Sudbury

How America's gun laws compare to Canada's

As American lawmakers continue to discuss gun control after a series of mass shootings, an assistant manager at a sports adventure store in Sudbury says the weapon of choice being used in the United States is very different than the one available in Canada.
An AR-15 is a restricted weapon in Canada. (Jason Turnbull/CBC)

As American lawmakers continue to discuss gun control after a series of mass shootings, an assistant manager at a sports adventure store in Sudbury says the weapon of choice being used in the United States is very different than the one available in Canada.

On Feb. 14, 17 people were killed by a gunman in a Florida High School. Nikolas Cruz, 1 former 19-year-old student, used an AR-15 rifle. The same weapon was used in a separate shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 where 27 people were killed.

"It's a restricted firearm in Canada," Walter Boeswald, the assistant manager at Ramakko's in Sudbury said.

"There's a lot more restrictions on it in Canada than there would be in the US."

Walter Boeswald is the assistant manager at Ramakko's in Sudbury. (Jason Turnbull/CBC)

Boeswald says to purchase an AR-15 in Canada, you first must obtain a possession and acquisition licence as well as a restricted firearms licence. Once you have that documentation, you can go to a store and purchase a restricted firearm.

"But you don't get to leave with your gun right away," he explained.

It's a totally different market and culture in Canada.- Walter Boeswald, assistant manager at Ramakko's Source for Adventure

"Unlike the U.S. … we do have a bit of waiting period. It can be anywhere up to two weeks. So basically what we do is we send out paperwork or an application on your behalf and basically it requires approval from the CFO, the Chief Firearms Office of Ontario."

He says the CFO will either approve or deny the application. He says no reason is given to the store if the application is denied for privacy reasons.

The AR-15 in the United States has been used in several mass shootings south of the border. The gun is available in Canada. Walter Boeswalk, assistant manager at Ramakko's in Sudbury, outlines how the gun works. 0:57

Once someone has purchased a restricted firearm, Boeswald says there are many rules you must follow, including always having the proper paperwork when you're in possession of the gun and not making any stops between your home and the shooting range, the only place you can legally fire the gun.

"That's the big difference between us versus America," he said.

"We can't just drive around with these restricted weapons."

Boeswald also points out the guns can be modified in the United States but can't in Canada.

"They're a lot different than basically in Canada then they would be in the United States," he said.

More background checks

"We don't have those bump stocks that you're hearing about on the news a lot lately. We don't have 30, 50, 100 round magazine capacity in Canada. We're limited to with an AR, at the very most, 10 rounds. More often than not, it's five round magazines with them."

Boeswald also says Canada's gun laws are federally regulated, something that isn't the case in the United States.

"In the southern U.S. states, you can purchase a pistol without having to go through any sort of background check or any paperwork," he said.

"There's a lot of misconceptions with these guns. Yes, in the U.S., I think personally it's gotten out of hand, in terms of the modifications you can get for it. But it's a totally different market and culture in Canada."

With files from Jason Turnbull