What We Mean By ‘Gun Rights’ in Canada

What We Mean By "Gun Rights" in Canada

TheGunBlog.ca — Many Canadian gun owners are unsure about the meaning of “gun rights” in the context of Canada’s anti-gun laws.

Some gun owners believe owning guns is a legal privilege and not a legal right, and that Canadians don’t have any “gun rights.”

Here are some quick points to clarify this massive topic.

Background and Context

Rights Are a Human Invention

  • The idea of rights was invented by humans. Like any concept, it has supporters and opponents, pros and cons.
  • Humans assert rights for themselves or assign them to others as freedoms and entitlements in given contexts.
    • Example: The right of adult citizens to elect representatives to parliament. The right to speak freely in the town square. The right to use force against aggressors to protect yourself.
  • Natural Vs. Legal Rights
    • Natural rights exist independently of any legal authority. Example: the right to protect yourself.
    • Legal rights depend on a legal authority. Example: the right to vote.
  • Legal rights change as laws, culture and people change.
    • Example: In a major case that was later overturned, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1928 that women aren’t “persons” under the Constitution. (Persons Case)

Why Your Rights Matter

  • Canadian law is designed to suppress the rights of gun users and gun owners.
  • The entire policy framework controling the personal/family use of guns (buying, selling, lending, possessing, transporting, storing, …) falls under the Criminal Code.
  • The country’s two-dozen federal anti-gun laws and regulations are designed to criminalize gun owners and confiscate our gear.
  • Canada’s laws treat gun users as sub-citizens and criminals-in-waiting. For example:
    • Gun owners are targeted with sudden and even retroactive regulatory changes, in violation of fundamental principles of justice.
    • Gun owners are considered guilty until proven innocent in some situations under so-called “reverse onus,” a reversal of fundamental principles of justice.
    • Gun owners waive our rights to privacy and due process.

‘Gun Rights’ Are Human Rights

  • Guns don’t have rights, people do.
  • The concept of rights applies only to humans, not to chunks of metal and plastic or wood.
  • The phrase “gun rights” is a convenient shortcut to refer to the rights of the humans who use and own firearms.

Beyond Ownership and the Right to Bear Arms

  • Some people assume “gun rights” is about our right to own firearms, or about our right to “bear arms” for protection.
  • Those are big issues, but “gun rights” can be simpler and smaller.
  • You can even oppose the right to own guns or to bear arms and still support “gun rights.”

A Minimalist View of Gun Rights

  • “Gun rights” can simply refer to the rights of people who use and own guns.
  • “Gun rights” isn’t about asking for more rights or different rights than other good citizens, it’s about asserting and demanding equal rights.
  • Supporting “gun rights” can be as simple as recognizing that gun users have the same legal rights as any other person.

The Bottom Line

  • If you believe that gun owners have or should have the same rights as anyone else, then you support “gun rights.”