Difference Between Gun Laws in Canada and The US

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.  

Gun Laws in Canada vs The US 

The main difference between Gun Laws in Canada and The US is that the laws in Canada are formulated and regulated in the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1977 and every Canadian citizen obeys their guidelines, on the other hand, in The United States, the laws are formulated and regulated by several Federal Statutes. The laws in The US also differ within some states and governments.   

Gun Laws in Canada vs The US

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 by 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 Between Gun Laws in Canada and the US 

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. The procedure of owning a gun in Canada is extremely lengthy and also involves safety assessment and a reference by a third party.  

Mostly, Canadian citizens possess firearms for distant shooting, hunting, 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, Prohibited. Non-restricted is the category including all the guns having lengths more than 26 inches and is generally used for hunting.

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

The third category- Prohibited include firearms that cannot be possessed by the citizens, 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 for carrying 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. The 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, 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 as a fundamental right of the citizen for self-defense as mentioned in their constitution.

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

Although all the laws are formed by federal statutes, 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 lie two types of carrying a gun in the US- open and concealed.

Open carrying of firearms is followed with stricter restrictions, some states entirely prohibit carrying guns in 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 by an authorized state.   

Most of the laws in the US are mentioned in the Gun Control Act, 1968, but every state has its laws that kept on 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.   


From the above-mentioned points, it is clear that the gun laws of both Canada and the US are as different as chalk and cheese and typically have almost no similarities between them.

Canadian law perceives gun ownership as a mere criminal offense and does not consider it as a fundamental right, conversely, the United States does not consider it as a threat and recognizes and follows it as a right.   

Guns are not allowed to be modified in Canada whereas it is allowed in the United States.

Although both Canada and the United States are culturally and historically similar, the gun laws are what separates and distinguishes them and these laws carry their own set of pros and cons.  


  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  
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