Gun-related politics are constantly in the news in the United States. The Aurora theatre shooting, the Sandy Hooke Elementary shooting in Newtown, and the Washington Navy Yard shooting are a few incidents that have received a lot of recent attention from the media. The reality is that almost every day, there is a new gun-related fatality or injury in America, even if it is not widely broadcast on CNN.
War and violence are no stranger to America, a country founded on the basis of a war for independence from Britain. Guns are largely regarded as a symbol of strength, dominance and freedom. Many Americans take a lot of pride in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, protecting the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. In the U.S., it is completely acceptable to own a gun for personal protection. In Canada, you cannot buy a gun for this reason.
In a number of U.S. states, acquiring a gun can be almost immediate and as simple as providing a driver’s license ID. In Canada, guns must be registered, the owner will undergo background checks and must take a course, and it can take up to 60 days to obtain a firearm.
Common sense dictates that the ease of purchasing firearms increases the likelihood that they will fall into the wrong hands. Perhaps the U.S. would be better off if it followed Canada’s gun registration and background check policies. However, due to widespread opinion in the U.S. that it is a fundamental right to possess such weapons for protection, it is unlikely that gun policy in America will change anytime soon.