This article is from the can.talk.guns FAQ, by Skeeter Abell-Smith firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
While such a guarantee was not put into our constitution (as was done in
the US), our countries share a common history. We both have legal
systems based on English Common Law. We share rights dating back to the
The 1689 English Bill of Rights specifically states that subjects of
the Crown (citizens), in their capacity as individuals, as a righ
"may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions". The
Bill also states that disarming citizens is contrary to the law.
This law still applies and re-inforces the common-law right.
Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:
"7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the
person and the rights not to be deprived thereof except in
accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."
This section re-inforces the right of self-defence and strengthen
the argument that access to firearms by law-abiding citizens is a
right that continues to exist for Canadians.
The Charter also states:
"26. The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms
shall not be construed as denying the existence of any other rights
or freedoms that exist in Canada."
This section states that even if a right is not mentioned in the
Charter, that doesn't mean it does not exist. Many of our rights
exist in common-law and were established centuries ago by such
documents as the Magna Carta and the 1689 English Bill of Rights.
Rights of having arms for self-defence are tied direct to the
centuries-old common law right of self-defence. If one has the
right to defend one's self and others, one must have the right to
the tools necessary to uphold such a right. As always, there is
much debate about "where to draw the line". There is more detail in
the section on self-defence.
For more info on the US 2nd amendment, etc., try
``The Long List of "Gun-Control" Myths'', available from: