Suspect Justin Bourque (theguardian.com)

Early Friday, Justin Bourque, 24, was arrested and charged with murder after an intense manhunt in New Brunswick. Bourque allegedly gunned down three Royal Canadian Mounted Police and wounded two other officers.

 

Authorities say that Bourque was carrying high-powered firearms when he gunned down the victims last Wednesday. Under Canadian law, he would need to have a firearms license in order to obtain the weapons and ammunition legally.

 

While the manhunt is now over, tensions are still high as this has sparked more fire on the ongoing debate about Canadians strict gun laws.

 

Prior to 1989, Canadian’s gun laws were, for the most part, relaxed. One simply needed to take a safety course and carry a license in order to use a gun.

 

However, in December 1989, a man walked into a Montreal engineering school and shot 28 people, claiming he was “fighting feminism.” He killed 14 women and himself in under 20 minutes. It was named the Montreal Massacre and inspired stricter gun laws.

 

Canada’s current gun laws have evolved to be strict and clear. According to The Washington Post,

 

“Since 1969, firearms have been classified as ‘non-restricted,’ ‘’restricted’ and ‘prohibited.’ Non-restricted firearms include shotguns and rifles, such as those commonly used for hunting. Prohibited firearms include short-barreled handguns, sawed-off shotguns and rifles, and automatic weapons. Large-capacity magazines are also generally prohibited. Restricted firearms include all handguns not included in the “prohibited” class, as well as semi-automatic weapons with shorter barrels.”

 

In the end, prohibited and restricted firearms are legal, but under strict law. These classes of firearms must stay either in the residence of the person with the license, or a place that is approved by the chief of firearms officer.

 

However, some are now arguing that the recent shooting is evidence that the gun laws in Canada are too excessive.

 

Never the less, Canada’s National Firearms Association is taking a very different approach to the shooting than the National Rifle Association (NRA) has in the past. According to the Huffington Post Canada, “Immediately after mass shootings the NRA avoids making any statements regarding the legal status of guns. Instead the organization expresses sympathy for the family of the victims and says that now is not the time to discuss legislation.”

 

What do you think about the reactions that have stirred after this shooting? What side are you on? How do you think this compares to the gun laws in America? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @kateeb790!