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The United States and Canada are neighbors and share a lot of the same traditions and ideals. The USA is widely known as a country that has a long history of gun ownership, but many people do not know that Canada has over two million residents with guns. A small arms survey done in 2017 showed that Canada has the 5th highest rate of gun ownership when compared to similar countries. However, the way that these two countries handle gun ownership is vastly different. 

Firearm Purchases

It’s much easier to buy a gun in the United States than from a Canadian gun retailer. Canada requires its citizens to obtain a Possession Acquisition Licence and a restricted or unrestricted firearm license. Extensive background checks are required, which can take up to 28 days. They also must take a safety course and have a third party reference. At any point, a person can be denied. Once a person passes and obtains the correct licenses, they can go to a store to purchase their gun. However, there is a mandatory waiting period before they can take their firearms home.

In the United States, laws for gun purchasing vary from state to state. In most cases, citizens will need to provide ID and fill out form 4473. There is no waiting period for most purchases and many times people can leave the store with their guns on the same day. Background checks are not always required and tend to be less thorough. 

Gun and Ammunition Restrictions

Canada has more restrictions on the types of guns and ammunition that are legal. They limit high capacity magazines and any kind of bump stock. No gun modifications are allowed in Canada. Rounds are limited to 10 at the most. In the USA modifications are allowed. Some states have banned large-capacity ammunition and assault rifles, but the federal law lapsed in 2004. Each state has different gun restrictions, with little federal oversite. 

Gun Ownership

One large difference between owning a gun in Canada verse the USA is when citizens are allowed to carry it. The USA has the right to bear arms written into the Constitution. Some states have open carry laws that require residents to have a special permit, but most do not. In Canada, gun owners must always have their paperwork on them when in possession of their firearms. Those firearms can only be carried when they are on the way to a shooting range. The exception is made for professions that require a gun, such as a police officer.