In a recent Global News piece entitled “Will U.S. gun control debate take its cues from Canada?“, Aldis Brennan reviewed the state of the gun control debate in the United States and the effect of recent legislative changes in Canada.
While those buying from licensed firearms dealers have been subject to a background check since the early 1990s, people buying from private sellers do not get checked. A key aspect of this debate is whether to keep records, and for how long.
That worries Solomon Friedman, an Ottawa-based firearms lawyer
“If the government keeps records of those background checks, what they’ve done then is create a gun registry,” Friedman said. “Which in Canada we know, besides being an expensive failure, was also used as a means to confiscate firearms and harass gun owners.”
Friedman said that could be because the United States has been paying attention to the fate of Canada’s long-gun registry.
“I think that there are many American legislators who have been able to point to the Canadian experience as sort of being an example of the folly of registration,” Friedman said. “It’s unfortunate to be leading by example in that category.”
The issue of “assault weapons” was also discussed:
Assault rifle ban
Not a smart move, Friedman warns: He says a gun is deemed an assault rifle based solely on what it looks like.
“All it does is categorize firearms by physical appearance, not by function or lethality. So in other words if you have a gun with a wood stock that looks more like a traditional hunting rifle, it may do the very same thing as a gun made out of black plastic with a pistol grip that happens to look scary,” Friedman said.
“But to anyone who knows anything about the mechanics of firearms, there’s no difference in the danger posed by those items.”
In Canada some assault weapons are legal: The Conservative government has not added any new weapons to the prohibited list based on appearance only, a decision Friedman recommends the United States takes as well.
As was the folly of magazine capacity restrictions:
Canada already limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds in handguns and five in most rifles, but Friedman says this limit can be tampered with.
“Anybody who wants to have a full-capacity magazine simply needs to spend about eight seconds with a power drill and that rivet is removed and all of a sudden it’s rendered full capacity,” Friedman said.
“So the only people who are going to be complying with this law are people who don’t want to cause harm.”