Canada’s Struggle Matters

by
posted on May 24, 2023
Justin Trudeau
Photo flag: Tim Foster/Unsplash; Trudeau: Patrick Doyle/AP

Canada is giving Americans a very vivid example of what could have happened if, say, in D.C. v. Heller (2008), just one more justice in that 5-4 decision had fallen for the unhistorical lie that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect an individual right.

If the high court had decided 5-4 against our freedom in Heller, then, like Canada, we would not have a constitutional protection of this civil right. Therefore, like Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is now attempting to do north of the U.S. border, President Joe Biden (D) would find it much easier to ban entire classes of popular firearms and more in his effort to disarm American citizens.

With that plainly said, it is clear that elections do matter here in the U.S., just as they do in Canada; after all, if gun-control advocates manage to get a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, the high court could overturn Heller. And that is not a far-fetched idea: Anyone who reads the minority opinions in Heller, and the subsequent Second Amendment cases of McDonald v. Chicago (2010) and NYSRPA v. Bruen (2022), will find out that the leftist minority on the Court would very much like to overturn the ruling that the Second Amendment does indeed protect an individual from government infringement.

This is just one big reason why American gun owners should be paying attention to what is happening now in Canada. Canadian gun-ban officials, after all, are using talking points, strategies and more from American gun-control activists as they move to disarm their people.

To keep you up on what’s happening in Canada, here are five things to know.

1. A Ban on the Sale of Handguns
As this was being written, the recently introduced C21 gun-control bill was still under parliamentary consideration, and, if approved, it would codify into law Trudeau’s ban on the buying, selling and trading of handguns in Canada. It is estimated this would encompass over one million handguns that were legally acquired by Canadians.

That ban was originally put in place through Trudeau’s October 2022 “Orders in Council” (OIC), which is somewhat similar to an executive order made by a U.S. president. Canadians can still keep their handguns—under lock and key, that is—and can only use them at government-approved shooting ranges.

The order from Trudeau brought about a “national freeze on the sale, purchase or transfer of handguns by individuals within Canada.” It also said that Canadians “can continue to possess and use their registered handguns and can sell or transfer their registered handguns to exempted individuals or businesses.”

“What this means is, if you’re the registered owner of a handgun, your firearm cannot leave your possession, it cannot be passed on to your heirs or relatives or be sold. Upon the registered owner’s passing, the firearm goes to the government for destruction,” said Rick Igercich, national president and CEO of Canada’s National Firearms Association.

2. A Ban on Semi-Automatic Rifles
In May 2020, Trudeau issued his original gun-control OIC, which was a ban on “assault weapons,” which are of course commonly owned semi-automatic rifles used by many Canadian citizens. In all, Trudeau’s OIC banned roughly 1,800 firearms, including everything from AR-15s to various semi-automatic shotguns and even bolt-action rifles chambered in .460 Weatherby.

According to Igercich, a progressively tiered approached followed this OIC with the passage of C71 as a step toward re-implementing a long-gun registry in Canada.

3. Gun Confiscation
Trudeau’s May 2020 OIC included language suggesting there would be a “buy-back” option for Canadian citizens in possession of the banned firearms. In the interim, an amnesty period was originally set at April 2022, wherein Canadians could keep the firearms, but not use them. That amnesty period was then extended to October 2023.

But, of course, there is no “buy-back,” as the Canadian government did not sell these firearms to its citizenry in the first place.

4. They Already Attempted to Expand the Ban
Two amendments that were snuck into C21 at the eleventh hour were withdrawn in February. The amendments, G4 and G46, would have banned thousands of firearms currently and commonly used by Canadians for hunting and sport shooting.

 “G4 defines what an assault rifle is by its appearance, and the second, G46, attaches the original Order in Council ban, and adds a significant number of hunting firearms, including the single-shot Ruger Number One, and most semi-auto shotguns,” said Igercich.

5. Many Canadians are Advocating for Their Freedom
The two amendments were withdrawn by Canada’s Liberal Party after a groundswell of opposition from Canadian firearms advocacy groups, hunters, recreational shooters, indigenous groups and government officials in a number of Canadian provinces. Those opposed to the amendments pointed out that hundreds of hunting rifles and shotguns were included in the amendments, and that hunting was an intrinsic way of life for many Canadians.

After a meeting of government officials and other concerned parties (and before the two amendments were tabled), Yukon Premier Ranj Pillai issued a statement on Bill C21 that read, in part: “Many Yukoners are very concerned about the proposed amendments to Bill C21 and the impacts they would have on law-abiding firearms owners in the territory. As a lawful gun owner, avid hunter and member of a family who has worked a trapline on the land for generations, I have a deep appreciation for the concerns. … From licensed and subsistence hunters to Indigenous families working traplines, the proposed amendments would negatively impact law-abiding Yukoners and threaten Indigenous traditional ways of life.”

Although these amendments were withdrawn, Igercich noted that these legislators have promised to reintroduce them with some undoubtedly minimal changes.

In summary, these actions from Trudeau and those in his government are part of “a tiered approach to get rid of all civilian ownership of all firearms in Canada,” said Igercich.

Once again, these actions in Canada are important to follow because gun-control groups in America see them not as a warning, but as a blueprint.

A recent opinion piece in Time by three members of the gun-control group Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns began with: “Canadians celebrate sharing the world’s longest undefended border with the United States, and take comfort in an imagined wall that keeps out American gun politics. That wall may now be crumbling.”

The opinion piece then used a series of disingenuous talking points that sound like they were taken from, or at least inspired by, American gun-control groups. So, arguably, politicians like Trudeau and gun-control groups such as Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns are bringing American-style gun-control politics north. And the thing is, even as they do, these Canadian gun-control proponents are annoyed that the many Canadian citizens who are rightly protesting these infringements on a basic human right have looked south to learn how, for example, the NRA has used facts to effectively stand up for this freedom. 

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