Matt Gurney on COVID-19: Don’t Panic About Increased Gun Sales in Canada



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While it is difficult to follow up with certainty, there are reports that Canadians are buying ammunition and firearms. This also happens in the United States. Those who are already ill-disposed toward civilian gun owners in Canada probably feel a little uncomfortable with firearms and ammunition stealing from shelves, and assume that this is caused by blind panic, fearing that the COVID-19 pandemic would cause society to collapse and we will soon all be killing each other for the last roll of toilet paper.

There is no doubt that part of this is happening. But the real answer is probably much more mundane and less easily inserted into pre-existing opinions regarding civilian possession of firearms in Canada. Sorry, warriors of culture.

We’ve seen it before, actually. A few years ago, a series of articles contributed significantly to the increase in the possession of firearms in Canada – particularly firearms classified under the Firearms Act as handguns. “restricted authorization” light. This mainly means handguns, but also includes rifles. The number of these guns legally owned by Canadians increased steadily from 2012 to 2016, the articles note, and the increase appears to have started after the Harper government removed the long gun registry in 2012. It could there may have been some psychological effect from the scrapping of the long gun registry on sales of restricted firearms – but not directly. The long gun registry registered unrestricted firearms. It had nothing to do with the registration of restricted firearms, which has remained in effect until this day. Other Harper’s changes to our gun control laws would have had minimal impact – in most cases zero – on the sale of restricted firearms because the purchase and license requirements have not changed. Many Canadians who do not understand the complexity of our gun control system have probably assumed that removing the long gun registry made it easier or more convenient to buy a handgun. But no. At all.

So what fact happen? No one knows for sure, but you know what else was going on at the time? The Canadian dollar has risen against the US dollar.

Not regularly, of course. This is not how currency trading works. But around 2012, when the long gun registry was scrapped, the Canadian dollar rose high against the greenback, even sometimes above it. The vast majority of firearms sold in Canada come from the United States, the world’s largest producer of firearms. They are sold by American distributors and manufacturers to Canadian stores at prices quoted in US dollars. And then to Canadian customers in Canadian currency. So when the Canadian dollar is high, guns, like any other import from the United States, are cheaper for Canadian customers. And more Canadians are buying.

This is just a theory, of course. There is no real survey or way to determine why an individual is making a specific purchase decision. But despite all the anger at Harper for removing the long gun registry, and the apparent increase in his purchase caused by a gun class that the long gun registry hadn’t even followed , it always seemed strange to ignore as boring as possible. explanation that people bought more weapons because the weapons became cheaper.

Alison de Groot, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Sports Arms and Ammunition, seen at the Phoenix Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Edmonton, August 24, 2019.

Ed Kaiser / Postmedia

And there are echoes today. The Canadian gun and ammunition market continues to receive a huge percentage of its inventory from the United States. The Canadian dollar is weakening, which means that the next delivery of supplies to Canadian retailers will be more expensive than what is in sale today. In addition, the pandemic seems to hit the United States much harder than Canada. What this means for manufacturing and exporting to the United States is an assumption. But with a possible, even likely, disruption in manufacturing and exports, and with the growing demand for firearms and ammunition in the United States already eroding their national production, any Canadian hunter or sport shooter who planned to make a purchase should do it now. It may take a while for the shelves to be restocked and when they are, prices will likely be higher, due to the recent weakening against the loonie (although it is certainly not dramatic). green ticket. And sales volumes were already high as gun owners tried to anticipate the changes the federal Liberals were considering regarding existing firearms laws (they seem somewhat distracted by other questions in this regard. moment, do you think).

There is nothing wrong with an individual or family thinking about the best way to improve their own safety


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To be clear, there is probably some degree of “panic” buying, as Canadians are considering grim possible scenarios if this pandemic and its economic consequences persist and hit the country hard. The pandemic has revealed weaknesses in our society and made possible – unlikely, but possible – truly appalling possibilities that Canadians simply have not had to worry about for generations or more. There is nothing wrong with an individual or family thinking about the best way to improve their own security (economic, food and, yes, physical) during dangerous and unstable times. If this sounds like paranoia, try to imagine what it would have looked like three months ago if someone had told you that we would all be basically confined to our homes while the economy collapsed and the Americans are preparing to dig mass graves in New York City.

Yet the exaggerated fear of the previous increase in gun sales is a lesson for all of us. People buy firearms for a variety of reasons, many of which are absolutely trivial. Given the time it takes to obtain a firearms license in this country, anyone who buys a firearm today already had their license (or at least started getting it) before the pandemic. . Overall, Canada’s firearms licensing system does very well what it is supposed to do – keeping the gun in the wrong hands.

In short, we must all remain calm. We have real problems right now. A good month of sales for your local hunting supply store should be at the bottom of this list.

National Post

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