A new poll suggests that the vast majority of Canadians favours a total ban on guns in urban areas.The automated land line and cell phone survey of 2,287 Canadians was carried out Nov. 10-30 and is considered accurate within 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
According to the poll, conducted by Ekos Research Associates for The Canadian Press, 69% of those surveyed agreed with the statement “I think that there should be a strict ban on guns in urban areas.”
Support was highest in Quebec at 76% and lowest in Alberta at 48 %.
The federal Liberals are currently at work on legislation to follow through on campaign commitments to tighten up restrictions on guns, though an earlier suggestion a new bill could be introduced before the end of the year now seems unlikely.
Ekos president Frank Graves noted that the Liberal plans don’t involve any kind of total ban and, indeed, no political party has ever suggested the idea.
Guns are not involved in the vast majority of crimes in Canada but there have been increases in gun-related violence.
Statistics released last month showed that 2016 was the first time since 2012 that shootings were the most common method of homicide in Canada.
Statistics Canada also reported that 2016 was the third year in a row that the number of firearm-related homicides rose.
A standard response to why government doesn’t go further to crack down on guns is politics and the perception that urban Canadians view the issue far differently than rural dwellers, who use guns to hunt for food or protect themselves in remote regions beyond the every-day reach of law enforcement.
A group that includes family members of women killed at a shooting at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989, as well as survivors of a shooting at Montreal’s Dawson College in 2006 and one at a mosque in Quebec City last year gathered on Parliament Hill last week to press the Liberals to commit to a firm timeline for the changes.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said work is underway on related legislation.
He said, “It is an important topic and efforts in the past in dealing with a topic that has the potential to, in some places, be controversial has ended up foundering.”
He added, “When I put forward the legislative package I want to make sure that it’s a package that will succeed. That’s my objective and we’ll get it done.”