MANY GUNS ARE THERE IN CANADA?
Garry Breitkreuz, MP – December 13, 2001
below is the best data available with respect to the number of firearms in
“The records in this Section now
show that 1,727,868 rifles and shotguns have been registered since the
requirements of the Defence of Canada Regulations made this necessary. In the Revolvers and Pistols Unit a total of 222,053
weapons have been similarly recorded.” [Page
Number of Registered Firearms in 1945 = 1,949,921
One company alone, Cooey Firearms reportedly manufactured about 6 million guns
in Canada between the 1920s and the 1970s.
the December 1922 issue of Rod and Gun in Canada, a Cooey ad stated, “Over
6,000 Canadians purchased Cooey Canucks during the past twelve months.” In John Belton’s book, Cooey Firearms Made in Canada
1999-1979 [Page 4] calculated: “Simple mathematics provides us with a
production figure of about 20 arms per diem.”
Mr. Belton goes on to write: “In April 1961, H.W. Cooey Machine and
Arms Company Limited was sold to the Olin-Mathieson Ltd. of St. Laurent, Quebec
and became a division of Winchester-Western (Canada) Ltd.”
As a result of the take over of Cooey by Winchester-Western, “…new
production lines were equipped with the most up-to-date automated German
equipment which was to provide for some 2,000 guns per day” Mr. Belton
reported. [Page 6] NOTE:
The above production figures were confirmed by Mr. Ernie Barriage, Sales
Manager, for Savage Arms (Canada) Inc. in Lakefield, Ontario who worked with a
number of former Cooey employees.
Statistics Canada has no records on the number of firearms manufactured in
Canada – only the number of firearms imported and exported after 1962.
(1) Personal communications with Canadian Shooting Sports Association, Savage
Arms (Canada) Inc. and Statistics Canada, and (2) Cooey Firearms Made In Canada
1919-1979 by John A. Belton published in 1992.
7. Import and Export of Non-Military Firearms, 1970-1998 – Number (by type)
Firearms Imports 1970-1998 = 4,974,028
Firearms Exports 1970-1998 = 1,668,506
Firearms Statistics (Updated Tables) Prepared by Kwing Hung, Ph. D., Senior
Statistician, Research and Statistics Division, Department of Justice, March
we use a base import $ value of about $42 per gun, applied to import $ value
between 1945 and 1962 (extrapolated from the period between 1962 and 1971 when
import values and quantities were extremely stable), then I calculate that about
7.9 million guns entered the country between 1945 and 2000. This does not
include the amount added by domestic manufacturers, such as Cooey, who
reportedly produced about six million guns between the 1920s and 1970s.
were 1.95 million firearms registered by the RCMP at the end of 1945. Adding the
non-military gun imports from 1945 to 2000 to this figure yields an estimate of
approx. 9.9 million guns in civilian hands. This is probably conservative since
noncompliance with registration in WWII appears to have been widespread.”
Al Smithies, Research Director, Canadian Shooting Sports Association, November
The number includes a few firearms removed due to reclassification as
antiques and due to rebarreling.
Annual Firearms Reports to the Solicitor General by the RCMP Registrar of
Firearms – 1978 to 2000.
“At the same time, there has been a steady increase in the number of
firearms in Canada. Estimates place
the number at over ten million in 1974, with almost one-quarter million added to
the stock every year. Most of these
firearms are long guns (rifles and shotguns).” [Page 41]
“Finally, registration of each individual long gun was considered as well,
and it appeared to be impractical as well as unduly expensive.” [Page 44]
million firearms + 6,500,000 (250,000/year x 26 years) = 16,500,000 firearms in
Canada in 2001.
1 – FIREARMS STOCK
1(a) Proportional Breakdown of Estimated Total Firearms Stock, 1974
Comment: there are approximately 11 million firearms in Canada. This total is broken down as follows:
Special Bulletin, Statistics of Estimated Gun Ownership and Use in Canada -
Statistics Canada, Justice Statistics Division, May 1977
– 10 MILLION GUNS – 5 MILLION GUN OWNERS – CHIEFS OF POLICE
May 18, 1976 - Testimony of Chief Harold J. Adamson, President, Canadian
Association of Chiefs of Police [Page 50:34]
Adamson: I would say there are 10
Korchinski: Yes, but how many gun owners?
Adamson: It would only be a
guesstimate but I would say 5 million gun owners.
Minutes of the Proceedings and Evidence of the Standing Committee on Justice and
Legal Affairs. Respecting Bill
C-83, Criminal Law Amendment Act (no.1), 1976.
– 3 MILLION GUN OWNERS – 7 MILLION GUNS – JUSTICE MINISTER
assume, for example, as fact, in terms of firearm licences, that the
number of current firearm owners to be licensed is 3 million. We know that there
are 1 million firearms acquisition certificates in place at present. There are
approximately 2 million owners without firearms acquisition certificates in
Minister Allan Rock testifying before the Standing Committee on Justice and
Legal Affairs, April 24, 1995]
“With respect to registration certificates, we assume that the number of
currently owned firearms pre-registered is about 7 million, of which 1.2 million
are restricted firearms, mostly handguns, and 5.8 million are non-restricted,
the long arms.” [Justice Minister Allan Rock testifying before the
Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, April 24, 1995]
“Last year approximately 375,000 firearms came into Canada. Almost all guns
sold here are imported. We do not know where they are or how they got here.
There is no control once they arrive. Registration will enable us to record what
arrives and track it to the point of sale into the hands of a lawful owner.
Registration will enable us to stop the kind of leakage that now occurs, to
reduce the incidence of people illegally selling that which is legally
imported.” [Justice Minister Allan Rock, February 16, 1995 - Hansard Page
estimates regarding the number of guns and gun owners in Canada.
These numbers are being used in the design of the Canadian Firearms
Registration System.” [Page
POINTS: In total, it is estimated that 7 million guns are owned by 3 million
gun owners. About 26% of Canadian
households, or 2.6 million in total contain 2.7 guns each.
The estimated number of gun owning households is based upon the combined
findings of several different surveys.” [Page 449]
FOR DEPARTMENTAL ESTIMATES: According to the 1991 Angus Reid survey, which
was the Department’s largest firearms survey in recent years (involving
100,000 households), 23% of households contain 2.67 guns.
However, several other smaller surveys have yielded household ownership
rates at around 30%, leading to weighted average of 26% (analysis by Sharon
Bowels, Department of Justice Canada, May 9, 1994)” [Page 451]
Department of Justice Access to Information Act response (File # A-1999-0082)
Briefing Note: The Number of Firearms and Firearm Owners in Canada – March 9,
Jurisdictional Results (2003) [by province]
Low End = 7,275,959
High End =
Response to Access to Information Request - RCMP File # 1999ATIP15503 dated
October 24, 2000 – Government spreadsheet dated: October 16, 1996
1998 – 7.4 MILLION FIREARMS – 3.3 MILLION OWNERS
“It is estimated that there are 7.4 million firearms in Canada,
owned by 3.3 million civilian gun owners. Approximately 24% of Canadian
households (or 2.7 million in total) contain one or more firearms.” [Page
“The average number of owners (1.22 owners per household) and firearms (2.71
firearms per household) per gun owning household are based on different
surveys, including Angus Reid (1991, 1998) and Environics (1997). These figures
are used to estimate the number of gun owners and the number of firearms in
Canada.” [Page 2]
“The percentage of Canadian households that own firearms is based on
several  national household surveys conducted on firearms ownership in
Canada (See Table 1 for list of surveys and results).
The Number of gun owning households was derived from the total number of
estimated households in Canada in 1998, based on the 1996 Census conducted by
Statistics Canada (24% x 11.2 million Canadian households = 2.7 million gun
owning households).” [Page 2]
Estimated Number of Firearms Owners, and
Households with Firearms in Canada -
Firearms Research Unit, Canadian Firearms Centre, Department of Justice
- June 1998. NOTE: This document was taken off the CFC website on November 21, 2001.
1998 – BETWEEN 7.2 AND 11 MILLION GUNS IN
CANADA – JUSTICE DEPT.
Key Projections - 3.2.1 Volumetrics
2,400,000 firearms owners
3,100,000 firearms owners
3,800,000 firearms owners
SOURCE: Memorandum of Agreement Respecting the Federal-Provincial Financial Agreement Addressing the Administration of the Firearms Act and Regulations Between The Government of Canada and The Government of the Province of Ontario – APPENDIX ‘A’ SERVICE DELIVERY MODELS, DISCUSSION PAPER (Version #2a) Overview, Analysis & Development of a Baseline Model, Operations Transition Planning, Canadian Firearms Centre, May 19, 1998. NOTE: This Agreement with Ontario was signed by Justice Minister Anne McLellan on December 2, 1999 and by Ontario Solicitor General David Tsubouchi on September 14, 2000