The issue of gun control and violence, both in Canada and the United States, is
one that simply will not go away. If history is to be any guide, no matter what the
resolution to the gun control debate is, it is probable that the arguments pro and
con will be much the same as they always have been. In 1977, legislation was passed
by the Canadian Parliament regulating long guns for the first time, restructuring
the availability of firearms, and increasing a variety of penalties . Canadian
firearms law is primarily federal, and "therfore national in scope, while the bulk
of the firearms regulation in the United States is at the state level; attempts to
introduce stricter leglislation at the federal level are often defeated".
The importance of this issue is that not all North Americans are necessarily
supportive of strict gun control as being a feasible alternative to controlling
urban violence. There are concerns with the opponents of gun control, that the
professional criminal who wants a gun can obtain one, and leaves the average law-
abiding citizen helpless in defending themselves against the perils of urban life .
Is it our right to bear arms as North Americans ? Or is it privilege? And what are
the benefits of having strict gun control laws? Through the analysis of the
writings and reports of academics and experts of gun control and urban violence, it
will be possible to examine the issues and theories of the social impact of this
Part II: Review of the Literature A) Summary
In a paper which looked at gun control and firearms violence in North America,
Robert J. Mundt, of the University of North Carolina, points out that "Crime in
America is popularly perceived
[in Canada] as something to be expected in a
society which has less respect for the rule of law than does Canadian society.
. In 1977, the Canadian government took the initiative to legislate stricter gun
control. Among the provisions legislated by the Canadian government was a "Firearms
Acquisition Certificate" for the purchase of any firearm, and strengthened the
"registration requirements for handguns and other restricted weapons.
The purpose of the 1977 leglislation was to reduce the availability of
firearms, on the assumption that there is a "positive relationship between
availability and use". In Robert J. Mundt's study, when compared with the United
States, trends in Canada over the past ten years in various types of violent crime,
suicide, and accidental death show no dramatic results, "and few suggestions of
perceptible effects of the 1977 Canadian gun control legislation". The only
, Mundt, found in the study was the decrease in the use of firearms in robbery with
comparion to trends in the United States .
Informed law enforcement officers in Canada, as in the United States, view the