Canada has a ‘gun culture’ too

A Glock 22 pistol is seen laying on a Palmetto M4 assault rifle at the Rocky Mountain Guns and Ammo store in Parker, …As Canadians, we often like to thumb our noses at our neighbours to the south because of their apparent 'gun culture.'

That's especially true this week, after the Colarado movie theatre shooting that resulted in 12 dead and over 58 injured.

But compared to rest of the world we have our fair share of guns.

According to GunPolicy.org, a website hosted by the University of Sydney (Australia), the estimated total number of guns held by civilians in Canada is 9,950,000.

The website also notes that, with a ratio of 23.8 firearms per 100 people, Canada is the thirteenth highest gun-toting country in the world.

While the U.S. ranks the highest, by far, Canada's gun-to-population ratio is higher than countries such as England, Norway and even Kenya and Kuwait.

Granted, Canada does have strict firearm regulations compared to other countries.

According to a Statistics Canada report, firearm owners must undergo difficult screening provisions which include the completion of a multi-page form with a variety of questions concerning the applicant's personal and criminal history, personal references and a mandatory 28-day waiting period.

In the United States, most states don't have licensing or registration requirements for any type of firearm, including handguns, assault weapons and rifles/shotguns. Moreover, about three-quarters of all American states have provisions that grant ordinary citizens the "right to carry" a concealed weapon.

In spite of our comparatively tough rules, industry analysts say gun sales have increased in Canada since the 2008 recession by about 10 per cent per year.

After the federal long-gun registry was killed by the Conservatives this past spring, sporting shops saw a large increase in sales of both restricted firearms, handguns and non-restricted rifles and shotguns.

"We are also seeing an increase in firearms that have been brought into the used market, we had millions of long guns in Canada that were not in the system, and many decided to divest themselves of them once they no longer feared prosecution," Tony Bernardo, spokesman for the Canadian Shooting Sports Association told Sun News.

"More people are getting involved with shooting every year, there are gigantic increases in firearms permits, our instructor crews that do training are full every weekend in Canada."

When it comes to guns, we're not the United States, but we're no 'Disneyland' either.