On the surface, the idea of a total ban on guns in urban areas is intriguing. No wonder 69% of Canadians said they were in favour in a recent poll. An urban ban might avoid the political pushback from rural MPs who are accountable to their gun-owning residents and create separate rules for cities, where guns are more associated with violence than with hunting or target practice.
I’m not someone who buys the argument that because criminals would turn to illegal weapons that means there’s no point in banning guns. We don’t use that rationale for any other crime. I’m also predisposed to think that Canada has a unique opportunity to curtail gun violence before it gets beyond our control. In the United States, it’s almost too late to do anything about it. But the problem, as always, is in the details.
How would the ban work? What will happen to law-abiding urban gun owners who used their firearms at shooting ranges or on weekend hunting trips? As appealing as it might be to declare Canada’s cities gun free, at least from a legal perspective, it’s hard to envision a solution that would actually work.