Canada and the United States, among many countries, do not have adequate gun control laws. This dialogue, for now, creates a space to collect some of what people are publishing and petitioning to change that.

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Tell the NRA: Enough!

To NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre:

We are shocked and outraged by the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and can no longer accept NRA blocking sensible gun control laws. We call on you to recognize that reasonable laws are not incompatible with gun owners' rights. Our country needs new gun rules now to protect our children.

Stop the roll back of gun control

September 23, 2009

To: Members of Parliament, Government of Canada

Re: NCWC Call to Defeat Bill C-391

Conservative MP Candace Hoeppner’s Private Member’s Bill C-391 is scheduled for second reading debate on Monday 28 September, 2009.  Bill C-391 proposes to eliminate long-gun registration and to destroy all existing registration records. 

The National Council of Women of Canada is strongly in favour of gun control. We, along with the police, believe that the gun registry is an important tool to prevent crime and to support criminal investigations, in addition to getting guns away from those who should not have them.  It is equally important to have licences renewed to ensure that the data the Registry has, is as up to date as possible.  We believe that the existing controls over rifles and shotguns have contributed to public safety.  Compliance with the law has been estimated at over 90% (2 million gun owners, 7 million guns are in the system.)  Since 1995, 333 fewer Canadians die annually from gunshots.  Homicides with firearms are down, suicides with firearms are down, and domestic violence with firearms has gone down drastically (although murders by other means have not.) 

The Coalition for Gun Control shows that the current system works, stating that 9000 licences were revoked from potentially dangerous persons.  Those who support the Gun Control Registry include the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs, the Canadian Police Association, the Centre for Suicide Prevention, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, and more than 40 women’s organizations.

 We firmly believe that all firearms should be strictly controlled.  Unrestricted rifles and shotguns are most often used in domestic violence, suicide, and police killings.  They include the powerful semi-automatics such as that used at the Ecole Polytechnique and the “elephant gun” used to kill Constable Gignac in Laval.  These guns are also frequently found in caches recovered from gangs and organized crime. 

There are still too many tragedies involving rifles and shotguns, for example:

- Heidi Ferguson was shot by her estranged husband at her Orangeville, ON, home in September 2009. An avid gun collector and hunter, it is believed he later turned the gun on himself.

- In July 2009 Joan Hanson, her daughter and granddaughter were shot by her estranged husband who then turned the rifle on himself at her rural home in northern Alberta.  Financial pressure is believed to have been a motive.

- In November 2008 84-year-old Lily Walker was shot by her husband who committed suicide in Red Deer, Alberta.

- In February 2008, an 8-year-old wounded his 9-year-old friend with his father’s .22 calibre rifle while playing “guns” in the basement of his house on Manitoulin Island, ON.

- In February 2008, a teenager in Whitby, ON, contacted police as her distraught stepfather had locked himself in a closet with a rifle and was threatening to commit suicide. Police found 26 firearms inside the house, all of them legally registered.

-  A 16-year-old girl was shot in the head by her 17-year-old boyfriend in Regina, SK, with a stolen rifle and ammunition in October 2007. The girl lost one eye, the hearing in her right ear, experienced paralysis on one side of her face, some brain damage, and had to relearn how to walk, speak, chew and swallow.

- In September 2007, Kathryn Knudsen was shot to death in broad daylight in the parking lot of a local park in Sarnia, ON, by her boyfriend who then committed suicide.

- The man found guilty of a triple murder in Ontario stole a rifle on a nearby farm in July 2007 and killed Bill and Helene Regier at their Mount Carmel, ON, farmhouse.

We need gun control and the gun control registry. The evidence shows that stronger gun laws, which include the licensing of gun owners and the registration of guns, have helped to reduce gun-related death, injury, violence and suicide.

The National Council of Women of Canada strongly urge you, the Members of Parliament, to defeat Bill C-391.

Karen Dempsey

President, National Council of Women of Canada


The National Council of Women of Canada is a federation comprised of Local Councils, Provincial Councils, and Nationally Organized Societies. Founded in 1893, it was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1914 and has been designated by the Government of Canada as being of national historic significance for its role in Canadian women’s history. For more information, consult our web site at or contact our national office at #506, 251 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 1X3.

President Barack Obama, Attorney-General Eric H Holder Jr: Repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act 

Repeal of this 2005 shield law would allow victims of gun violence -- and the cities and states that pay for cleaning up the results of gun violence -- to file class action lawsuits against gun makers and gun dealers. The gun industry almost collapsed under the weight of such lawsuits in 2005, until Congress passed this law. Just as the 1998 tobacco class action settlement sharply restricted tobacco advertising and sales, so class action lawsuits against gun makers and gun dealers would make them accountable for atrocities committed with their products.

Last updated by ROSE Dec 19, 2012.

Remembering Anastasia De Sousa (1988-2006)

Dear Coalition for Gun Control Supporter,

This September 13th will mark the fifth anniversary of Anastasia De Sousa's tragic death at Montreal's Dawson College. That day, a man with a history of mental illness shot 20 students with a legal Beretta CX-4 Storm, a semi-automatic tactical weapon with characteristics of military assault weapon.

Since then, Anastasia's parents, alongside victims, students, teachers and staff at Dawson College have joined our struggle to fight for stronger gun control. Their help was critical in stopping efforts to dismantle the long-gun registry last year.

The Dawson College shooting was a grim reminder of the importance of keeping guns away from unbalanced and dangerous individuals. While no law can prevent all tragedies, we know that Canada's gun control law makes these kinds of occurrences less likely to happen, making it harder -not easier- for dangerous individuals to gain access to guns. Days after the tragedy, the long-gun registry was instrumental in disarming a potential copycat in a small Quebec town. We'll never know for sure how many other tragedies our gun control law has helped to prevent.

The list of prohibited weapons has not been updated since 1995 and many new firearms not suited for hunting and target shooting and banned in other countries are being sold to civilians. The Coroner's report into the Dawson College shooting recommended that guns such as the Beretta CX4 Storm be banned.

In September 2008, the Quebec government's "Anastasia Law" came into effect, strengthening gun safety in the province through enhancing the reporting of high-risk behaviours in connection with firearms. The law further banned the presence of firearms in schools and daycare centres, and on public and school transportation.

With the recent death of Jack Layton, we have lost one of our strongest allies in the House of Commons. Jack worked tirelessly to ensure that his caucus did not vote with the Conservatives to dismantle the legislation. Last year, as a result of his efforts, six NDP MPs who had voted with the Conservatives, switched their votes and saved the gun registry in spite of terrible, personal attacks and expensive targeted campaigns in their ridings.

Jack was one of the first politicians to meet with the Dawson College Gun Control Committee and told the group "When a shooting takes place in a school, it shakes all of us to the core. We think of a school as a safe place, where you go to learn. So it seems like a violation of everything we believe in when something like that happens." ... "The answer to gun violence is not to end the gun registry - it's to ensure that assault weapons do not end up on city streets. I'm here to urge [the government] to keep up the pressure for the reform of gun laws so that the kinds of guns that were used here would no longer be permitted. "

What you can do to protect our gun law so that tragedies like the Dawson College shooting never happen again:       

We are just one week away from the House of Commons returning and we know the government plans to quickly introduce a Bill to scrap the long-gun registry. The NDP has yet to take an official party position. Help us make sure that we keep Jack Layton's vision alive. 

Please call or e-mail Nycole Turmel (613-992-7550; and NDP MPs this week to share your desire to continue Jack's legacy and work together to end gun violence. Ask that the party oppose the Harper government's plans to weaken Canada's gun control.

Mention these key facts:

Rifles and shotguns in the wrong hands are as deadly as handguns, we need controls on all guns.

Registering all firearms holds gun owners accountable for their firearms and reduces the chances that their guns will be diverted to unlicensed owners, helping to choke off the illegal supply.

Registration is a one-time procedure, and it's free. The system is in place, and 6.9 million rifles and shotguns are already registered. Eliminating the long-gun registry will not refund the financial investment to set it up, nor will it save billions of dollars in the future.

The gun registry is an essential tool used 16,000 times a day by police, including when intervening in domestic disputes. It assists police investigations and in removing ALL guns from dangerous people, enforcing prohibition orders, and taking preventative action.

Gun control works. Health and safety experts have shown that stronger gun laws have reduced gun-related death rates.

Licensing gun owners and registering firearms is the norm internationally. Scrapping the long-gun registry will undermine our ability to meet our international commitments to combat gun trafficking.

Call 1-800-O-Canada or go to to find Members of Parliament's contact information.

Thank you so much for your commitment!

The Coalition for Gun Control

Last updated by ROSE Sep 20, 2011.

Write an MP about gun control today



This urgent appeal is from a colleague of mine, Wendy Cukier, who led the creation of the current gun control bill in Canada. For those of us who remember the Montreal Massacre (December is the 20th anniversary), Wendy's tireless organizing after that event lead to the current Gun Control Law in Canada.


There is a Private Members bill before parliament that will pass and lead to the dismantling of the registration of rifles and shotguns. The vote is tomorrow at 5:30 pm.


Even though the PMO and conservative party have pulled out the stops in terms of advertising and promotion, picking off opposition MPs one at a time, Jack Layton is saying it must be a free vote. Yesterday he said it’s up to the Senate to stop it. There are about 9 NDPers who will vote with the Tories and maybe 3 Liberals.


It is one month from the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.


If you have a network (I am guessing you might) I would be grateful if you would forward this email. We will lose but the NDP backbenchers are saying they have not heard from anyone but the gun lobby.


Attached are the problem people. Charlie Angus in particular may be amenable to reason. Please send an email! Remember those who have died for guns.


Jean Golden



Charlie Angus:

Niki Ashton

Dennis Bevington


Claude Gravelle

Carol Hughes

Bruce Hyer

John Rafferty

Glenn Thibeault

Possibly Jim Malloway



Anthony Rota

Todd Russell

Larry Bagnell

Wayne Easter EasteW@parl.gc

Last updated by ROSE Nov 4, 2009.

Stop the roll back of gun control in Canada

The Elimination of the Long Gun Registration a Risk to Public Safety

April 22, 2009, Ottawa, ON:

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) calls on Members of Parliament and Senators to oppose Bills S-5 and Bill C-301

Two bills currently before Parliament are aimed at dismantling gun control in Canada. CFUW believes that gun control is an important measure to help prevent public violence especially violence against women.

The debate of Bill S-5, an amendment to the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, to eliminate the requirement to register long-guns (rifles and shot-guns) begins today in the Senate. CFUW urges Senators to vote against Bill S-5, to protect public safety and to retain the gun control and gun registration laws.

Private Member's Bill C-301 proposes to weaken controls on prohibited and restricted weapons (including fully automatic weapons), extend the period of gun licenses and eliminate the registration of rifles and shotguns.

CFUW calls on Senators and Members of Parliament to:

  1. .          Drop Bill S-5 and retain the registration of long-guns;
  2. .          Oppose Bill C-301 which would weaken the laws to prohibit and restrict weapons(including fully automatic weapons), extend the period of gun licenses and eliminate registration of rifles and shotguns;
  3. .          End the amnesty for gun owners who fail to renew their licenses or register their firearms;
  4. .          Strengthen the screening and renewal processes for licenses;
  5. .          Prohibit the sale of semi-automatic tactical and military assault weapons to civilians;
  6. .          Strengthen controls on handguns;
  7. .          Adhere to international agreements on marking and tracing to help combat illegal arms' trade.


Canadian Federation of University Women

Contact: National Office: 613 234 8252 Ext. 102; Email

Susan A.C.Russell, Executive Director

Last updated by ROSE Oct 7, 2009.

National Council of Women of Canada

Media Release

For immediate release

December 4, 2008


*In Remembrance*

Words still fail us as we remember the tragic events that occurred on

December 6th, 1989, at the École Polytechnique in Montreal. The

anniversary of the massacre of 14 women is now commemorated as the

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

That horrific event led to more stringent gun control laws in Canada and

to changes in police tactical response. A survivor, Heidi Rathjen,

organized the Coalition for Gun Control with Wendy Cukier.

At this time, we remember all women killed in violence and reiterate our

call for stronger gun control. The National Council of Women of Canada

firmly believe that all firearms should be strictly controlled.

Unrestricted rifles and shotguns are most often used in domestic

violence, suicide, and police killings. They include the powerful

semi-automatics such as that used at the Ecole Polytechnique and the

"elephant gun" used to kill Constable Gignac in Laval.

We, the National Council of Women of Canada, call for the Government of

Canada to require all Canadian gun owners to achieve compliance with the

Gun Control Laws and Gun Control Registry.


Karen Dempsey


National Council of Women of Canada

613 232 5025

Last updated by ROSE Oct 7, 2009.

A couple observe a public memorial at the scene of the Dawson College shootings in the early morning of Sunday, September 17, 2006. (CP PHOTO/Ian Barrett)

10 years after Dawson College shooting, victims and families still suffering
by Stephanie Marin , The Canadian Press, September 12, 2016

Montrealers will commemorate the 10th anniversary on Tuesday of the shooting at a downtown junior college when a man murdered a young woman and wounded another 16 people before killing himself.

Eighteen-year-old Anastasia De Sousa was sitting in the Dawson College cafeteria with friends when Kimveer Gill, wearing a black trenchcoat, black leather boots and with his hair styled in a Mohawk, started shooting.

Gill had already shot six people standing outside the doors of the college when he entered the building, made his way to the cafeteria and took aim at De Sousa, hitting her and another three students.

The shooter turned and asked James Santos, a student he had taken hostage, if Anastasia was still alive. Santos told him he didn't know and begged Gill to let her leave the school to be treated. Gill then asked another male student if Anastasia was dead and was told he didn't know. He then riddled her body with bullets. "Now she's dead," he said, according to a coroner's report into the tragedy.

Anastasia's mom, Louise Hevey De Sousa, said in an interview she was initially told her daughter was shot in the arm and was being treated in hospital. De Sousa said she felt like a "zombie" during the hours she waited before hearing the news. "I had knots in my stomach," she told The Canadian Press. "There was something wrong."

When De Sousa and her husband found out around 9 p.m. that night their daughter was dead. "our entire lives fell apart." "I didn't believe it," she said. "I was sure they had made a mistake." Anastasia's murderer was not a student at Dawson, an anglophone institution sitting on 12 acres of green space in downtown Montreal.

Gill had been out of a job for a year and was living in his family's home in Laval, just north of Montreal. He was armed with several weapons, including a Beretta CX4 Storm, a semi-automatic he used to shoot 72 rounds in and around the college.

The gun was so big that witnesses said they thought he was an actor in a movie when they saw him walking with it outside the school. Gill used another weapon, a Glock pistol, to shoot himself dead roughly 20 minutes after starting his rampage.

De Sousa said the family never stops thinking about Anastasia. "I often ask myself where she would be now," she said. "Would she be married? Would I be a grandmother? I'll never know. Burying your daughter at 18, it doesn't make sense."

Another mother also had to bury a child after the events of Sept. 13, 2006. Parvinder Sandhu, Gill's mother, said she is still suffering from what her son did. "I won't say anything," she said in an interview. "No, it's too painful and I'm still suffering. Life has changed forever and I'm not able to say anything. It's extremely painful." Sandhu said her son "wasn't treated fairly." "He was such a nice person, very gentle, kind, everything you can think about," she said. "But when all this happened, it's like, 'Oh my God'. It's hard to understand. It's not him. He was totally opposite."

The coroner's report said that written among Gill's notes were passages describing how he would have murdered his parents if they had tried to get in the way of his plans.

Meaghan Hennegan was one of the six students shot outside the front doors to the school, which were a few metres from the cafeteria where Gill fired most of his rounds.

Now 28, she recently completed a degree to become a pharmacy technician and found a job in her field. She had to undergo years of physiotherapy and says she still has pain in her arm. She said the fact the Beretta that Gill used to shoot her is even more accessible in Canada than it was 10 years ago is insulting.

During the time of the shooting, the semi-automatic was classified as "restricted," forcing its owner to have a special permit for possessing the weapon and another for transporting it. As was the case in 2006, the weapon can be used only at shooting ranges. Now, a modified version of that gun is available and is classified as "non-restricted," which requires only a regular permit to purchase.

"That makes me so angry," Hennegan said. "It's a slap in the face."

New Zealand banning semi-automatic, assault rifles after mosque shootings

Move comes after 50 people were killed, dozens injured in Christchurch attacks
Thomson Reuters · Mar 20, 2019, CBC News

New Zealand PM announces gun law changes

Jacinda Ardern announces ban on military style semi-automatics and assault rifles 3:16

New Zealand will ban military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles under tough new gun laws following the killing of 50 people in the country's worst mass shooting, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday.

In the immediate aftermath of Friday's shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, Ardern labelled the attack as terrorism and said New Zealand's gun laws would change.

"On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too," the prime minister said. "We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place."

"All semi-automatic weapons used during the terrorist attack on Friday 15 March will be banned," she said at a news conference.

The changes will require legislation, she said, which is being drafted now and will be introduced quickly. Ardern said she expects the new laws to be in place by April 11 and a buy-back scheme will be established for banned weapons.

In the interim, an order in council was put in place to limit trade in the weapons that will be banned.

Thousands expected in Christchurch for Friday prayers one week after mass shooting

Police 'strongly believe' suspected Christchurch gunman planned to attack 3rd mosque

The buyback would cost up to $200 million (around $183 million Cdn), she said.

All military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles would be banned, along with parts used to convert weapons into MSSAs and all high-capacity magazines.

Under existing New Zealand gun laws, A-category weapons can be semi-automatic but limited to seven shots. Live-streamed video of a gunman in one of the mosques showed a semi-automatic weapon with a large magazine.

I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest.

- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Australia banned semi-automatic weapons and launched a gun buy-back after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 in which 35 people were gunned down.

Ardern said that similar to Australia, the new gun laws will allow for strictly enforced exemptions for farmers to conduct pest control and animal welfare.

"I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest, and will take these changes in their stride."

New Zealand, a country of fewer than five million people, has an estimated 1.2-1.5 million firearms, around 13,500 of them MSSA type weapons.

Most farmers in the Pacific country own guns, which they use for killing pests such as possums and rabbits, and for putting down injured stock.

The case for denying mass killers fame in order to fight the deadly 'contagion effect'

Thousands expected in Christchurch for Friday prayers one week after mass shooting

Recreational hunting of deer, pigs and goats is popular for sport and food, while gun clubs and shooting ranges dot the country.

That has created a powerful lobby which has thwarted previous attempts to tighten gun laws after other mass shootings in New Zealand and overseas.

Federated Farmers, which represent thousands of farmers, said it supported the change.

"This will not be popular among some of our members but...we believe this is the only practicable solution," Federated Farmers Rural Security spokesman Miles Anderson said in a statement.

The changes exclude two general classes of firearms which are commonly used for hunting, pest control, stock management on farms, and duck shooting.

"I have a military style weapon. But to be fair, I don't really use it, I don't really need it," said Noel Womersley, who slaughters cattle for small farmers around Christchurch.

"So I'm quite happy to hand mine over, to be fair."

Ardern said the next tranche of reforms will cover the firearm registry and licensing.
Incorrect name

Not long after the gun law changes were announced, New Zealand police said they inadvertently charged the mosque shootings suspect with the murder of a person who is still alive.

Police charged 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant with a single, representative count of murder after Friday's attacks. But police on Thursday said in a statement they made an error on the charging sheet prepared for Tarrant's first court appearance Saturday.

CBC IN NEW ZEALAND | 'Many precious people died': Imam reeling after Christchurch mosque shootings

Police said they have spoken with the person incorrectly named on the document and have apologized, and said they would change the charge sheet.

Police did not offer further details of what went wrong or make anybody available for an interview. The name of the person on the charging sheet has been suppressed.
Mosques to reopen

On Thursday, the bullet-riddled Al Noor mosque in Christchurch was being repaired, painted and cleaned ahead of Friday prayers, as grieving families buried more victims.

Ardern has announced that Friday's call to prayers for Muslims will be broadcast nationally and there will be a two minute silence.

Armed police have been guarding mosques around New Zealand since the attacks.

"We will have a heightened presence tomorrow in order to provide reassurance to people attending the Friday call for prayers," police said in a statement on Thursday.
A police officer places flowers on the gates of Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Fifty people were killed and dozens are still injured after a gunman opened fire on two Christchurch mosques last Friday. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

Both mosques attacked, the Al Noor and nearby Linwood mosque, plan to be reopened. Thousands of worshippers are expected at the Al Noor mosque, where the majority of victims died.

The first victims were buried on Wednesday and burials continued on Thursday, with the funeral of a school boy.

A mass burial is expected to be held on Friday. Body washing will go on through the day and night to have the dead ready for burial, said one person involved in the process.

Police have now identified all 50 victims.Twenty nine people wounded in the attacks remained in hospital, eight still in intensive care

Gun control: It's been 30 years since the École Polytechnique massacre, so if not now then when?

With the 30th anniversary of the horrific femicide comes Canada's gun control moment of reckoning

The Canadian flag flies at half staff as a family puts their daughter's casket into a hearse after services on Dec. 11, 1989, for nine of 14 women shot dead five days before at Montreal's École Polytechnique. (Mark Tomalty/Reuters)

The modern Canadian gun control movement can trace its roots back to the tragedy at Montreal's École Polytechnique, and the days following the 1989 massacre when the engineering students launched a nationwide petition calling for a complete ban on assault weapons.

Over the months after the shooting, I sat beside dozens of students in our cluttered boardroom, sustained by vending machine food and coffee while we opened hundreds of envelopes and counted thousands of signatures late into the night.

Altogether, we collected an astounding 560,000 signatures.

As we presented them to our elected officials, we were confident that we had done our job and that they would do theirs.

Yet here we are, 30 years later — the same students, all grown up with families of our own, including many with sons and daughters attending our very own beloved alma mater — still calling on the government to ban weapons that are "basically designed as an instrument of war" with "no sporting use either in the cultural or recreational sense," as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police describes them.

This, despite the fact that polls over the years have continuously shown an overwhelming majority of Canadians in support of their prohibition.

At a memorial to those gunned down during the Dec. 6, 1989, massacre at Montreal's École Polytechnique, a person holds a rose dedicated to Sonia Pelletier, one of 14 women killed. (Chris Wattie/Retuers)

Tragically, military-style semi-automatic weapons have become more, not less, accessible over the years, as successive governments blatantly ignored gun manufacturers' tactics of redesigning existing models in order to circumvent the minimal controls they're subject to.

Many new models of assault weapons henceforth fall into the least-controlled "non restricted" category. The restricted Beretta CX4 Storm that was used in the 2006 Dawson College shooting, for example, is today available as a non-restricted "long gun."

The greater availability of assault weapons, along with the exponential increase in the number of privately owned handguns, the record number of gun owners and, especially, the loss of critical hard-fought measures (including the mandatory registration of all firearms), indicate that Canada is losing the battle to the gun lobby.

Louise De Sousa, mother of Dawson College shooting victim Anastasia De Sousa, Suzanne Laplante-Edward and Jim Edward, parents of Polytechnique victim Anne-Marie Edward, have advocated for stricter gun controls in Ottawa. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

The Conservatives, patently aligned with the gun lobby, moved full steam ahead when in power to dismantle any gun control measures they could get away with.

As for the Liberals, they have taken only timid steps in the right direction when they had the chance to do much more.

They also bent over backwards to please gun owners, with generous loopholes and deleterious half-measures, and reinforced gun lobby rhetoric by prioritizing the issue of illegal gangs & guns at the expense of equally important gun-related suicide, domestic violence and mass shootings, all of which generally involve legally owned guns.

Because of this lopsided dynamic, successive iterations of the typical Conservative/Liberal/Conservative election cycle will result in more and more ground being lost unless one party takes bold action on gun control.

Already, Canada is the fifth-worst OECD country in terms of gun deaths per capita. Instead of comparing ourselves to the U.S., we ought to aspire to emulate countries such as members of the EU, as well as Australia and Japan, where stricter controls accompany fewer gun deaths.

Flowers are seen in front of the memorial plaque at École Polytechnique in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

So, this is it.

With the 30th anniversary of the Polytechnique femicide comes our gun control moment of reckoning. Indeed, if the current government doesn't deliver, we will lose the long battle for gun control. Because if not now, then when?

We are now in the second mandate of a party that was twice elected on a promise to strengthen gun control. Even with a minority government, the unequivocal support expressed by the NDP and the Bloc Québécois during the election campaign means that demands for stricter controls are backed by a majority of the members of parliament.

But if we are to win this fight, we need the Liberals to act like New Zealand did in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre: boldly, decisively and without delay.

By the time that nation's new ban on assault weapons and other robust measures are fully implemented, they will be so entrenched that it will be political suicide for future governments to undo them.

So if the Liberals act decisively now, even though other parties will eventually come to power, the likelihood that these parties could repeal forthcoming gun-control gains will diminish with the strength of the new measures.

Survivors and families of victims of the worst mass shooting in Canadian history have waited long enough. In fact, they have fought long enough. It is time for our government to show some backbone, call out the self-serving arguments of the gun lobby, and pass strict, comprehensive gun laws that are soundly based on the public's right to be safe from preventable gun violence.

This column is an opinion by Heidi Rathjen, a graduate of École Polytechnique in Montreal and coordinator of Poly RemembersShe was in a nearby study room when a gunman killed 14 women and injured 14 other people on Dec. 6, 1989. For more information about CBC's Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

Thank you for increasing gun control:
Let's support Canada's ban

While it is important to write letters that are calls for change, there is also value in writing letters that express thanks to those in positions of power for making decisions and taking action that has been long-awaited.

Please read the sample letter below which we hope will inspire you and others to write a similar letter.

In addition to addressing it to Prime Minister Trudeau, Chrystia Freeland and Bill Blair, you could also include your local Member of Parliament. You can find your MP here:


Dear Sirs and Madam,

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety             

Re: Thank you for your huge effort at gun control

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for the action taken on May 1st banning military style assault weapons. What you did will be forever remembered as an historic moment for Canada, stemming the tide of violence in our country. 

Thank you for reacting to the terrible massacre in Nova Scotia by bringing forward these regulations to increase gun control. The speed of your actions has taken my breath away.

When you are criticized for what you have done, please remember that the majority of Canadians applaud, and are relieved by, these new regulations. And we understand that change takes time, and you’re going as fast as you can.

If you ever have a moment’s doubt, please review the statistics below from the Coalition for Gun Control and Statistics Canada.

With love and respect, yours sincerely,

Full Name
Number and Street
City, Province, Postal Code
Phone Number

1. Most Canadians support stronger gun control legislation*

67% of Canadians support a ban on hand guns
88% support stronger licensing requirements and back ground checks
8 out 10 Canadians support a national database for tracking gun sales
83% support banning civilian possession of military assault weapons

2. Women’s safety and gun violence*

Women and children suffer disproportionately in situations involving fire arms, most often long guns

3. Police officers killed on duty

92% were killed by a firearm: 56% by a rifle or shot gun, 44% by a hand gun (Statistics Canada, between 1961 to 2009)


You may also want to CC the Leader of the Opposition to inform him of the support that the majority of Canadians have for gun control:
Honourable Andrew Scheer, MP:

“Trudeau announces ban on 1,500 types of 'assault-style' firearms — effective immediately”

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