By the Numbers: How Canada's Gun Laws Compare With Ours
Gun violence has become all too common in the U.S., but it made for a rare headline Wednesday when two shootings in Canada left a soldier and a gunman dead, The Globe and Mail reported.
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.
- 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.