Gun Control in Canada: Problems and Prospects

Gary A. Mauser, Simon Fraser University
Allan Smithies
W.T. Stanbury, University of British Columbia

Canada's universal gun registration legislation (Bill C-68), passed in December 1995, has been plagued by a variety of problems: delays in coming into force, huge cost overruns, lack of public cooperation, need to cut fees to encourage registration, massive problems with its computer systems, stubborn resistance by anti-control groups, and the refusal of six of 10 provinces to participate int he administration of the new law. A recent examination by the Auditor General discovered that the Canadian Department of Justice had misled Parliament and attempted to hide the cost overruns by resorting to "back door" financing. While the latest deadline for registration of all long guns and hand guns is July 1, 2003, it is not clear that it will take another decade to register a substantial proportion of firearms in the country. The officoal estimate of the gunstock is far below independent estimates of the actual number of guns in private hands. We explain that, like previous gun control legislation in Canada, Bill C-68 reflects opportunistic behavior by politicians, founded on a kultur kampf, rather than being developed as a policy for solving a specific problem

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Updated 05/20/2006