Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduces new law to freeze handgun market

TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government introduced legislation on Monday that would put a freeze on the import, purchase or sale of handguns.

“We are capping the number of handguns in this country,” Trudeau said.

Regulations to curb the growth of personal handguns are expected to be enacted this fall.

“It will be illegal to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” the Prime Minister said. The families of the shooting victims joined him at a press conference in Ottawa.

Canada has already planned to ban 1,500 types of military-style firearms and offer a mandatory buy-back program that will begin at the end of the year. Trudeau said if anyone really wanted to keep their assault weapon, it would become completely unusable.

Canada has already expanded background checks.

Trudeau has long considered enacting tougher gun laws, but the new measure’s introduction comes after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, this month -this.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino called the legislation the most important step Canada has taken in a generation.

“Countries that are successful in controlling guns are successful in controlling gun violence,” Mendicino said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Bill Blair, Minister of Emergency Preparedness, said Canada is very different from the United States.

“In Canada, owning a firearm is a privilege, not a right,” Blair said. “It is a principle that differentiates us from many other countries in the world, especially our colleagues and friends in the south.”

Canada has had far fewer mass shootings than the United States, in part due to a lack of easy access to firearms, although the American population is also much larger than Canada’s.

Blair noted that firearms are often smuggled in from the United States, which he noted has one of the largest arsenals of small arms in the world.

The government plans to tackle gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties, providing more tools to investigate gun crimes and strengthening border measures. Trudeau said the increased funding has already helped border officials double the amount of contraband weapons confiscated at the U.S. border.

The government also said the bill would also allow firearms licenses to be revoked for those involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, such as stalking.

The bill would create a new “red flag” law allowing courts to order people deemed a danger to themselves or others to turn in their firearms to police. The government said the measure would protect the safety of those applying throughout the process, often women at risk of domestic violence, by protecting their identity.

The government has said it will require rifle magazines to be permanently modified so that they can never hold more than five rounds and will ban the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines under the Criminal Code. .

“Canada can teach us a lot,” tweeted Bruce Heyman, former US ambassador to Canada during the Obama administration.

Trudeau said his government recognizes that the vast majority of Canadians who own guns are responsible, but that the level of gun violence is unacceptable. Mendicino said they were aware the announcement could lead to a rush to buy guns before the law is enacted and urged parliament to pass it as soon as possible.

The new measures are guaranteed to pass in the Canadian Parliament, as the ruling Liberals and the left-wing opposition New Democrats have enough votes.

Pierre Poilievre, who is running for leader of the Conservative Party, said law-abiding gun owners should be respected and dangerous criminals should be jailed.

“Other than the use of firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada needs firearms in their daily lives,” Trudeau said. “We need less gun violence.

“We can’t let the gun debate become so polarized that nothing is done. We can’t let this happen in our country. It’s about freedom. People should be free to go to the supermarket , school or place of worship without fear.”

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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