Why the types of guns used in Texas school shooting have been the focus of debate in Canada for 50 years

A 13-year-old boy in Lethbridge, Arta, sent $ 370 in a money order after the ad was published in a local outdoor magazine.

His purchase arrived on Monday. A semi-automatic rifle that can fire 10 shots in 9 seconds.

The 1976 stunt, which appears to have been coordinated by the newspaper — the young Patrick Harop was the son of a Lethbridge Herald reporter — helped spotlight the unfolding public debate.

At that time, one columnist wrote: “I don’t think weapons like the AR-15 can be sold to anyone in Alberta or Canada, regardless of age …. You don’t need more AR-15 rifles than you need tanks for people. . “

Half a century later, discussions and central questions remained, and the new tragedy made it bitter again. This week is a mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas. How difficult is it to get an assault rifle?

CNN reports that the AR-style weapons used in Uvalde, Texas were legally purchased by shooters to celebrate their 18th birthday.

“(He) had no problem accessing those weapons,” Senator Ronald Gutierrez told the network.

The controversial AR-15 semi-automatic weapons and their various knockoffs were featured in mass shootings such as Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 and the Highway 91 Country Music Festival in California in 2017.

Following the Nova Scotia shootings two years ago, the Government of Canada has pledged to ban more than 1,500 versions of weapons that it has determined to be powerful or dangerous for recreational purposes such as hunting, including the AR-15. Did.

After the latest shootings in Texas, Trudeau said more gun control could come within a few weeks.

But the big question remains as to what it looks like. This spring, a two-year amnesty period has been set up since the last announcement, extended for another year and a half to give gun owners time to comply with the rules, and supporters are expected to purchase compulsory details. I am watching carefully. -Back program.

“Heidi Rasgen, a spokesman for PolySe Souvient, a group advocating gun control, and a former student of Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, killed 14 people when a shooter entered, says.

“That is, if (Marco) Mendicino doesn’t, I don’t know,” she said, referring to the Federal Minister of Public Security. “We can’t keep this going forever. We’ve been fighting for over 30 years. What more do we need?”

Countries around the world have been working on assault weapons in the wake of mass shootings. A commonly cited example is New Zealand. After the massacre of Christchurch, where 51 worshipers were killed in two mosques in 2019, the country passed a law to crack down on weapons. Less than a year after the tragedy, the government’s repurchase plan returned 50,000 guns.

Canadian politicians struggle to balance the needs of hunters and sports shooters with public safety, said R, a professor of history at St Mary’s University in Halifax, who wrote a book on the history of gun regulation. .Break Brown says.

The result is a winding, controversial legislative approach.

The legal basis for owning a gun in Canada is different from that in the United States, he explained in a conversation with the star.

The U.S. Constitution is notorious for defending the right to arm, but Canadian law generally allows guns to be used for hunting, sports shooting, or collection, so access discussions are on these policies. It is becoming more active along.

“Firearms are definitely allowed to be held in Canada, but not for personal protection,” he said. “The Canadian firearms community is divided into three groups … Hunters, formerly known as Target Shooters, now prefer the terms sports shooters and gun collectors.”

Assault rifles were introduced to the Canadian commercial market in the 1970s.

The AR-15 is probably the best known of them.

According to a Boston Herald article, AR is for Armalite, the first company to manufacture it. The rights were eventually sold to Colt, who also created a version for the US military called the M-16.

AR-15 style weapons are semi-automatic weapons. That is, you need to pull the trigger to fire each shot. Lightweight and designed for quick launch, there is little user recoil. Their appeal lies in the fact that they are customizable and easy to use. The threat of firing bullets faster than a pistol, resulting in more destructive flesh wounds.

In 1977, the Government of Canada passed Bill C-51. It required new buyers to obtain a firearm acquisition certificate and outlawed all automatic weapons, that is, weapons that fire multiple bullets with a single trigger pull.

The law is already aware of various categories of weapons, including unrestricted and restricted (if you can legally own something but need additional training, or can only use it in certain ways). Although completely banned, we have adjusted each qualification.

Weapons that are not suitable for “hunting and sports purposes” are limited and require more training and special licenses. However, Brown points out that it was not a total ban, and although it contained many semi-automatic weapons, the ban was generally directed only to those with short blankets that could be hidden.

The decision to limit only short-barreled guns was controversial, and as Brown stated, the government soon saw five more guns as there was no legitimate “hunting or sporting purpose.” Decided to limit.

One of five? AR-15.

However, rifle owners protested, and two years later, Joe Clark’s conservative government lifted the restricted status of the rifle.

Ten years later, the 1989 Montreal massacre provided “a widespread awareness of the dangers of semi-automatic assault firearms.” Students have organized a petition calling for a ban on more than 500,000 “military or quasi-military weapons.” Signature and federal politicians expressed their support.

In response to the slaughter, Brian Mulroney’s conservative government introduced new gun controls to strengthen background checks, imposed a 28-day waiting period for background checks and forced training, and increased penalties for gun crime. Large magazines of assault weapons were also banned.

But instead of banning certain categories of guns altogether by law, then Conservative Justice Minister Kim Campbell said he would use orders in parliament. — Gives you more flexibility in targeting gun types.

The Cabinet has used these powers to ban or limit many assault rifles and long-range sniper rifles, which were the “significant steps” to limit assault rifles, Brown said.

Among the restricted weapons was the AR-15, which meant that it could be legally owned, but with additional safety equipment.

The approach was and is still divisive.

Rathjen, a spokesman for PolySe Souvient, calls this a “mole” approach to gun control, and the government continues to target individual guns, despite manufacturers mass-producing more and more models. I am doing it.

For example, one unrestricted gun at this point was another semi-automatic rifle known as the Ruger Mini 14. It was the gun used in the Montreal massacre.

However, Wendy Cukier, president of the Coalition for Gun Control, said the strategy made sense. Firearm makers are constantly developing new models and have some flexibility in which guns to ban, so there is no need to update the law every time.

However, it’s important to keep your list up-to-date, not always up-to-date.

“Suppose you’re banning the AK-47. If you focus only on the brand and model, they make a similar gun, paint it green, and call it another name,” she said. ..

When Jean Chrétien returned the Liberal Party to power in 1993, Brown added a new firearm laundry list to the ban category, including the Thompson submachine gun and the AK-47. They also eventually banned Ruger Mini 14.

The Government of Chrétien also created the Firearms Act as the legislature of many rules related to gun approval. Also, the long gun register was later abolished by the Conservatives of Stephen Harper.

According to gun control advocates, Harper wasn’t keeping up with the limits of new weapons on the market, and it was Harper who relaxed the limits of some automated devices.

The current Liberal Party’s 2015 election platform included a pledge to remove both pistols and assault weapons from the streets.

For Cukier, the Liberal Party’s ban on additional 1500 plus assault weapons has been promoted by supporters of gun control.

But she ignores the fact that gun violence is complex and targeting one type and ignoring another is often very different from the guns used in mass slaughter and suicide. I pointed out.

Polling suggests that public support for gun control is high. In 2020, Angus Reed found that 78% of Canadians, including almost half of current gun owners, upheld a ban on offensive weapons. In 2021, a Leger poll found that 66% of Canadians surveyed wanted stricter gun control.

Cukier claims that Canada is increasingly importing weapons rhetoric from the United States, saying he has not seen young people reject assault weapons, for example, as her generation did.

She said the number of restricted pistols legally owned in the country continues to grow.

“I think we’re really at a turning point,” she said. “It was really erosion at multiple levels. A true change in discourse on firearms and public safety, as well as erosion of law, erosion of application of law.”

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Why the types of guns used in Texas school shooting have been the focus of debate in Canada for 50 years

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