Okay. Here we go. The Canadian government, or I should say, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, has just announced an immediate ban on assault weapons following the killing of 22 people in Nova Scotia committee by a guy who had both handguns and long guns, although the actual types of rifles has yet to be disclosed. The list of banned weapons runs some 1,500 different guns and is basically every model of every AR-type of guns that has ever been made.

What Trudeau is proposing is that none of the guns on this list will be available for sale in Canada as of today. The government will at some point issue guidelines for compensating owners of these guns when they are turned in or keeping them under lock and key in some kind of grandfathering procedure not yet worked out. So what Trudeau is doing is somewhat along the lines of what Australia did after a mass shooting back in 1996. The possible amnesty provision in Trudeau’s new law appears to reflect the fact that Australia announced an amnesty for those possessing an illegal gun in 2016.

Were it not for the fact that the COVID-19 problem has sucked the air out of every other advocacy movement in the United States, you could be sure that this restriction on assault rifles in Canada would have been greeted by a loud response down here by both sides. But even the boys in Fairfax had next to nothing to say about Trudeau’s move; the main NRA website didn’t mention it at all, the daily news digest on the NRA-ILA site posted a 70-word comment last Friday which has already disappeared.

For those of you who wish that what Trudeau just did in Canada needs to be done down here, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the fact that Canada has a parliamentary system whereas we have a Federalist system means that a Chief Executive sitting in the Oval Office couldn’t ban assault rifles in the exact, same way. Of course he could. He could just order the ATF to revise the definition of a gun to take into account certain design features which are inherent to the AR. For example, under current law, a long gun must have a barrel that is at least 16 inches long. Make the minimum length of the barrel to be 24 inches and that’s the end of that. Or modify the law and ban folding stocks.  If the ATF were to make those two changes in the current regulations, and bye-bye the AR.

Of course Congress might then get into the act and pass a law overriding what the ATF had just done. But think about this: if the blue team can move 4 red seats in the Senate onto their side of the aisle in November, they control both the Senate and the House. And if Joe racks up the majorities in the 4 or 5 swing states which the polls say right now he enjoys, then the stage is set for the United States to do exactly what Canada just did regarding guns.

The good news for the Democrats is that right now there seems to be a much greater sense of bi-partisanship in terms of how to deal with COVID-19 than there has ever been when it comes to dealing with guns. Can you imagine George Bush doing a video calling for an end to partisanship if the issue involved guns? This is the same George Bush who allegedly became President because the NRA helped him win Gore’s home state.

But before you begin to dream about ginger snaps and gun control, just remember this. What the gun makers have increasingly done is taken the technology and design of assault rifles and build assault-style handguns, which if anything, are probably more lethal and more dangerous than the long-barreled assault guns. I don’t see any of those models on Trudeau’s list, by the way, which means that Canada hasn’t necessarily been made safer from the violence caused by guns.