© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during an interview with Reuters, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine May 8, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday his government was introducing new legislation to implement a “national freeze” on handgun ownership and stop people from buying and selling guns punches all over the country.
“The day this legislation takes effect, it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns into Canada,” Trudeau told reporters.
If passed, the handgun freeze is expected to come into effect in the fall. Canada’s Minister of Public Safety has tabled regulatory amendments in Parliament to ensure its rapid implementation, according to a statement from the ministry.
The murder last week of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas in the United States has fueled concerns about gun violence around the world. Canada already has much stricter restrictions on gun ownership than its neighbor to the south.
Canada banned the sale and use of some 1,500 models of assault weapons, such as the AR-15 rifle, two years ago. Speaking alongside Trudeau, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino confirmed the “imminent launch of the initial phase” of a program to buy back and compensate owners of such weapons.
The new law, Bill C-21, also proposes to revoke the firearms licenses of those involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, such as stalking.
The legislation proposes tougher sentences for smugglers and gun traffickers, and aims to provide law enforcement with new tools like wiretapping to stop gun crime, Mendicino said.
The government will also require long-gun magazines to be permanently modified so they can never hold more than five rounds, and ban the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines.
“Other than the use of firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada needs firearms in their daily lives,” Trudeau told reporters during of a press briefing.
The firearm homicide rate in Canada is 0.5 per 100,000 population, compared to 4.12 in the United States, according to a 2021 analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. .