- The sale of firearms should be strictly regulated. (A&P 1973, pp. 278–279, 283, 40)
- Owners of firearms should be licensed and should be obliged to take training in the safe use of firearms before a license is granted. (A&P 1976, pp. 436, 470, 60)
- International criteria and controls should be established to reduce the impact of small arms trade to fueling and prolonging conflict. A&P 2006, pp. 286, 21).
Select actions of The Presbyterian Church in Canada regarding gun control, gun-related violence and community wellness
2021: Recognizing the ways that misogyny, racism and economic insecurity intersect and contribute to gun violence, and to the wider community trauma inflicted on all people when gun violence occurs, the church encouraged the Government of Canada to prioritize funding for social programs aimed at ending racism, misogyny, social and economic marginalization and poverty in order to proactively improve safety and wellness in communities.
Studies show disproportionate use of force and levels of violence in encounters between policing agencies and Black and Indigenous people, but this information is difficult to access, and isn’t always available. The church wrote to the Government of Canada advocating for a centralized race-based data collection for encounters with police in order to adequately track and, in turn, fight, systemic racism.
Up to 70% of people who died in encounters with the police suffered from mental health or substance use problems. The church wrote to provinces and territories advocating that funding for wellness-checks is reallocated from police to community and healthcare based crisis intervention workers, including pathways for people to access health-care lead interventions through 911 services that do not necessitate the involvement of police as first responders in mental health crises. (A&P 2021, LMA)
2020: The church published a statement regarding violent encounters between police and Indigenous people emphasizing the need to combat systemic racism that targets Indigenous peoples for violence.
2013: General Assembly affirmed the principles of the Arms Trade Treaty which sets universal regulations for the cross-border transfer of weapons, and prevents the export of any weapons, including small arms, to countries with gross human rights violations. The church urged the Government of Canada to sign and ratify the treaty (advocating over several years) for the adoption of the treaty (which Canada did adopt in 2019, though full ratification remains elusive). (A&P 2013, pp. 289-290, 24)
2006: General Assembly affirmed that international criteria should be established to reduce the contribution of trade in small arms (which include handguns and assault-type rifles) to fueling and prolonging conflict, international criteria should be established in which nations:
- adopt global transfer principles or criteria that would prevent the shipment of small arms to countries at war or where there are serious human rights violations, or to countries in which such arms are likely to undermine security and development efforts.
- agree to strengthen and harmonize national regulations on small arms that would include prohibiting possession of semi-automatic and automatic rifles, machine guns and all light weapons by those other than authorized entities.
- include small arms as part of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms to promote greater transparency. (A&P 2006, pp. 286, 21).
1976: General Assembly supported the government of Canada’s proposed gun control bill and asked as well for obligatory training in the safe use of firearms before a license was granted. (A&P 1976, pp. 436, 470, 60)
1973: General Assembly called on the Government of Canada for much more strict regulations and control of firearms. (A&P 1973, pp. 278-279, 283, 40)