Fact-checking Michael Moore: Does Canada have more guns per capita than the US?
After the mass shooting at the University of California in Santa Barbara on May 23, filmmaker Michael Moore posted a message on Facebook repeating some of the points he made in his 2002 film Bowling For Columbine.
“The gun, not the eagle, is our true national symbol,” Moore wrote.
But did Moore get his facts right?
Moore said the U.S. is armed with a quarter of a billion guns and argued that even though Canada has more per capita — “mostly hunting guns” — it has far less gun violence.
He’s partly right.
There are an estimated 270 million firearms in the U.S., according to the independent research project called ‘Small Arms Survey.’ That’s 89 firearms per 100 residents, making the U.S. the No. 1 country for gun ownership.
Canada, on the other hand, ranks 13th on the study’s list, with 9.95 million firearms — or 31 per 100 residents.
Moore is right that Canada has a far lower rate of firearm homicides than its neighbour to the south.
According to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 11,000 homicides were committed using firearms in the U.S. in 2011. Statistics Canada reports in the same year Canada had 158 homicides committed using firearms.
Moore wrote: “No one even comes close to killing as many of its own citizens on a daily basis as we do.”
This is not true.
While the U.S. does have a homicide rate nearly double that of most developed countries like Canada, it doesn’t have the world’s highest homicide rate. With 6.4 homicides per 100 thousand people, the U.S. falls behind countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
Moore stated: “Nearly all of our mass shootings are by angry or disturbed white males.”
This is true.
In the last 30 years, only one of at least 70 mass shootings in the U.S. has been committed by a woman.
In 2006, Jennifer Sanmarco killed her former neighbour before driving to the mail processing plant where she used to work and fatally shot six employees before committing suicide, Mother Jones reports.
Moore insisted 90 per cent of Americans are calling for stronger gun laws.
He appears to be referring to results of a Quinnipiac University telephone poll which found more than 90 per cent of U.S. voters support background checks for all gun buyers. The study was released in February 2013, shortly after the Newtown, CT shooting that killed 20 children and six adults.
“Enjoy the rest of your day,” Moore concluded, “and rest assured this will all happen again very soon.”
This, sadly, is likely true.
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