Majority Of Canadians Support Ban On Handguns And Assault Weapons, Says Poll


Opposition to ban on firearms driven largely by men, rural Canadians, gun owners.

TORONTO – Whether it’s recent mass killings in Penticton, B.C., ongoing gang-related shootings in Vancouver and Toronto, or the Quebec City mosque killings in 2017, communities across the country have been shaken by gun violence in recent years.

The latest public opinion study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians divided by gender, gun ownership and region on the seriousness of gun-related crimes.

Across the country, half of Canadians (50%) consider gun violence a serious problem for the country, while half say political and media coverage of this issue has been overblown.

Concern over this issue is greatest in Ontario, where gang violence has contributed to stark increases in gun-related homicides.

Canadians appear to come to more consensus, regarding proposed policy responses. Six-in-ten Canadians (61%) say they would support an outright ban on civilian possession of handguns – something being pushed for by some of the country’s largest cities. The support level jumps to three-quarters (75%) when considering a ban on assault weapons.

Further, there is significant support for proposals to strengthen elements of the licensing and purchase process, including expanded background checks and comprehensive tracking of gun sale records. This includes majority support from current and former gun owners.

Some of the Angus Reid Institute’s findings are at odds with those recently released from an online survey by the Government of Canada. While the government survey found close to four-in-five Canadians saying they did not believe more should be done to limit access to handguns or assault weapons, ARI found nearly the opposite. Important methodological differences explain this and are discussed later in the report

Rural and urban respondents have very different concerns about gun violence. For those in Canadian cities, the biggest identified worry relates to gang activity (48% say this). Rural Canadians, by contrast, voice higher levels of concern about accidental shootings or guns used for suicide than those in urban areas