1. Firearms and Firearm Owners in Canada

1.4 How Many Firearms are Used in Crime?

Firearm prohibitionists maintain that lawful gun owners "deserve" greater regulation because firearms are more deadly on a "per use" basis, implying that all guns are taken out of storage only to be used in crime, suicides, and accidents [15]. In 1991, there were 296,838 violent crimes in Canada, 1108 suicides by firearm, 66 fatal and 1217 non-fatal firearm accidents, and 29 deaths by firearm resulting from legal intervention and undetermined causes [16]. The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics reports that firearms are used in only 5% of all violent crimes in Canada [17]. Based on the Justice Department's concervative estimate of 6,000,000 guns in the country, and assuming a different firearm for every violent crime, less than 0.3% of the existing gun stock is ever used for violent purposes. Using the higher figure of 21,000,000 drops this percentage to 0.07% [18]. These figures are extremely high as they make no adjustment for the involvement of illegal guns in crime, suicide, or accidental death. On this evidence alone the vast majority of firearms owners possess and use their firearms responsibly, and do not contribute to crime or violent death and injury statistics.
"One popular misconception is that there is a very obvious causal connection here, that we have more gun crimes precisely because we have more guns and that if fewer guns were available, fewer crimes would be committed with them. By the same token, however, the proportion of privately owned firearms that are involved in any sort of criminal activity is on the order of a fraction of 1% of the total, so it is certainly possible that outright confiscation of 99% of all private firearms in the country would still leave the rate of gun crime unaffected, especially were one to assume, not unreasonably, that the criminally abused 1% would be the last weapons affected by any gun policy." [19].

Wright, et al., Under the Gun