Media outlets have reported that a semi-automatic weapon was used by Alexandre Bissonnette during the recent Quebec attack. In Canada, semi-automatic guns are only permitted to be loaded with a maximum of five rounds. However, as a result of our “messy” gun classification system, these weapons can easily be purchased and modified in order to house up to 6 times that amount of ammo.

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Canadian gun licenses are quite difficult to obtain (requiring safety training, background checks, and mental health references), and this enforcement has ultimately led to a weapon smuggling network, with Rob Gordon of Simon Fraser University elaborating: “There is an illegal market for all manner of weapons that are openly available in the US.”

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Interestingly, Canadian laws ban certain guns by brand name, allowing cheap brands to flood the market, ultimately negating the effect of whatever restrictions are in place.

A.J. Somerset, an expert on Canadian gun issues, explains: “Canada’s classification system is a mess. If someone wants to do the shooting at the mosque, they can obtain a non-restricted firearm in Canada that is functionally the same as an AK-47, illegally modify it, and they have exactly the rifle we don’t want them to have.”

 

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