Canada introduces bill to freeze sales and imports of handguns

May 30 2022, 9:24 pm

The Canadian government introduced a new bill today that proposes stricter laws controlling handguns just days after more than a dozen students and a teacher were gunned down in a Texas elementary school.

The proposed legislation would immediately stop the sale, transfer, and import of handguns across the country. It stops short of an outright ban on handguns but would reduce the number of them in legal circulation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the bill a “national freeze” on handgun ownership during a news conference in Ottawa just after 5 pm local time.

“Other than using firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada should need guns in their everyday lives,” Trudeau said. “Canadians are united in wanting to do more to keep communities safe and prevent suicides and gender-based violence.”

“This is about freedom. People should be free to go to school, the supermarket, their place of worship without fear,” Trudeau continued. “Gun violence is a complex problem, but at the end of the day, the math is quite simple: the fewer guns in communities, the safer everyone will be.”

Present at the announcement were survivors of several Canadian mass shootings, including Ecole Polytechnique, the Quebec Mosque shooting, the Danforth shooting, and the Portapique rampage.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendocino called the bill the most significant action on gun violence in a generation.

The bill also includes stiffer sentences for illegally owning a gun and gives more resources to law enforcement to intercept smuggled guns. In addition, it prevents people with a prior or current restraining order from getting a firearms licence. Courts could also suspend gun licences for people deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others.

The proposed legislation needs to be approved in a vote in the House of Commons before it becomes law.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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