Canada has an Assault Weapon ban and low homicide rates – the AWB has to be the reason… right?

A lot of people in the anti-gun movement point to Canada as a pinnacle of gun control and how America needs to adopt their gun laws to stop violent crime. Canada’s “Assault Weapon” ban is often pointed to specifically. There’s a very big problem with that, mainly, Canada’s “Assault Weapons” ban is an extremely poorly written, feel good only AWB. These laws have heavily restricted many firearms by name, such as the AR-15, and completely ignored many other firearms that are functionally the same as the AR-15, such as the Robinson XCR, Swiss Arms 556, H&K SL8, IWI Tavor, and others.

Let me repeat that.

While the AR-15 may be restricted in Canada, other rifles with the same functionally do not have the same restrictions.

If guns are the root cause of violence, why doesn’t Canada have the same violent crime problems that America does?

The reason is rather simple – violent crime is very much a cultural issue, not an inanimate object issue.

Guns are not the problem – people are the problem

It is irrational to conflate civilian firearm owners with violent criminals. Civilian firearm owners are not embryonic killers—they are exemplary middle-class Canadians. Firearms ownership is compatible with and conducive to good citizenship, and, accordingly, Canadian firearms owners are found to contribute substantially to their communities as responsible, law-abiding citizens. Historically, armed civilians have played crucial leadership roles in their communities, including protecting their country from invasion.

The Canadian findings are consistent with international research. Homicide rates have not been found to be higher in countries with more firearms in civilian hands. Nor is there convincing empirical support for most of the gun control measures in Australia, Jamaica, Republic of Ireland, Europe, the United Kingdom or in the United States. In sum, the proposition that restricting general civilian access to firearms acts to reduce homicide rates cannot be empirically justified.

(Emphasis mine)

This is an excerpt from Do Triggers Pull Fingers? A Look at the Criminal Misuse of Guns in Canada (PDF warning), a study on firearms from the Canadian government. This firearms study has three very important conclusions.

  1. Law abiding firearms owners are not the problem. In fact, most firearms owners are good citizens.
  2. Countries with higher firearms ownership do not have higher homicide rates.
  3. There is not evidence to show the success of gun control measures, such as Australia’s or the UK’s.

So what do we do about violent crime in America? There are many ways we can reduce violent crime without resorting to gun control.