The CDN Long-Gun Registry

By Dr. Gary Mauser

In March 2012, eleven years after its introduction, Canada scrapped its controversial long-gun registry. Starting in 2001, farmers, hunters and target shooters had been required to register their long guns (shotguns and rifles). The political battle had been fierce. The country was sharply divided over the issue, urban vs. rural; the West vs. the East; men vs. women. The opposition parties, backed by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the media, bitterly resisted any change in the federal gun laws. Gun owners celebrated their freedom, but opponents predicted disaster.

Scrapping the long-gun registry was the first real step in Prime Minister Harper’s campaign promise to dismantle the overly bureaucratic and expensive firearms legislation. Despite ending the long-gun registry, Canada still maintains a strict gun control regime: a firearms licence is required to own a firearm, stringent regulations are in place for storing and transporting firearms, handguns remain registered, many military-style semi-automatic long guns are either prohibited or restricted, and fully-automatic firearms are prohibited.

Come federal elections remember that Canadian grass-roots organizations have demonstrated that they can overturn governmental policies, such as the long-gun registry, that are championed by elite groups but which lack strong public support.  The battle over civilian firearms rights will continue. 

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