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A Mackenzie Institute Occasional Paper

Canadian Attitudes Toward Gun Control: The Real Story

- Gary A. Mauser, Ph.D., Simon Fraser University, &

H. Taylor Buckner, Ph.D., Concordia University (ret'd)

January, 1997

The Mackenzie Institute

P.O. Box 338, Adelaide Station

Toronto, Ontario

M5C 2J4

Tel: (416) 214-1388

The Mackenzie Institute

The Mackenzie Institute is an independent body for research and commentary on issues relating to organised violence and political instability. It concerns itself with a wide range of issues ranging from terrorism to conventional warfare, radical ideologies and political unrest to the processes of revolution, organized crime and espionage.

Since its 1986 inception, the Institute has built a reputation for intellectual integrity and a willingness to look beyond the trends of the moment. The Institute is dedicated to the proposition that individual rights and the liberal democratic tradition must be safeguarded at home and fostered elsewhere, and that these are the keys to peace, prosperity and freedom.

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The Mackenzie Institute

PO Box 338, Adelaide Station

Toronto, Ontario

M5C 2J4

Telephone 416-214-1388

Note: This paper is expected to be reproduced by some readers and might be republished by others. We encourage this. The Institute asks only that the reproduction and redistribution not be done for profit, that the whole of the paper be reproduced, and that the normal conventions of accreditation are accorded to the authors and the publisher. Permission is granted to excerpt for reviews and commentary. All other rights are reserved. Additional copies of this paper are available from the Institute for $8.00 plus postage per copy.

Canadian Attitudes Toward Gun Control: The Real Story

- Gary A. Mauser, Ph.D., Simon Fraser University &

H. Taylor Buckner, Ph.D., Concordia University (ret'd)

Table of Contents

Foreword 1

Executive Summary 2

Chapter 1. Opening Shots

. Author's Introduction 4

. The History of Gun Control in Canada 5

Chapter 2. Methodology of the Survey and Analysis

. Methodology of the Survey 6

. Methodology of the Analysis 6

Chapter 3. Canadians and Firearms - Basic Values

. Rights 8

. Do Canadians Value the Right to own Firearms? 8

. Do Canadians Value Hunting? 9

. Value Concerns 11

Chapter 4. Knowledge and Salience of the Current Gun Control Laws

. Objective Methods of Knowledge 14

. Salience of the Firearms Law 16

. Values, Knowledge and Salience 16

. Gun Ownership, Knowledge and Salience 17

Chapter 5. Canadians' Perceptions of Problems and Violent Crime

. Most Important Problem Facing Canada 18

. Perceived Changes in Violent Crime 19

. What Should be Done About Reducing Violent Crime? 20

. Perceptions of Increased Violent Crime and Suggested Solutions 22

Chapter 6. Opinions on the Utility of Gun Control

. Will Stricter Gun Control Reduce Violent Crime? 24

. Does Gun Control Affect Criminals? 25

. Will Gun Control Reduce Violence Against Women? 26

. Suicides, Homicides and Accidental Deaths 26

. Index of Perceived Effectiveness of Gun Control 29

. Basic Values and Perceptions of Effectiveness 30

Chapter 7. Questions on the Registration of Firearms

. Registration 31

. The Six Questions on Universal Registration of Firearms 32

. Values, Effectiveness, and Support for Registration 33

. Compliance With Registration 34

Chapter 8. The Confiscation of Handguns

. Whose Handguns Should be Confiscated? 38

. Values, Effectiveness and Support for Confiscation 41

Chapter 9. Firearms Ownership

. Under Reporting 43

. Firearms Ownership 45

. Types of Firearms Owned 46

. Reasons for Firearms Ownership 46

. Multiple Ownership 48

Chapter 10. Issues of Self-Defence

. Would Canadians Defend Themselves? 51

. The Use of Guns for Self-Defence in Canada 52

Chapter 11. Issues of Politics

. Voting in the 1993 Federal Election 57

. The Importance of Gun Control 57

. Voting for Pro-Registration Candidates 58

. Voting on Handgun Confiscation 59

. Values, Perceived Effectiveness and the Strength of Vote Intentions 60

Chapter 12. Conclusions

Annex A. Text of Questions 68

About the Authors 70

References. Books, Articles and Other Sources 71

Annex B. Cross Tabulations of the Questions by Background and Analytical Variables Because of the length of this annex (exceeding the length of the paper itself), and its limited utility to many general readers, it is published seperately. Copies are available from the publisher and have been provided automatically to academic and institutional readers of the paper.

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