Gun Control: Canada vs USA

Gun laws and gun control is a political eye in the storm across the border. With the US elections nearing and an increase in gun violence and mass shootouts in America, the issue has become a hurricane. Back in our own country, gun law is a not such a big concern.

In 2012, Canada only had 172 firearm related murders compared to USA’s 8,813 firearm related murders. Like so many other issues, there is a gulf of difference between the gun law and the gun culture of USA and Canada.

Buying a Gun in Canada

So how do you buy a gun in Canada?

  • Canadian Firearms Safety Course: You are required to complete a Canadian Firearms Safety Course. The course will end with a practical and written exam. You need to qualify to be able to handle the class of gun you will be buying.
  • PAL: Fill and put in your Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) application.
  • Wait: A first-time applicant must go through the 28 day waiting period wherebackground checks and investigations are conducted on the applicant.
  • Receive your PAL
  • Go out and buy a gun

The PAL is valid for 5 years. The firearm classes are divided into non-restrictive, restrictive, and prohibited firearms. The Canadian Firearms Safety Course will vary depending on which firearm class you want to purchase.

Buying a Gun in USA

  • Enter a Gun Store: Walk into a store licensed by the Federal government to sell firearms.
  • ID Proof: Provide photo identification proof.
  • Form 4473: Fill up a Form 4473, which is the Firearms Transaction Record Over-the-Counter application.
  • Leave: Buy the gun, and walk out the store.


There is a huge legal difference in the buying process of Canada and USA. USA has a much simplified process to buy a gun, allowing almost anyone to buy one.

  • USA The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution, the Constitutions of its 44 states, common law, and the laws of all states recognize the right to use arms in self defence. The Gun Control Act of 1968 is the only law that imposes regulations on the US firearms industry.
  • Canada Canada never imbibed the spirit of the right to bear arms to defend one’s country. From the heyday of 1867, Canadians found carrying arms without reasonable justification were penalized. This stance continues in our country. Over time, legal procedures and checks have been imposed to keep a tighter control on the arms. In 1991, Bill C-80 was introduced, which required applicants to pass a Safety Course, apart from the already set processes of being registered as gun owners and background checks.

At the heart of it, the spirit of gun ownership is quite different between the USA and us, and our gun laws easily reflect that. US citizens believe in their right to bear arms, while we do not.