TORONTO, Aug. 24, 2023 /CNW/ – New analysis of US, Canada and UN crime and trade data by Bloomberg News investigative journalists David Kocieniewski, Natalie Obiko and Eric Fan reveals “NRA-style politics transformed Canada’s gun culture – and shootings rose 869%.” These findings reinforce previous research and warnings by the Coalition for Gun Control (CGC) that despite the strong public health evidence to support measures to reduce the risk firearms will be misused, the gun lobby in Canada has disproportionate influence over policy.
The journalists’ analysis provides important new data. The article reveals, “confidential documents, public information requests and parliamentary disclosures indicate that Canadian law enforcement officials and policymakers have often understated the role that legally imported weapons play in crimes. Data from the Canadian National Firearms Tracing Centre, for instance, indicate that half the crime guns it traced in 2022 were what authorities call “domestically sourced” weapons. That term actually means most of them were legally imported because Canada manufactures few firearms.”
Research in the Bloomberg News story also shows, “in per capita terms Canada is now the biggest foreign buyer of American rapid-fire weapons.” It provides data about Canada’s increasing gun appetite and that firearm related crimes more than doubled.
The article exposes the complex and politically influential work of US-based gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association working alongside Canada’s gun lobby. Additionally, the research of the journalists reveals that between 2017 to 2021, of the 25,000 Canadian crime guns traced by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives one of every three had been legally imported from the US. In July, 2023, another Bloomberg News story uncovered how US Drives Gun Exports and Fuels Violence Around the World in another investigative piece.
The concerning analysis reinforces the findings of research by the Coalition for Gun Control which has led national efforts to reduce gun violence for more than 30 years. Supported by more than 200 organizations, the Coalition had standing at the Mass Casualty Commission and presented evidence highlighting the importance of regulating firearms to stem the illegal trade as well as misuse of firearms.
Many of the recommendations of the Commission are reflected in Bill-C-21 An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms) currently before the Senate. Bill C-21, defines and prohibits military style semiautomatic firearms, prohibits the import, sale and transfer of handguns, reduces the risk dangerous people have access to firearms, and improves import and border controls.
New national and provincial Canadian firearm data is included in the story and echoes the Coalition for Gun Control’s research which shows that gun violence is not just an urban issue. The journalists reveal, “over the past two decades, the annual volume of US-made semiautomatic firearm imports into Canada has increased almost 10-fold. The country’s annual rate of shootings per capita — incidents referred to as “discharge firearm with intent” — surged almost sevenfold. In Saskatchewan, which saw the highest increase, that rate exploded 35-fold since 2003 and is now nearly five times the national average, according to a Bloomberg analysis of national crime data. These concurrent trends — more guns, more shootings — have alarmed Canadian authorities.”
The article from Bloomberg News shows the links in Canada to the US gun lobby are troubling. “The NRA helped the homegrown Canadian Shooting Sports Association set up a political arm to battle the expanded rule. The American organization also coached the Canadian group’s members in grassroots advocacy to promote pro-gun candidates in the 2006 election that made Conservative leader Stephen Harper prime minister.”
Bloomberg’s journalists point to recent lobby attempts as well. “Canada’s increasingly aggressive gun rights groups, which are aligned with the Conservatives, say they won’t stop until they’ve ousted Trudeau.”
“We urge the Senate to consider the evidence and prioritize public safety over the hobbies of those who own handguns and military style semi-automatic firearms,” says Wendy Cukier, co-founder of CGC. ” The proposed law brings us in line with most industrialized nations. This recent article underscores the importance of strict controls on legally imported firearms and also sheds light on the way in which the gun industry and US gun lobby operate.”
For more information or comment from the CGC, please contact: Kathleen Powderley, [email protected] or Wendy Cukier, Co-founder, Coalition for Gun Control, [email protected] or Amanda Dale, Research Fellow, Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa, [email protected]
SOURCE Coalition for Gun Control