Canadian Firearms Legislation and Effects on Homicide 1974 to 2008
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Canada has implemented legislation covering all firearms since 1977 and presents a model to examine incremental firearms control. The effect of legislation on homicide by firearm and the subcategory, spousal homicide, is controversial and has not been well studied to date. Legislative effects on homicide and spousal homicide were analyzed using data obtained from Statistics Canada from 1974 to 2008. Three statistical methods were applied to search for any associated effects of firearms legislation. Interrupted time series regression, ARIMA, and Joinpoint analysis were performed. Neither were any significant beneficial associations between firearms legislation and homicide or spousal homicide rates found after the passage of three Acts by the Canadian Parliament--Bill C-51 (1977), C-17 (1991), and C-68 (1995)--nor were effects found after the implementation of licensing in 2001 and the registration of rifles and shotguns in 2003. After the passage of C-68, a decrease in the rate of the decline of homicide by firearm was found by interrupted regression. Joinpoint analysis also found an increasing trend in homicide by firearm rate post the enactment of the licensing portion of C-68. Other factors found to be associated with homicide rates were median age, unemployment, immigration rates, percentage of population in low-income bracket, Gini index of income equality, population per police officer, and incarceration rate. This study failed to demonstrate a beneficial association between legislation and firearm homicide rates between 1974 and 2008.
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