Profiting from gunsBy John Longhurst
A Canadian gets to the U.S. border and is asked by the border guard if he is carrying any guns.
“Of course not!” the Canadian replies, surprised and slightly offended.
The American border guard hands the Canadian his gun and says: “Well, you better take mine — you’ll need it down here.”
That old joke is partly funny and partly sad — and partly explains the way Canadians view the U.S. when it comes to the subject of guns.
Although Canadians and Americans are similar on many things, one area where we differ greatly is guns. Canadians simply don’t feel the same way about them that many Americans do.
For starters, we have fewer guns per capita than our neighbors to the south: 23.8 per 100 in this country versus 89 per 100 in the U.S. (Great Britain, as a point of comparison, has only six per 100, leading one commentator to quip that if the purpose of the Second Amendment was to protect America from British invasion, you’ve pretty much got that one covered.)
Although we do have a lot of guns, most of them are rifles used for hunting. Handguns are prohibited or highly restricted.
Which isn’t to say that we don’t experience violence in Canada — ever seen a hockey game? In 2011, there were 598 homicides in Canada, a murder rate of 1.73 per 100,000 people, compared to 12,664 murders, or 4.7 per 100,000, in the U.S. that same year.
The main difference is that the majority of the murders in Canada were stabbings, while 8,583 homicides in the U.S. were due to guns.
But this is not another smug column by a Canadian about violence in America. In fact, the number of guns in Canada is rising, and the murder rate rose 7 percent in 2011. (That same year the murder rate in the U.S. was at its lowest point in almost 50 years.)
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