1992 volume 10(2) pages 189 – 209
doi:10.1068/c100189

Cite as:
Mauser G A, Margolis M, 1992, "The politics of gun control: comparing Canadian and American patterns" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 10(2) 189 – 209

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The politics of gun control: comparing Canadian and American patterns

G A Mauser, M Margolis

Received 11 July 1991; in revised form 19 February 1992

Abstract. In this paper two questions are asked: to what extent do the Canadian and US publics differ in their beliefs about firearms-control legislation, and to what extent do these differences help to account for the stricter firearms legislation found in Canada? Surveys indicate that Canadians and Americans have remarkably similar attitudes towards firearms and gun control. Linear regression is used to analyze the factors that underlie the popular support for (or opposition to) stricter gun-control legislation. It is found that, with respect to support for gun control, cultural differences between Canadians and Americans are overshadowed by socioeconomic variables, such as gender and gun ownership.

The similarities in public attitudes between Canadians and Americans suggest that the explanation for stricter firearms legislation in Canada lies more with the differences in political elites and institutions than with differences in public opinion. The differences in public attitudes in the two countries are insufficient to explain the stark contrast in firearms legislation.

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