One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Five Categories of People Who Use Guns — Gun policy in Canada and other countries fails in part because it takes an approach of “one size fits all.” Using a single legal-institutional framework backfires because people use guns for different motivations and goals, and in different ways. Here are five broad categories of gun users who would benefit from different policies.

Five Categories of Gun Users

(A version of this first appeared in The Bill C-71 Book, co-written by

1. Responsible Individuals

Private individuals with good intentions and safe practices who use firearms legitimately to hunt, protect their crops, protect themselves and their families, build collections, practice a hobby, practice a sport, have fun, and other activities. (2.1 million people)

2. Police/Law Enforcement

People with good intentions who use firearms legitimately to protect themselves, each other and the public. (69,000 people)

3. Military

People with good intentions who use firearms legitimately for state-sanctioned violence, whether to attack or protect. (115,000 people)

4. Good People Going Through a Bad Time

People suffering from mental or emotional distress and driven to use violence illegitimately against themselves or others. (Number unknown)

5. People With Bad Intentions (“Bad Guys”)

People who intentionally and deliberately use or supply firearms illegitimately to threaten, hurt and kill. (Number Unknown)


Category 5 should be stopped. They are the violent criminal and terrorist “Bad Guys.”

Category 4 should be helped, and stopped. They are the people with personal/health issues that are turning into criminal issues.

Categories 1 to 3 should be left alone, in some cases after training or certification. They are the people we want to be. They are the people we want as family, friends, associates and neighbours. They are the people who help us when we are in trouble. They are the people we want armed.

Canada’s gun laws have turned the world upside-down. They:

  • treat people in Category 1 as if they were in Category 5
  • apply only to people in Category 1, while pretending to apply to people in Category 5
  • harass and disarm Category 1 instead of Category 5.

Canada’s gun laws are a perversion. Let’s fix them.

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The most important part of gun rights isn’t “gun,” it’s “rights.”