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 Physically shooting and killing another human being is a relatively easy act: simply go buy a gun, point the open end at the desired target, and pull back on a small piece of metal. In other words, shopping, aiming and squeezing are all that it takes to physically end someone’s life with a gun. However, for most people the mentality necessary to take a human life tends to be less pervasive than owning a gun itself. If in fact killing were so easy, the military would not be forced to spend millions of dollars teaching their soldiers how to mentally cope with taking a human life
 In the movie, Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore attempts to find a reason why Americans are killing each other with guns more than any other nation in the world. Moore uses Canada along with other “First World” countries as a comparative backdrop to discredit various theories on gun violence in relation to the media, unemployment levels, gun ownership and governments’ historical trajectories. By the end of the documentary, Moore proclaims that, “Canada is a gun loving, gun toting, gun crazy country!” (BC Movie) He also asserts that Canadians enjoy the same action movies as US citizens, a popular love for hunting, and even experience a higher level of unemployment than the United States. While Moore utilizes this “gun crazy” image of Canada as a parallel to United States “gun fixation” in order to disprove social theories about high levels of gun violence in the US, he also falsely construes Canadian society. If Moore argues that Canadian are “gun loving,” but less violent, then perhaps the real question is: why aren’t Canadians killing each other with guns if they live in such a “gun crazy country”?

Moore also includes “gun toting” in his depiction of Canadian life despite the fact that carrying a gun in Canada is illegal unless one is equipped with a permit and license. Considering this law, it is arguable that Canada’s restrictions on gun carriers mirror that of the United States. However, if we examine the law more closely it becomes evident that actually acquiring a permit and license is a daunting task. In order to petition for a permit to carry a handgun, one must be either a police officer or prove the need for “self-protection” in which case “the applicant must prove that their life is in danger and the police cannot protect them.” (The Case for Gun Control 4) This is a difficult task and consequently only approximately 50 permits have been issued in the entire country.
As for hunting guns, restrictions are placed on locations and the annual dates in which these guns may be carried. Private property is the only exception where hunting guns are allowed year round. However, Canadian law restricts the ownership and purchasing of rifles to certified, licensed individuals. This entails the completion of a gun safety course with consists of an oral and written exam, a background check and a large fee. Hence, it is only a minority of Canadians that own firearms rather than the “gun toting” masses that Moore depicts.

Canada has always had stronger firearm regulations than the United States, particularly because gun ownership has never been seen as a guaranteed “right” of man. The US, in contrast, actually has this “right” in their Constitution. The difference between these two traditions is that one allows the government to protect its citizens from guns while the other does not because it prioritizes an individual’s right of gun ownership over the protection of life itself. With this firearm regulation, the Canadian government has created strict gun control laws or at least set a strong precedent.

By: Amy Bujacz

 Works Cited: Moore, Michael. Bowling for Columbine. Documentary, 2002. The Case for Gun Control. (Online). http://www.guncontrol.ca. 2001. Gun-death rate drops to new low. (Online) http://209.157.64.200/focus/f news/ 994015/ post . October 1, 2003.              Hardy, David T. Documentary or Fiction. (Online) http://www.hardylaw.net/ Truth_About _Bowling.html Truth_About _Bowling.html. April 2003.      Bowling For Columbine. (Online) http://bowlingforcolumbine.com. 2002. Canada vs. United States: Unemployment Rates. (Online) http://www.ez-essays.com/free/747.html. 2002

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