetish doesn't entitle you to it. By extension there's no reason that running a business that caters to those people should be considered legitimate.

So:
  • Yes, so long as there are guns available, people will use guns for criminal purposes. But the fewer guns there are, the less opportunity there is to use them. As for suicides, accidents and domestic assaults, opportunity is a determining factor.
  • Yes, if a gun that can kill 50 people without reloading isn't available, someone might use one that can kill 10. Or a knife. Or, if they don't have access to either, they might be deterred long enough for an intervention to occur. That is an improvement.
  • Yes, so long as the Canada-US border is porous, there will be a trade in guns that are legal in the US and illegal in Canada. Not regulating guns in Canada makes that problem worse. Regulating them gives border services and law enforcement more tools to deal with the issue and reduces the supply, even if not to zero. That is an improvement.
  • Yes, it is hard to control guns once they have been manufactured. But guns break and wear out or are destroyed by law enforcement. Attrition is real. It would be much harder to justify manufacturing all those guns if a legal trade in them didn't exist, and it's pretty difficult to hide a 100,000sq. ft. (or whatever) manufacturing facility from the authorities. For the most part, the legal market in guns is what creates the illegal supply of guns.
  • Yes, America is stupid about gun control, and their culture is too retrograde at this point to do anything about it. That will eventually change. That's no reason not to make incremental improvements in the ways that we can.
Anyway, I can't read minds but I don't actually believe that anti-regulation arguments are based, for the most part, in a genuine sense of skepticism about the efficacy of regulation, or even a mistaken impulse to make the perfect the enemy of the good. Based on my experience with the pro-gun people in my milieu (including friends, family members and community members) I think some people either just want to have their toys, or think that because they've never had a problem with their own guns they shouldn't be held to a higher standard of responsibility. I don't care about what they want, and neither do about 80% of Canadians, apparently. (Interesting to note the political, gender and owner-vs.-non-owner differences there, eh?)
posted by klanawa at 11:59 AM on May 2 [19 favorites]


It's touching how gun people are so protective of indigenous people rights. Brings a tear to my eye.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 12:47 PM on May 2 [10 favorites]


I know that is sarcastic but as an aboriginal person ya it is, even if it's self serving. 50 years ago such arguments wouldn't have even been put forth because it would have held zero weight with a double helping of a back door attempt at removing weapon access from "those" people. The RCMP would have prioritized removing now banned but not yet illegal weapons from aboriginal communities even if it was the only effective hunting weapon a family had.
posted by Mitheral at 12:58 PM on May 2 [3 favorites]


Mitheral: "It's tough to project being both tough on crime and legalizing "assault weapons" in Canada."

You'd think, but Doug ford did his best at today's press conference. Lots of talk about Canada's law-abiding legal gun owners and how the real problem is all those "gang bangers" and "thugs" with smuggled-in American guns who shouldn't be getting out on bail and who should be getting much harsher and longer sentences.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 1:45 PM on May 2


The Mini-14 specifically mentioned does seem to be a perfect example of a wood gun. You can also get it with a black plastic stock. But for all practical purposes, it is essentially the same thing as an AR-15, without a pistol grip.
posted by ericales at 2:05 PM on May 2


Mini-14...perfect example...wood gun. Ah, a misunderstanding, that's why I listed.
Yes, you can get a Mini-14 with a stock made out of wood. But it is specifically designed and marketed as the 'civilian version' of a gas-operated semi-automatic military rifle.
It's not a break-, bolt-, lever-, or pump-action firearm. When I started using the term wood gun with people in conversation, it was because the most people made the closest association intuitively.
The term I used to use, and perhaps more appropriate for this discussion, was Agricultural Firearm. Guns appropriate for farm field and forest, as opposed to battlefield combat.

The layperson's idea, that 'the gun with wood on it' is a civilian tool, for someone in bluejeans and a pickup truck, going after ducks or deer, is what I was going for. Or getting the fox that's been eating your chickens. Or if you live in a place where the town dump is also frequented by 200-kilo bears. Or as a dire example, to make that distinct shuck-chuck noise from the top of the stairs when you hear your kitchen window break at 3am. Call them wood guns, or agricultural firearms, or civilian weapons, or whatever.

Admittedly, there are blurry lines there too. When Americans jumped into enemy trenches of WWI, they brought their duck hunting Winchester 1897 pump shotguns from home. (and there were protests from other armies that these were too deadly for warfare) At the other end, the weapon used until recently by dead-eyed US Marine Corps snipers, the M40? It's just a Remington 700, your old dad's bolt action deer rifle, with military green furniture.

There was a question up above about hoping that this recent ban would somehow diminish the mystique? of tacti-cool 'sexy robot' guns. That's where I was headed too, with making agricultural firearms not just normalized, but frankly kind of boring. You know that thing, where American college students are woo-hoo binge drinkers because they're defying a prohibition, and their European wine at table since childhood friends are just - What, it's just beer, I don't get the big deal?

Canadians have all the usual North American reasons to own Agricultural Firearms, in some places moreso. So why not stick to just allowing those, and not making a big deal over it? Canadians have guns, but just the boring ones. No Ferraris, just Hondas. Sticking with the car metaphor, when people see someone in downtown traffic in a Ferrari, it's about 50/50 ooh-ahh vs. 'christ, what an asshole'.

I don't know precisely how to tip the scales the way I want, but I'd be pleased as punch to see that when someone shows up with a military-stylized AR-15 covered in lights and lasers and heated cupholders, that everyone else rolls their eyes: "oh, it's one of these pricks. everyone give 'em the side-eye until they calm down and sell that rig for a normal gun, one that's fit for purpose".
posted by bartleby at 3:54 PM on May 2 [6 favorites]


So, not incredibly meaningful but a step in the right direction?

This is my take, as well. It's awfully hard to pass one piece of legislation that will completely solve a big problem in one fell swoop. But that's no reason to not try easing into it. I was very encouraged to read about this this morning.

My mother kicked a 40-year smoking habit by gradually cutting down.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:38 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


As a hunter, I suppose I wouldn't mind a blanket ban on semi-auto firearms with detachable magazines. Maybe limit the internal magazine to 5-rounds. No carve-outs for rimfire or pistols.

I like the 10kJ bullet energy limit. You can shoot .416 rigby, but not .416 barrett. OK.

I don't like a lower 5kJ limit, since that bans .375 H&H, which has valid mainstream use in Canada (brown bear, moose). I think it also catches a lot of .300 win mag, which is a very common hunting round for deer and larger game.

Such a ban wouldn't interfere too much with sport hunting, farming/ranching, or even home defense. But it will make spree-shooting harder.
posted by ryanrs at 10:14 PM on May 2


Note that the regulation is on the firearm not the load. If a particular rifle can fire a load with more than 10K Joules then the rifle is banned (defacto banning all loads even those less then the limit).

A 5000 Joule limit would ban rifles chambered for .300 and .338 Winchester Magnum, and 8mm Remington Magnum which are all popular moose and bear rounds.

One of my personal nightmare scenarios is civil unrest involving long range weapons used for sniping and infrastructure attacks.

Extreme distance sniping (say over 1.5km) on moving targets which warrants the use of a .50 caliber or similar weapon is such an exotic skill that it's one of the few terrorist scenarios I don't worry about.

Now shorter ranges (say 1-1.5 kilometres) on stationary targets especially gives me pause but a plain old .30-06, .308 Winchester or (laughably now) black powder Sharps rifle which fires a .50-90 but only has a muzzle energy of 4000 Joules is sufficient.

IMO the real terrorist sniper threat is some guy in an elevated position firing on a packed crowd EG: the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting or a mobile sniper team EG: 2002 DC/Beltway attacks. I'm actually really amazed we haven't seen a replay of the DC attacks.

Personally I think 10K was chosen because it is a nice round number and it allows quite a bit of head room to "tighten restrictions" before you start hitting common hunting rounds below 6000 Joules.
posted by Mitheral at 11:58 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Tell ya what, you can have any kind of muzzle-loading black-powder pistol or rifle you want, and I'm prepared to negotiate on percussion cap versus flintlock. Everything else gets melted down.
posted by um at 5:03 AM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if this is what you're trying to convey but it is absolutely not true that if one doesn't have access to a gun, they will find another way to die by suicide. The same correlation exists for domestic murder and accidents.

That is not at all what I am saying. I am genuinely surprised this is what you concluded from my post.

This legislation will have little effect on gun deaths because the guns being banned here aren't used for gun suicides, which make up the vast majority of gun deaths.

The real lifesaving legislation would be in the much harder and less news-grabbing work of seizing and banning handguns, because that is what is used in the vast majority of gun deaths (which are gun suicides).

But thousands of suicides don't generate headlines and public terror like a single shooting spree does.
posted by Ouverture at 8:49 PM on May 3


The real lifesaving legislation would be in the much harder and less news-grabbing work of seizing and banning handguns, because that is what is used in the vast majority of gun deaths (which are gun suicides).

While that may the case in the US, handgun ownership in Canada is not wide spread which affects the choice of weapon in a suicide. In Canada 80% of firearm suicides are associated with long guns.

The homicide:suicide ratio is also much different. 75-80% of firearm fatalities in Canada are suicides.

Related trivia: in Canada homicide rates by firearm and stabbing fluctuate at about the same (declining year over year) rate. So about half the time the number of fatal stabbings exceeds the number of fatal shootings.
posted by Mitheral at 9:53 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty unhappy that they banned all the AR systems, including the AR-10. The AR-10 is not something you'd be using to hurt other people, only police. I'm probably the odd one out here, but I think that the populace needs access to firearms for self defense against fascists. I'm not a right-wing gun nut. I'm someone who understands that one election can have brownshirts on the streets, openly hunting my best friend down for being trans. They would likely have institutional support, and I would like something semi-automatic that can fire cartridges packing enough of a wallop to penetrate body armor, strapped to the underside of my bed. Those are my only criteria in a weapon- Is it semi-automatic, accurate, reliable, and can it penetrate body armor or thin cover? The beauty of the magazine capacity limit is that many magazines can have the rivet impeding the insertion of more than five rounds popped out.

I'd like to maintain access to these things, because I don't trust a revanchist, aging white population not to vote in apartheid or something equally insane. I also do not trust the authorities to protect me from right wing violence. I'm not going to sit around and wait until some Atomwaffen thugs come a-knockin'. Primarily middle-class, white people will always have access to powerful weapons; explosives, firearms, regardless of whether they are legal or not. The batshit kids I grew up with in the suburbs are all working nice jobs now, with plenty of disposable income to illicitly arm a posse, and the kind of rare technical knowledge (many of them being engineers and other STEM grads working in manufacturing or industry) that would disproportionately enable them and their co-conspirators to arm themselves with automatic weapons or tools of demolition. At least, if guns are more freely available, people from marginalized communities can gain some semblance of defense.
posted by constantinescharity at 10:42 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


>> One of my personal nightmare scenarios is civil unrest involving long range weapons used for sniping and infrastructure attacks.

> Extreme distance sniping (say over 1.5km) on moving targets which warrants the use of a .50 caliber or similar weapon is such an exotic skill that it's one of the few terrorist scenarios I don't worry about.

emphasis added. High energy is needed for destroying non-human targets like PG&E substation transformers at moderate distance (outside a fence, maybe across a road).

(Ah, they only used .30 because they shot the cooling fins, not the transformer cores)
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 7:56 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


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