Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Firearm “Rights” in Canada: Law and History in the Debates over Gun Control

  • R. Blake Brown (a1)

This article explains why and how some Canadians have asserted a right to possess firearms from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century. It demonstrates that several late-nineteenth-century politicians asserted a right to arms for self-defence purposes based on the English Bill of Rights. This “right” was forgotten until opponents of gun control dusted it off in the late twentieth century. Firearm owners began to assert such a right based upon the English Bill of Rights, William Blackstone, and the English common law. Their claims remained judicially untested until recent cases finally undermined such arguments.


Cet article explique pourquoi et comment certains Canadiens ont revendiqué le droit de posséder des armes depuis la fin du XIXe siècle jusqu’au début du XXIe siècle. Il explique comment divers politiciens de la fin du XIXe siècle ont revendiqué le droit du port d’armes à des fins d’auto-défense en vertu du Bill of Rights anglais. Ce « droit » fut oublié jusqu’à ce que des opposants du contrôle des armes le ressuscitent à la fin du XXe siècle. Les propriétaires d’armes à feu commencèrent à s’approprier ce droit en invoquant le Bill of Rights anglais, William Blackstone, et la Common Law. Leurs revendications demeurèrent non vérifiées en droit jusqu’à ce que de récentes affaires ne viennent saper leurs arguments.

Hide All
Daniel Francis , National Dreams: Myth, Memory, and Canadian History (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1997)

Gérald Pelletier , “Le Code criminel canadien, 1892–1939: le contrôle des armes á feu,” Crimes, Histoire & Sociétés 6 (2002): 5179

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Canadian Journal of Law and Society / La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société
  • ISSN: 0829-3201
  • EISSN: 1911-0227
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-law-and-society-la-revue-canadienne-droit-et-societe
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 17
Total number of PDF views: 41 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 166 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 27th June 2017 - 17th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.