Roughly half of urban Canadians support a full ban on gun ownership, a new poll by Ipsos suggests.
The survey, conducted exclusively for Global News, found that 52 per cent of Canadians polled, living in nine major centres, agree that all types of guns should be made illegal.
The results were released on Friday, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an immediate ban on what he called assault-style firearms. His government vowed to make such guns illegal during the 2019 federal election campaign.
“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time,” he said.
“We can stick to thoughts and prayers alone, or we can unite as a country and put an end to this.”
Though the polling only captured the views of Canadians in urban centres — not rural areas — it still revealed sharp disparities in opinion.
Toronto and Montreal had the highest levels of support for making any type of gun illegal, at 67 per cent and 57 per cent respectively.
The Prairies saw the least amount of support, at 48 per cent for Winnipeg, 37 per cent in Regina and 30 in Saskatoon. Calgary and Edmonton nearly tied at 34 and 33 per cent each.
Vancouver was nearly on the national average at 53 per cent, while Halifax stood at 42 per cent.
The polling was completed between March 24 and April 2, before the mass shooting happened in Nova Scotia.
It could stand to reason, said Ipsos vice-president Sean Simpson, that support for a gun ban may have grown in the wake of last month’s rampage, one of the deadliest massacres in Canadian history.
But there’s also another factor to consider in looking at the national picture.
“What we’ve seen throughout the years in our polling on gun-control questions is that support is always higher in cities than it is in rural regions,” he said.
“And so, yes, while the results may be higher as a result of what’s happened in Nova Scotia, they could also be lower on a national basis when we factor in the opinions of rural Canadians.”
Opinions on a firearms ban varied in other ways.
Women were much more likely to support a ban at 58 per cent, while men were at 44 per cent.
“So they’re definitely not on the same page there,” Simpson said.
Support for making firearms illegal was 11 percentage points stronger among parents compared with those without kids.
Those 55 and older were 11 points more likely than other adults to support an all-out ban on guns.
That demographic, Simpson pointed out, typically turns out in higher numbers to vote.
“It seems that those of them who live in the cities probably would have preferred the government to have gone even a step further,” he said.
The ban announced Friday covers more than 1,500 weapons, including semi-automatic guns that have been used in mass shootings.
The Liberals have proposed a period of amnesty and a buyback initiative in order to remove the firearms from circulation.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer accused the prime minister of using the coronavirus pandemic and the immediate emotion of the horrific murders in Nova Scotia to make major firearms policy changes.
“Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally,” Scheer said in a statement.
The Canadian Press reported last month that Gabriel Wortman, the man named as the shooter in Nova Scotia, was likely not in possession of firearms legally.
—With files from The Canadian Press and Amanda Connolly, Global News
This Ipsos poll was conducted on behalf of Global News between March 24 and April 2, 2020. A sample of n=2,400 Canadians was interviewed online, including n=300 residents aged 18+ in each of the GTA, Montreal, Halifax, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and; n=150 residents aged 18+ in each of Saskatoon, and Regina. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects the overall population parameters according to census information. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within plus or minus 2.3 percentage points, of what the results would have been had all adults in each of the markets aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval for n = 300 (city sample) is plus or minus 6.5 points.