5. The Politics of Panic - A History of Canadian Firearms Control

Introduction

Strikes across the frontier and strikes for higher wage
Planet lurches to the right as ideologies engage
Suddenly it's repression, moratorium on rights
What did they think the politics of panic would invite?
Person in the street shrugs - "Security comes first"
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse.

- Bruce Cockburn, The Trouble With Normal, 1983

It is convenient for Canadians to believe that the victimization of minorities by both elected and non-elected governments described by Adachi (1991), Simkin and Zelman (1993), and Zelman, et al. (1994), is exaggerated and not representative of our own political situation. Our legislators' increasing reliance on restrictive firearm controls is simply a reflection of violent times which demands "tough" legislation to ensure public safety.

Or is it something else?

A review of the history surrounding firearm control in Canada indicated that "gun control" is virtually synonymous with "citizen control". Controlling criminals, especially in twentieth century Canada, has always taken second place to maintaining the political and economic status quo.