Following recent mass shootings in the United States, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recommended a freeze on handgun ownership in Canada, essentially prohibiting their importation and sale.
The law still needs to be enacted by Parliament, despite the fact that the ruling Liberals only have a minority of members.
“We’re presenting legislation to enact a nationwide firearm ownership freeze,” Trudeau said at a press conference attended by dozens of victims’ families and friends.
“What this implies is that handguns will no longer be available for purchase, sale, transfer, or import anywhere in Canada,” he explained. “In other words, we’re putting a limit on the number of handguns on the market.”
The government outlawed 1,500 types of military-grade or assault-style rifles only days after Canada’s worst mass shooting, which left 23 people dead in rural Nova Scotia in April 2020.
However, Trudeau said on Monday that gun violence is on the rise.
Last Thursday, the federal statistics office estimated that violent crimes using weapons account for fewer than 3% of all violent crimes in Canada.
However, since 2009, the per capita rate of weapons aimed at someone has nearly quadrupled, while the rate of guns discharged with the intent to kill or hurt has increased by fivefold.
Handguns were used in nearly two-thirds of gun crimes in metropolitan areas.
The biggest source of handguns, according to police, is smuggling from the United States, which is suffering from recent massacres at a school in Texas and a supermarket in New York state.
According to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, there are around one million pistols in the country, a huge increase from a decade earlier.
“People should be able to go to the store, their school, or their place of worship without fear,” Trudeau said. People should be able to go to the park or to a birthday celebration without fear of being hit by a stray gunshot.