Canada is introducing a bill that would ban the sale of handguns, less than a week after 19 children and two teachers were killed in a school shooting in Texas.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
“The day this legislation goes into effect it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns in Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters.
If passed, the “national freeze” on handgun ownership is expected to take effect in the autumn.
Canada already has much tougher gun ownership restrictions than the US, but the killings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, have sparked concerns about gun violence worldwide.
The type of gun used in the attack, the AR-15 rifle, was banned from being used or sold in Canada two years ago, along with about 1,500 other models of assault weapons.
Speaking alongside Mr Trudeau, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said a mandatory programme to buy back and compensate owners of such weapons would be launched soon.
The new legislation, Bill C-21, proposes that those involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, such as stalking, should have their firearms licences revoked.
Stricter sentences would be implemented for gun smugglers and traffickers, and law enforcement would have access to tools like wiretapping to stop gun crime.
The law will also require long-gun magazines to be permanently altered so they can never hold more than five rounds. Large capacity magazines will be banned from being sold or transferred.
“Other than using firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada should need guns in their everyday lives,” Mr Trudeau said.
The number of registered handguns in Canada increased by 71% to 1.1 million between 2010 and 2020, according to Mr Trudeau’s office.
Handguns were the most serious weapon present in the majority of firearm-related violent crimes between 2009 and 2020, accounting for 59% of those crimes.