Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that his government will introduce new legislation to implement a ‘national freeze’ on handgun ownership and prevent people from buying and selling handguns anywhere in the country.
‘The day this legislation goes into effect it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns in Canada,’ Trudeau told reporters on Monday, May 30.
The handgun freeze would contain exceptions, including for elite sport shooters, Olympic athletes, and security guards. Canadians who already own handguns would be allowed to keep them.
The new laws would also ban some toys that look like real guns, such as airsoft rifles. Last week Toronto police shot and killed a man carrying a pellet gun.
“Because they look the same as real firearms, police need to treat them as if they are real. This has led to tragic consequences,” Justice Minister David Lametti told reporters.
Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Association, welcomed some of the moves, such as the “red flag” provisions in the case of domestic violence, and said he would like more information on enforcement and resources for measures such as the handgun freeze.
He completely supported a crackdown on fake guns, which he said were a “big challenge.”
“You cannot distinguish between what’s a replica firearm and what’s a real firearm, particularly when these incidences involving replica firearms occur often in very dynamic, quickly evolving circumstances.”
If passed, the freeze on handguns is expected to come into force in the autumn.
Canada’s public safety minister has tabled regulatory amendments in parliament to ensure it can be implemented swiftly, according to a ministry statement.
This comes after the last week’s killing of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas has fed concern about gun violence worldwide.
In 2020, Canada banned the sale and use of some 1,500 models of assault weapons, like the AR-15 rifle in the wake of a mass shooting in Portapique, Nova Scotia, a move some firearms owners say they are contesting in court.