Canada Is Instituting a Handgun 'Freeze'

There will be no more buying, selling, transferring, or importing them
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2022 1:02 AM CDT
Canada to Institute 'Freeze' on Handgun Ownership
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces new gun control legislation in Ottawa, Ontario, on Monday, May 30, 2022.   (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press via AP)

In one of its biggest gun control moves in decades, Canada is planning place a so-called "freeze" or cap on handgun ownership in the country. Thanks to a deal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has with a smaller left-wing party to support the minority Liberal administration and its legislation, the sweeping proposed gun control bill, which has been introduced in Parliament, is likely to pass, the Wall Street Journal reports. "What this means is that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer, or import handguns anywhere in Canada," Trudeau said in announcing the legislation, per CNN. People who already own handguns will be allowed to keep them. Trudeau cited rising gun violence in Canada as the reason for the handgun ban, and also mentioned the recent US mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York.

"Other than using firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada should need guns in their everyday lives," he said. "We need only look south of the border to know that if we do not take action firmly, it gets worse and worse and more difficult to counter." There's a lot more to the bill: Starting at the end of this year, a previously voluntary buyback program for banned semiautomatic weapons will become mandatory. The maximum criminal penalties on gun trafficking and smuggling will be increased, and law enforcement will be given more resources to investigate such crimes. Courts will be allowed to order guns surrendered if their owners are deemed a danger to themselves or others, and authorities will be allowed to seize guns from people convicted of domestic violence or stalking. And long guns will be prohibited from holding more than five rounds at a time. (Read more Canada stories.)

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