Canada moved to make handgun sales illegal under a sweeping new bill introduced Monday in Ottawa, in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas school shooting.
Surrounded by government officials and advocates, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a “national freeze” on firearms in the country as he referenced rising killings in Canada and pointed to recent mass shootings south of the border.
“It will not be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada. In other words, we are limiting the market for handguns,” Trudeau said.
“People should be free to go to the supermarket, their school or the place of worship without any fear.”
The law is assured to be approved by the Parliament of Canada, and is expected to go into effect this fall. The country has already unveiled plans to ban 1,500 types of military-style firearms and implement a mandatory buyback program of high-capacity weapons.
Trudeau has long said that stopping gun violence in the country was a political priority, but his new law comes less than a week after the Rob Elementary School shooting and immediately after a stampede at a Buffalo supermarket near the Ontario border. came later.
“In Canada, gun ownership is a privilege, not a right,” said Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair.
“It’s a principle that sets itself apart from many other countries in the world, especially our allies and friends in the South. In Canada, guns are only used for hunting and sporting purposes.”
Under the law, US gun smugglers would be hit with stronger criminal penalties and officials would have more resources to crack down on guns making their way across the border.
People convicted of domestic violence or criminal assault will also lose their gun licenses and a “red flag” provision for people to surrender their weapons will be considered threatened by the court system. Under the bill rifle magazines would have to be permanently replaced to hold a maximum of five rounds.
“These are tasks that doctors, experts and police chiefs have been calling for years, and we are acting on their advice,” Trudeau said.
Canada had an increase in the homicide rate in recent years with 743 homicides in 2020 – the highest since 1991, according to government figures. In the same year, 22 people were killed in a mass shooting in Nova Scotia.
Tuesday’s tragedy in Texas prompted President Biden to call on US lawmakers to act on gun control reform.
“As a nation, we have to ask, when will we stand up to the gun lobby in the name of God? When we do what in the name of God we all know what needs to be done in our belly? Biden said last week.
with ap wires