By the Numbers: How Canada’s Gun Laws Compare to Ours

The Ottawa shootings at the National War Memorial and inside Parliament shone a light on our northern neighbor’s laws, which have often been credited with helping Canada avoid the multitudes of mass shootings the U.S. has seen.

Annual homicides by gun:

Canada had 173 homicides by gun, according to a 2012 report.
The U.S. had 9,146 that year.

Total number of civilian guns:

Canada has 9,950,000.
The U.S. has more than 27 times as many: 270,000,000.

Guns per person:

Canada reports 30.8 firearms per 100 people. The country ranks 13 worldwide for firearms per capita, according to a report published by The Washington Post in September
The U.S. has 88.8. It ranks No. 1.

Waiting period to purchase a gun:

Canada requires a 60-day waiting period.
There is no federally mandated waiting period.
In the U.S. Residents can receive a gun after a background check.

Largest mass shootings:

Canada’s largest mass shooting was in 1989, when 25-year-old Marc Lepine killed 14 people at Montreal’s École Polytechnique.
The U.S. has had 160 mass shooting incidents between 2000 and 2013, CNN reports from a study released by the FBI. The largest U.S. shooting was at Virginia Tech in 2007, when 23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people. In 2012, twenty children and seven adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

License and registration requirements:

To own a gun in Canada, residents must take a safety course and pass both a written and a practical exam. The license expires in five years. Residents have to register restricted firearms, such as handguns and automatic weapons, with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Canadian Firearms Program.
In the U.S., license and registration laws vary from states to state, often with no such requirements. There is no mandatory course or exam.

Background checks:

Canada requires a background check that focuses on mental health and addiction. Agents are required to inform an applicant’s spouse or family before granting a license.
The U.S. requires a federal background check for all those buying guns from licensed dealers but does not require one in private transactions such as at gun shows.

 

(Information is gathered from data collected by the Small Arms Study, The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, and the Canadian Firearms Program).

Samantha Cowen, TakePart

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