Majority of Canadians Support Stronger Gun-Control Measures: Poll 

20 March 2023
March 20, 2023

Survey finds more than 70 per cent of respondents support permanent ban on new handgun purchases and oppose civilians being allowed to own assault-style firearms 

OTTAWA — New polling results suggest most Canadians want stronger gun control laws, and 89 per cent of Canadians support requiring authorities to revoke a firearms licence and remove firearms quickly (within 24 hours) from individuals who have committed acts of domestic violence, family violence or stalking. 

Most Canadians support the measures in Bill C-21, now before Parliament, to strengthen gun control in Canada, according to results of an Abacus Data poll of 1,500 adults released Monday by the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) on behalf of 34 women’s and feminist organizations from across Canada. Support for gun control measures is higher among women. 

Only 11 per cent of respondents “strongly support” civilians owning assault-style firearms compared to 55% who said they “strongly oppose” civilians being allowed to own these types of weapons, which are designed for military or tactical use.   

Support was strongest among NDP supporters with 67 per cent “strongly opposed”, followed by Liberals at 64 per cent and Conservatives at 45 per cent.  (An additional 11 percent, 13 percent and 23 percent, respectively, “somewhat oppose” civilians owning such weapons.) 

“The survey findings confirm that despite the pro-gun lobby’s high-profile and well-financed public relations campaign to ensure amendments to enshrine a permanent and comprehensive ban on assault-style firearms are not included in Bill C-21, including widespread dissemination of disinformation regarding hunting rifles being prohibited, the majority of Canadians remain steadfast in their support for banning these weapons,” said Suzanne Zaccour on behalf of the National Association of Women and the Law.  

Support was also higher among women than men, highlighting the coalition’s point that gun control is a feminist issue: only 8% of women surveyed strongly support civilian ownership of assault-style firearms, compared to 62% of women who strongly oppose them.  

Most respondents also support requiring individuals who have lost their firearm licence because of domestic violence to go through a more rigorous process, such as applying to a judge, if they wish to acquire a new firearms licence, with 64% strongly in support compared to just 7% strongly opposed. This measure, supported or strongly supported by 88% of women surveyed, was proposed in NAWL’s brief to the standing committee on Public Safety and National Security, endorsed by 14 feminist organizations. The brief also calls for preventing access to firearms to individuals who have engaged in domestic violence, no matter their occupation, a measure supported by 77% of Canadians surveyed.  

The omni survey was conducted between March 7th and March 10th and commissioned by Women for Gun Control, a coalition of national and regional women’s and feminist organizations from across Canada. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 2.53 per cent, 19 times out of 20.   

The data set was weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region.  

about NAWL
The National Association of Women and the Law is a not-for-profit feminist organization that promotes the equality rights of women through legal education, research and law reform advocacy.
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