Canada has made the sale of handguns illegal under a sweeping new bill introduced Monday in Ottawa following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Flanked by government officials and lawyers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a “national freeze” on firearms in the country, citing rising homicides in Canada and alluding to recent mass shootings south of the border.
“It will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada. In other words, we’re limiting the handgun market,” Trudeau said.
“People should be free to go to the supermarket, to their school or to their place of worship without fear.”
It is all but certain that the law will be approved by Canada’s Parliament and is expected to be passed this fall. The country has already unveiled plans to ban 1,500 types of military-style firearms and introduce a mandatory buyback program for high-powered weapons.
Trudeau has long said that tackling gun violence in the country is a political priority, but his new legislation came less than a week after the Robb Elementary School shooting and shortly after a killing spree at a Buffalo convenience store near the Ontario border.
“In Canada, gun ownership is a privilege, not a right,” said Bill Blair, Secretary of State for Emergency Preparedness.
“This is a principle that sets us apart from many other countries in the world, especially our colleagues and friends in the South. In Canada, guns are for hunting and sporting purposes only.”
Under the law, US gun smugglers would face tougher criminal penalties and authorities would have more power to crack down on guns that cross the border.
Those convicted of domestic violence or criminal harassment would also lose their gun licenses, and a “red flag” provision would require those deemed a danger by the court system to surrender their guns. Rifle magazines would have to be permanently changed to keep a maximum of five rounds under the bill.
“These are actions that doctors, experts and police chiefs have been calling for for years, and we are acting on their advice,” Trudeau said.
Canada’s homicide rate had skyrocketed in recent years, with 743 homicides in 2020 — the most since 1991, according to government statistics. That same year, a mass shooting spree in Nova Scotia killed 22 people.
Tuesday’s tragedy in Texas prompted President Biden to urge US lawmakers to take action on gun control reform.
“As a nation, we have to ask ourselves when in God’s name are we going to take a stand against the gun lobby? When in God’s name are we going to do what we all know needs to be done?” Biden said last week.
With AP wires
https://nypost.com/2022/05/30/canada-moves-to-ban-sale-of-handguns-in-sweeping-bill/ Canada wants to ban the sale of handguns in a comprehensive bill