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November 30 , 2010

Arming and Disarming

A History of Gun Control in Canada


From the École Polytechnique shootings of 1989 to the political controversy surrounding the elimination of the federal long-gun registry, the issue of gun control has been a subject of fierce debate in Canada. But in fact, firearm regulation has been a sharply contested issue in the country since Confederation. Arming and Disarming offers the first comprehensive history of gun control in Canada from the colonial period to the present.

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In this sweeping, immersive book, R. Blake Brown outlines efforts to regulate the use of guns by young people, punish the misuse of arms, impose licensing regimes, and create firearm registries. Brown also challenges many popular assumptions about Canadian history, suggesting that gun ownership was far from universal during much of the colonial period, and that many nineteenth century lawyers – including John A. Macdonald – believed in a limited right to bear arms.

Arming and Disarming provides a careful exploration of how social, economic, cultural, legal, and constitutional concerns shaped gun legislation and its implementation, as well as how these factors defined Canada’s historical and contemporary ‘gun culture.’

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