The estimate of the number of firearms in Canada referred to in the department’s 1976 peace and security paper was produced by Statistics Canada.
With respect to current estimates, the Canadian firearms centre commissioned a third party organization to conduct a survey into this issue and obtained an updated estimate of the number of firearms in Canada in August 2002. A respected market research firm, GPC Research, conducted this survey and the non-partisan public policy forum oversaw and rigorously reviewed its methodology.
In the fall of 2001, GPC Research contacted 21,650 Canadians, achieving a sample size of over 3,000 firearm owners. Based on the results of this study, the number of firearms in Canada was estimated at 7.9 million. The study also confirms that there has been a consolidation in firearm ownership. It shows that the top 3% of firearm owners hold more than one third of all handguns in the country and approximately 15% of all firearms or, on average, 15.5 firearms per owner. For the remainder of the firearm-owning population, the mean number of firearms owned is 2.74.
This survey has a margin of error of ±2.06% at the national level, with a 95% confidence level.