R. Blake Brown, Professor of History, St Mary’s University. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2012. $45.00; Student Price: $20.00.
The topic of gun control is never far from the public eye in this country, taking centre stage whenever a dramatic shooting occurs and invariably featuring in debates about Canadian-American distinctions. This is the first comprehensive history of the subject, and we are delighted to be the publishers of what will be the standard work. Professor Brown’s account of both gun use and its regulation from the early periods of European settlement to the controversy over the gun registry tells us a complex and at times contradictory story. Gun control is far from a merely contemporary concern. At many times in our history Canadian governments have evinced concern about gun ownership and use. Yet that concern has often been about who should have access to what sorts of firearms, and the urge to regulate has been tempered by campaigns to encourage gun use as a manly pursuit useful for training citizens to be well versed in the practice of using firearms. Canadians’ own views of the subject have not been uniform, with marked differences between urban and rural dwellers and across regions. This is thus a rich piece of social, cultural, political and legal history.