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While Canada still considers the United States the lowest risk level a country can have, it updated its advisory page on May 26, 2023 with new information about the country’s widespread gun violence, warning travelers to be vigilant and review what to do in the case they get caught in the fire.
“The rate of firearm possession in the US is high. It’s legal in many states for US citizens to openly carry firearms in public,” said the warning. “Incidences of mass shootings occur, resulting most often in casualties. Although tourists are rarely involved, there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Familiarize yourself on how to respond to an active shooter situation.”
The United States’ northern neighbor shares many similarities with the U.S., but the rate of gun violence is not one of them.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 274 shootings in the United States in 2023 alone, while guns in total have been used to kill 18,317 people this year. While Canada isn’t immune to gun violence, its own numbers pale in comparison.
The BBC’s statistics on American gun violence showcase how much higher the numbers are compared to others. Over 80 percent of all homicides in the nation are conducted by guns — Canada’s number is half that. Americans own the most guns in the world — Canada ranks sixth.
This isn’t the first time that a country has warned its travelers about gun violence in America: in mid-May, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand and Venezuela all updated their country-specific travel advisories with warnings about American mass shootings.
Gun violence in the United States could potentially have greater implications upon the international tourism industry, potentially discouraging travelers who worry about gun violence.
“The issue is obviously one that is heartbreaking for and gut-wrenching for many Americans; one that many of us struggle with,” said Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of U.S. Travel, responding to a journalist's question on gun violence at the IPW event, held in late May. “I guess what I would say about it is that public safety and travel go hand in hand. There is no way to increase travel if people have concerns about public safety. So, one way or another, if our goal is to strengthen travel. If our goal is to strengthen the economy, in one way or another we need to find solutions to public safety problems that give people confidence. Those are discussions we’re having—those are discussions we will continue to have.”
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Lacey Pfalz is a freelance Associate Writer for TravelPulse. When she's not writing about traveling, she's often found fussing...
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