Canadian PM announces bill to cap handgun market

New York: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a proposed freeze on handgun ownership in Canada that would effectively ban their importation and sale, following recent mass shootings in the United States.

The bill must still be passed by Parliament, with the ruling Liberals holding only a minority of seats.

“We’re introducing legislation to implement a national freeze on handgun ownership,” Trudeau told a news conference, joined by dozens of families and friends of victims of gun violence.

“What this means is that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” he said. “In other words, we’re capping the market for handguns.”

Days after Canada’s worst mass shooting left 23 dead in rural Nova Scotia in April 2020, the government banned 1,500 types of military-grade or assault-style firearms.

But Trudeau acknowledged that gun violence continues to rise. The government statistical agency reported last week that firearms-related violent crimes account for less than three percent of all violent crimes in Canada.

Almost two-thirds of gun crimes in urban areas involved handguns. Police often point to smuggling from the United States — which is reeling from recent shootings at a school in Texas and at a supermarket in New York State — as the main source of handguns.

Trudeau commented, “People should be free to go to the supermarket, 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 might happen from a stray bullet.

The proposed law would also strip anyone involved in domestic violence or stalking of their firearms license, take away guns from those deemed to be a risk to themselves or others, as well as strengthen border security and criminal penalties for gun trafficking.

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