Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Canadian PM Trudeau Orders Nationwide Handgun Market Freeze

Washington, DC – On October 21, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered a nationwide freeze on selling, purchasing, and transferring new handguns. Under this immediate action taken by the Canadian government, people cannot buy, sell or transfer guns within Canada and are forbidden to bring any new handguns into the country.

“Canadians have the right to feel safe in their homes, in their schools, and in their places of worship. With handgun violence increasing across Canada, it is our duty to take urgent action to remove these deadly weapons from our communities,” said Trudeau in the announcement. “Today, we’re keeping more guns out of our communities, and keeping our kids safe.”

The federal handgun freeze was introduced in May 2022 alongside Bill C-21, which the Government of Canada said is one of the most robust gun control measures in over 40 years. The bill proposes to revoke the firearms license of those involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, continuing to fight gun smuggling and trafficking. In addition, it also suggests providing more tools to law enforcement to investigate firearms crime.

The Government of Canada, in the announcement, said there are 70 percent more handguns in Canada than in 2010. Since 2016, the Canadian government has prioritized gun control laws and has invested $1 billion to address gun violence and misuse of guns by gangs and criminals. Canada has already expanded its background check and banned over 1500 assault-style firearms to ensure public safety. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) seized a record number of guns at the border in 2021.

The Hon. Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, said, “Our government is taking Canada’s most significant action on gun violence in a generation. We made a commitment to Canadians that we would act – and we are. The national freeze will tackle the alarming role of handguns in crime, gender-based violence, and more. We are using all tools at our disposal to fight gun violence and will not rest until all Canadians feel safe in their communities.”

The immediate action by the government also has some limited exemptions to secure handguns. Shooting sports athletes and others who carry handguns as a lawful profession, authorized businesses such as gunsmiths, the film industry, or museums, per their license conditions, are exempted from the nationwide freeze. It will also process the applications received before October 21, 2022, to buy, sell or transfer guns within Canada if it aligns with the exemption conditions.

While Canada has a strict gun control law and has experienced fewer cases of gun violence than the United States, the government’s measures make a difference and ensure safer surroundings for people.

Author profile
Apurva Minchekar
Journalism Intern

Apurva is a Journalism Graduate Student at Boston University, and GSV's 2022 Journalism Intern, 

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