A gunman fatally shot a soldier in Ottawa Wednesday before being shot and killed himself. Authorities believe the man was Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian convert to Islam, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. The Globe and Mail reported that Zehaf-Bibeau had been denied a passport, as authorities were worried he would join violent extremists abroad, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the attack a "terrorist" act.

The incident shocked many Canadians. Compared to the United States, gun violence is rare in Canada, with it occurring about 7 times less often than in the U.S., according to Statistics Canada, a government agency. Still, though, there are many more gun homicides in Canada than in many other developed countries.

There were 1,092 violent crimes committed per 100,000 Canadians last year, according to the agency. About half of those crimes were threats or assaults involving little or no physical harm. By comparison, the U.S. violent crime rate reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation was 387 per 100,000 people, a figure that excludes threats and simple assaults.

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The overall Canadian homicide rate was 1.44 per 100,000, significantly less than the U.S. rate of 4.7 per 100,000. Crime rates in Canada have been falling, as they have done here.

Assault rifles, automatic weapons, and sawed-off shotguns are banned in Canada, and those who own guns have to apply for a license. There are about 30 guns in Canada for every 100 people, which is similar to the number of weapons in Germany, France and the Scandinavian countries.

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