Gun Laws in Canada vs The US: Difference and Comparison

Guns are invariably a subject of controversy, especially the different rules and laws of every country. It is very likely to get lost in the rules of every nation and get confused between them. One such topic of confusion is the gun laws in Canada and The US.

Although these nations carry tons of similarities, they differ in the laws, and not understanding and following them can lead to grave complications.  

Key Takeaways

  1. Canadian gun laws are stricter than those in the US, requiring more extensive background checks, licensing, and training.
  2. The US has a constitutional right to bear arms, while Canada does not have an equivalent provision in its constitution.
  3. Gun ownership rates in the US are significantly higher than in Canada, partly due to the differences in gun control legislation.

Gun Laws in Canada vs The US 

The gun laws in Canada and the US are significantly different, with Canada having stricter regulations requiring individuals to register their firearms. The gun laws in the US allow for the purchase of firearms without background checks in some instances, such as private sales and gun shows.

Gun Laws in Canada vs The US
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Aforementioned, the Gun Laws in Canada are composed of a single act, and the procedure of obscuring a gun in Canada is tedious and excessively long.

Typically, it is considered morally wrong to own a gun in Canada as they prioritize safety above everything. Throughout the years, no gun lobbies have ever influenced the laws regulated by the Canadian government.

In contrast, Gun Laws in The US is composed of several leaders and government. The process of obtaining a gun in The US is quite easy, and they do not perceive it as a crime.

In The United States, gun ownership is regarded as the fundamental right of a citizen and is included in the Constitution.   

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison    Gun Laws in Canada  Gun Laws in the US    
Act controlling the laws  Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1977  Gun Control Act, 1968  
Severity of Laws  Extremely Strict  Comparatively Lenient    
Duration of Background Check  28 days    Few Days  
Opinion on gun ownership    Ethically incorrect  Right for self-protection and self-defense  
Rate of Gun-Deaths  Extremely Low Notably High   
 

What are the Gun Laws in Canada?

Throughout the years in the past, Canada has followed strict regulations in terms of gun ownership. Owning a gun in Canada is extremely lengthy and involves safety assessment and a reference by a third party.  

Mostly, Canadian citizens possess firearms for distant shooting, hunting, and target shooting, and possession of arms for self-defense is strictly prohibited in Canada. Also, the transportation of arms inter-states is too tedious and complicated.   

In Canada, the Firearms Act is categorized into 3 types-Non-restricted, Restricted, and Prohibited. Non-restricted includes all guns with lengths more than 26 inches and is used for hunting.

The restricted category includes handguns with barrel lengths of more than 4.1 inches and can be expelled at high ranges, and these guns are restricted but not prohibited.

The third category- Prohibited, include firearms that the citizens cannot possess, these are military arms and military weapons.   

The only way to obtain the prohibited arms is by inheriting them from a military ancestor. Citizens can obtain permission by legally applying to carry firearms for protection from wild animals and wildlife.

Only adults above 18 can procure a license for a firearm in Canada, children under 18 and above 12 can own a minor license which allows them to borrow a gun. Children living in remote areas avail of this license to practice hunting.  

Ownership of firearms is strictly prohibited to persons possessing criminal records or who have records of executing domestic violence, or having mental issues.

These restrictions prove to be beneficial for the nation as Canada has the lowest gun-related deaths annually.   

What are the Gun Laws in The US? 

Aforementioned, the United States has comparatively lenient laws on the ownership of firearms. They consider it a fundamental citizen right to self-defence, as mentioned in their constitution.

Gun Laws in the United States are considered to be the most lenient in the world.  

Although federal statutes form all the laws, few state governments pursue their own set of rules. Almost all citizens can purchase and own a gun in the US.

Background checks do take place and go on for a few days but are not strict enough, as quoted by the activists. Only convicted criminals, mentally unstable patients, and illegal immigrants are prohibited from carrying a gun.   

There are two types of gun carrying in the US- open and concealed.

Open carrying of firearms is followed with stricter restrictions, and some states entirely prohibit carrying guns in the open, while some states allow carrying handguns but prohibit carrying long guns.

On the other hand, concealed carrying is allowed in most of the states, with some exceptions.  

About 31 states prohibit the open carrying of guns, while 15 states allow open carrying, provided you have a permit and a license.

As of now, most of the states in The United States allow the carrying of firearms anywhere in the country without a permit by just approving with a Photo ID and documents to show yearly training in an authorized state.   

Most of the laws in the US are mentioned in the Gun Control Act of 1968, but every state has laws that keep changing rapidly and will keep on changing.

Due to the mild and easy-going laws, the US faces the brunt of recording numerous gun-related deaths annually.  

Main Differences Between Gun Laws in Canada and the US

  1. The gun laws in Canada are comparatively stricter than the United States, as the laws in the US are lenient and easy-going.  
  2. The background checks in Canada are firm and diligent and take up to 28 days, on the other hand, the background checks in the US are loose and take only a few days.   
  3. Canada considers gun ownership as morally wrong, in contrast, the United States considers gun ownership as a fundamental right for self-protection.  
  4. Several gun lobbies influence the gun laws in the United States, whereas the gun lobbies in Canada are much weaker and practically have no control over the laws.  
  5. Open carrying of arms in Canada is strictly prohibited, excluding the professions who need a gun, while in the US, open carrying of guns is allowed with almost no restrictions.   
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References 

  1. https://books.google.com/bookshl=en&lr=&id=2zHo7woTbZsC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=gun+laws+in+canada&ots=wT85SlNfnj&sig=P8KXcy2NeJJYbubAeFbE9p3srUY  
  2. https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/192077/U.S.%20Gun%20Policy_%20Global%20…pdf  

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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