Monday, February 4, 2013

Book Recommendation: "Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada" by R. Blake Brown

The value in books like “Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada” by R. Blake Brown lies in their potential contribution to civic and political debates about firearm legislation and the civil discourse on ‘gun-politics’. For this reason I can highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to further arm themselves with a meaningful and coherent foundation in the history and development of Canadian firearm legislation. Obviously Canadians will primarily benefit from this book but many of the associated issues are universal and the legal details are similar to other jurisdictions.

Brown (Associate Professor of History at St. Mary’s University, Halifax, N.S.), has neatly collated a treatise of Canadian firearm law history from pre-Confederation through to the contemporary, ongoing debates subsequent to Bill C-68. The book is a research work and as such is not intended to be a source of ‘entertainment’. That said it is not nearly as dryly academic as one would expect from a journal article for example and is peppered throughout with interesting quotes, anecdotes and art from news media, citizens and politicians. He gives thorough treatment to varied issues ranging from state support for rifle skills through to the emergence of sophisticated gun-control and gun-owners lobby groups at work in Canada today. Along the way he deals with issues such as early state sanctioned firearm ownership, concerns over youth and firearms, early disarmament schemes that were xenophobic, racist and classist, Canada’s early forms of registration and the evolution of licensing and modern legislative requirements.

Why read a book like this? People who take a serious interest in the legal rights and privileges of firearm owners, media gun-rhetoric and public discourse on this topic quickly tire with the gross misinformation and hearsay with which one is constantly bombarded. It is common to be told with great certainty that “guns are banned in Australia and Europe”, “Canadians can’t own military rifles”, “any American can easily just buy machine guns off the shelf” and other such misinformation. If we strive to engage in reasonable and civil discourse about firearm legislation and about the culture of being a responsible firearm enthusiast we must come to the debate informed. Books like this are a crucial tool in the intellectual arsenal for responsible and erudite shooters, hunters and gun owners who must make their voices of reason heard above the tumult.

Reference: R. Blake Brown (2012) Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada. The Osgoode Law Society / University of Toronto Press.

ISBN: 978-1442646391

© Brian Joubert

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting, and it SO true there is so much misinformation out there !