Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a proposed freeze on handgun possession in Canada on Monday, effectively banning their import and sale, following recent mass shootings in the United States.
The bill has yet to be passed by parliament, with the ruling Liberals holding only a minority of the seats.
“We are introducing legislation to introduce a national freeze on firearms possession,” Trudeau told a news conference, along with dozens of families and friends of victims of gun violence.
“This means it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import pistols anywhere in Canada,” he said. “In other words, we’re shutting down the pistol market.”
Days after the worst mass shooting in Canada in April 2020 left 23 dead in rural Nova Scotia, the government banned 1,500 types of military-grade or assault-style firearms.
But Trudeau acknowledged Monday that gun violence continues to increase.
The government statistics office reported last week that violent crimes related to firearms account for less than three percent of all violent crimes in Canada.
But since 2009, the number of guns pointed at someone per capita has nearly tripled, while the number of times a gun has been fired with the intent to kill or injure has increased fivefold.
Nearly two-thirds of gun crimes in urban areas involved guns.
Police often point to smuggling from the United States — which is reeling after recent shootings at a Texas school and a New York state grocery store — as the main source of handguns.
Public Safety Secretary Marco Mendicino estimated that there are about a million handguns in this country — considerably more than a decade ago.
Trudeau noted, “People should have the freedom to go to the grocery store, their school or their place of worship without fear. People should be free to go to the park or to a birthday party without worrying about what could happen from a stray bullet.
“Gun violence is a complex problem,” he said. “But at the end of the day, the math is actually very simple: the fewer guns in our communities, the safer everyone will be.”
The proposed law would also strip anyone involved in domestic violence or stalking of their firearms license and take weapons from those deemed a risk to themselves or others, as well as strengthen border security and criminal sanctions for arms trafficking.
It would also ban elongated magazines that can hold more than five bullets.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)