Canada Watch: Non-Compliance Is Trudeau’s Gun Ban Problem

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent announcement banning some 1,500 models and variants of firearms, announced in reaction to the murder rampage in Nova Scotia, has a problem Canadian anti-gunners and their counterparts in the United States have habitually ignored because it is an inconvenient truth.

It is likely a majority of Canadian gun owners will do what they did during the country’s multi-million-dollar gun registration debacle, and simply ignore it. Criminals, of course, will do likewise, as detailed in an eye-opening essay published by Reason online and authored by contributing editor J.D. Tuccille. He reminds readers that “gun policy expert Gary Mauser estimates that registries usually achieve only about one-sixth compliance.”

TGM traded email with Mauser regarding this estimate. It refers to a 2007 report published by the Fraser Institute headlined “Hubris In The North.” Found on Page 31 of this report is a footnote that says this:

“There is some evidence from a number of countries over a substantial time period that roughly a sixth of guns will find their way into the registration system in exercises such as this. When military-style, semi-automatic rifles were restricted in Canada in 1991, the RCMP estimated that approximately 12% of the firearms imported were actually registered [Mauser, 2001a]. Australia tried to introduce a gun registration system during colonization in 1796, and about a sixth of the known guns were registered. The Federal Republic of Germany began a registration system under the Baader-Meinhof threat in 1972; the government estimated there were 17 to 20 million guns in the country but only 3.2 million were eventually registered. In the 1980s, when the English authorities tried to register pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns, only 50,000 were ever brought forward out of the 300,000 shotguns that were known to have been imported. Again, in New Jersey, USA, registration requirements were handed down for so called “assault weapons.” A minimum of 100,000 firearms were included under the legislation (probably many more, but there were difficulties with the wording of the legislation). Fewer than 2,000 of these firearms were offered for registration [Kopel, 1992].”

As Tuccille notes only six paragraphs into his analysis, “nothing in the ban would have prevented (killer Gabriel) Wortman’s rampage, given that he was already unlicensed, illegally impersonating a cop, and using black-market firearms.”

This reflects something of a pattern of gun control, according to various Second Amendment advocates. The proposed laws would not have prevented the crime for which the new solutions are now being offered, and the same goes for an edict such as the one just handed down by Trudeau.

As explained by Tuccille, “Trudeau’s ban was implemented via an ‘order in council’—a decree that entirely bypasses Parliament. Orders in council resemble the executive orders issued by U.S. presidents, and have been subject to similar mission-creep, long ago evolving from means for settling administrative matters within government agencies into end-runs around normal democratic procedures.”

Longtime rights activists repeatedly contend the sort of reaction now coming from Trudeau transfers guilt from the perpetrator to all gun owners. The gun prohibition lobby consistently tries to penalize all firearms owners for the actions of a relative few people, holding them accountable for crimes they did not commit.

In the process of enacting new gun controls, whether they involve registration or bans, or so-called “universal background checks” as are now required in California and Washington states, Mauser’s estimate of massive non-compliance simply provides the government with more ways to turn those law-abiding citizens into the criminals that anti-gunners want them to be.

And Tuccille noted that whatever new gun controls are imposed, they never seem to satisfy gun prohitionists.

“Sure enough, in 2020, the Canadian prime minister is imposing a ban by decree,” Tuccille writes. “And some gun prohibition fans want him to go even further. The Globe and Mail calls the ban a ‘weak half-measure’ because it doesn’t criminalize the possession of handguns. Former Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe spokesman Michael Bociurkiw wants to seal the vast border with the U.S. to curtail gun smuggling and ‘to make Canadians feel safer.’”

The real problem on both sides of the border is that lethargic gun owners who don’t vote allow people like Trudeau, and anti-gunners in the U.S., to enter public office. Whether that changes in November in the U.S., and at the next elections in Canada remains a matter of speculation.

What is not speculation is that by adopting strict regulations affecting legal gun owners, Trudeau will create the false impression that such crimes will be prevented in the future…right up to the moment they happen.