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Hubris in the North: The Canadian Firearms Registry

Type: Research Studies
Date Published: July 5, 2007
Authors:
Research Topics:
Crime & Drug Policy
The shootings at Montreal's Dawson College in September 2006 reignited the controversy over the firearms registry and prompted the Conservative government to review its earlier pledge to scrap the registry. This paper is a timely effort to evaluate the effectiveness of the 1995 firearm legislation. In 1995, the government assumed that, by controlling the availability of firearms, the registry would reduce total criminal violence, not just gun violence, suicide and domestic abuse. I argue here that this legislation is fundamentally flawed because it relies upon public-health research to justify its moralistic approach to firearms. Public-health advocates have exaggerated the danger of citizens owning firearms through pseudoscientific research methods. The federal government's moralistic approach to public safety is compared with a more practical and consultative provincial program that is more successful.
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