Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada

Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada

Weight 0.00 lbs
By R. Blake Brown
Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2017
World Rights
370 Pages
ISBN 9781442626379
Published Oct 2013
Online discount: 25%
 $35.95    $26.96
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442665606
Published Oct 2012
Online discount: 24%
Full purchase $36.95

From the École Polytechnique shootings of 1989 to the political controversy surrounding the elimination of the federal long-gun registry, the issue of gun control has been a subject of fierce debate in Canada. But in fact, firearm regulation has been a sharply contested issue in the country since Confederation. Arming and Disarming offers the first comprehensive history of gun control in Canada from the colonial period to the present.

In this sweeping, immersive book, R. Blake Brown outlines efforts to regulate the use of guns by young people, punish the misuse of arms, impose licensing regimes, and create firearm registries. Brown also challenges many popular assumptions about Canadian history, suggesting that gun ownership was far from universal during much of the colonial period, and that many nineteenth century lawyers – including John A. Macdonald – believed in a limited right to bear arms.

Arming and Disarming provides a careful exploration of how social, economic, cultural, legal, and constitutional concerns shaped gun legislation and its implementation, as well as how these factors defined Canada’s historical and contemporary ‘gun culture.’

R. Blake Brown is an associate professor in the Department of History at Saint Mary’s University.




Chapter 1: “Every man has a right to the possession of his musket”: Regulating Firearms before Confederation

Chapter 2: “The government must disarm all the Indians”: Controlling Firearms from Confederation to the Late Nineteenth Century

Chapter 3: “A rifle in the hands of every able-bodied man in the Dominion of Canada under proper auspices”: Arming Britons and Disarming Immigrants from the Late Nineteenth Century to the Great War

Chapter 4: “Hysterical legislation”: Suppressing Gun Ownership from the First to the Second World Wars

Chapter 5: Angry White Men: Resistance to Gun Control in Canada, 1946-1980

Chapter 6: Flexing the Liberal State’s Muscles: The Montreal Massacre and the 1995 Firearms Act, 1980-2006


‘Brown’s admirable book is an exceptionally vast, sweeping, detailed, and authoritative account of Canada’s gun experience.’

Robert J. Spitzer, Law and History Review, November 2013

‘Blake Brown's Arming and Disarming is a truly fine piece of scholarship, six full years in the making.’

Paull W. Bennett, Chronicle Herald, January16, 2013

Arming and Disarming is full of fascinating and well-placed quotations from key historical figures concerning their views on gun issues… This book stands out as an important and pioneering work in the history of gun control on Canada.’

James Floros, Canadian Historical Review vol 94: 03:0213

‘R. Blake Brown has produced a sweeping, thorough, insightful, and well-researched account of gun control in Canada… This book should prove useful and provocative for students and scholars of Canadian and comparative law, society, and politics.’

William G. Merkel, American Historical Review June 2014

Canadian Law and Society Association Book Prize (Canada) - Winner in 2013