When it comes to culture, America and Canada are not that far apart. We both enjoy the same sports, have similar governments, and watch many of the same movies and television shows. An American can easily travel up to Canada and fit right in, and the same goes for Canadians traveling south. While there are many similarities between the two cultures, there is one aspect in which they are rather far apart – guns. Americans and Canadians have very different approaches to firearms, and this has been the case for many years.
The American Approach
Simply put, Americans as a whole love guns. There are more guns in America than anywhere else in the world, and there are now more guns than there are people. Gun related industries are huge in America, including the making of guns, ammo remanufacturing, and the selling of firearms. It seems that each year the number of Americans who own a gun continues to rise, and the number of guns produced climbs as well.
This fondness for guns has been apparent for several decades, but the history of it goes back to the inception of this country. When the country began, it was decided that every American had the right to own a gun in order to fight for militias and “provide for the common defence.” At the time, there was not a large standing army, and militias were the primary source of defence for most states. As time has gone on, the part about “common defence” has transformed into self-defense, allowing almost every American to own a gun in their home, with the sole purpose of keeping their family safe.
Guns are a large part of American culture – from hunting and recreation to video games and movies. If a politician proposes a law that suggests tighter restrictions on who can purchase a gun, you can be sure they will receive some phone calls from gun owners trying to defend their right to own a gun.
The Canadian Approach
Canada tends to view guns differently, and this is also rooted in their history. Canada did not rebel against England like America did, so there was never a reason for an armed rebellion. On top of that, Canada has never had a civil war, meaning there was no reason for every citizen to own a gun at any point in their history. In fact, up until the 1990s. even Canada's Border and Customs agents were unarmed.
Because of their different history, Canada does not view guns the same way as Americans. There are tight restrictions on who can purchase a gun up in Canada, but they still recognize the fact that some people will want to own one – whether for hunting, recreation or self-defense. It is harder to get a gun in Canada, but they are still available.
How The Differences Impact Each Country
The differences in gun culture have led to different outcomes. One such difference is in the number of gun-related deaths. In 2011, the United States experienced gun-related deaths for every 1 in 28,000 people, while the number for Canada was only 1 in 215,000.
However, there is debate – at least in the United States – as to whether more guns are the cause of these deaths. Some argue that in situations like mass shootings, having more firearms around would stop the threat before things escalate. While there are gun related deaths almost every day in America – including suicides, homicides, the killing of police offers and the killings by police officers – no consensus has been reached on how to deal with the issue.
What The Future Holds
Based on recent elections, the trends for each country is unlikely to change. The United States just elected Donald Trump, a man that is against more restrictions on buying guns. On the other hand, Canada recently elected Justin Trudeau, who promised more gun control laws. While there is already a large divide in how these two nations handle firearms, there are not any signs that this will change in the upcoming years.
While there are many similarities between the United States and Canada, the issue of guns is not one of them. Both countries may have access to guns, and use them for similar reasons, but they are far more common in the United States than in Canada. Based on the history of these two countries, and recent events, this divide is likely to remain in place.