I proudly thought Canada was unique among developed countries in simplifying firearms laws when Bill C-42 took effect this month.
I also assumed that the main reason for the move in Canada was that we had a centre-right Conservative government.
Turns out I was wrong and wrong.
France, which has some of Europe’s most restrictive firearm laws, overhauled its rules two years ago … under the Socialists. The government simplified licensing and extended licence validities, simplified gun classifications and expanded the types of guns and calibres available to civilians.
Aspects of French law that Canadian shooters would envy:
– 20-round magazine limit for handguns (vs. 10 for us)
– 30-round magazine limit for rifles (vs. 5 for our AR-15s)
– Availability of certain semi-automatic military-style rifles (e.g. AK-47, Steyr AUG, Galil) (vs. unavailable for us)
– Availability of standard Glock 19 and other handguns with barrels of 105 mm and less (vs. unavailable for us)
And then there’s the Czech Republic. Owning a gun for self-defence is accepted, concealed carry is okay, and shooting is the country’s most-popular sport behind soccer and hockey, according to Wikipedia. Oh, and the rate of murders with firearms? Lower than in France and Canada.
Canada eliminated the requirement to register shotguns and most rifles in 2012, and simplified transportation rules for firearms this year with Bill C-42.
Those are big steps in the right direction, but they don’t make us unique.