As compared with Americans, Canadians in the 1970s possessed one tenth as many handguns per capita. To assess whether this affected the total criminal homicide rate, the mean annual criminal homicide rates of Canadian provinces were compared with those of adjoining US states for the period of 1976 to 1980. No consistent differences were observed; criminal homicide rates were sometimes higher in the Canadian province, and sometimes higher in the adjoining US state. Major differences in the prevalence of handguns have not resulted in differing total criminal homicide rates in Canadian provinces and adjoining US states. The similar rates of criminal homicide are primarily attributable to underlying similar rates of aggravated assault.
Comment In: Am J Epidemiol. 1991 Dec 1;134(11):1261-3; discussion 1264-51755440