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Gun Control and Gun Culture: Here and Elsewhere

Stephen Henderson talks with Christian Pearce, Criminal Attorney in Toronto and the author of Enter Babylon: Unpacking Gun Culture from Samuel Colt to 50 Cent about the differences between Canadian and American gun culture and regulation. 

  • Hurdles to gun ownership: Pearce details the process of obtaining a gun in Canada. He says that in order to obtain a certificate, you must submit two character references, have background and mental health checks, and attend a training course. He says that this is due diligence to make sure that people will be safe gun owners.  Stephen says it is about striking a balance between gun ownership and making sure people do not endanger others. 
  • Inherent rights: Stephen asks if there is a Canadian equivalent to the US second amendment. Pearce says there is no inherent right to bear arms in Canada, although the right to life, liberty, and security could legally support this. He says that in Canada, punishment for illegal possession is harsh, so criminal sanctions are effective. 
  • Mass shootings: Stephen asks if Canada has a history of mass shootings, and how it compares to the US.  Pearce says that it does.  He says the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre set off a wave of reforms, and Canada hasn’t looked back since then.
  • Gun lobby: Pearce says that the US is unique because we have not changed our gun laws in response to public shootings.  He says that much like Canada, Australia cracked down on gun ownership after 35 people were killed in a mass shooting with an assault rifle.  He believes it is the US gun lobby’s influence that prevents this type of reform. 

Click the audio link above to hear the full conversation.  

Image credit: Wikepedia Commons

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