Canadians lost their right to protect themselves and their families on Friday, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the ban on the sale, purchase, or transfer of handguns has gone into effect.
“When people are being killed, when people are being hurt, responsible leadership requires us to act,” Trudeau said at a press conference. “Recently again, we have seen too many examples of horrific tragedies involving firearms.”
The ban on handguns was passed by Parliament in May but was just now enacted. Lawmakers in Parliament are still debating the passage of a separate bill that has even more restrictions on guns, including enhancements to “red flag laws,” giving the government more avenues to seize guns from anyone who authorities deem to be dangerous. The proposed law has numerous other curbs on guns, ammunition, and licensing, and bans of alterations of cartridge magazines.
The law is partly a response to an April 2020 mass shooting that resulted in 13 deaths in Portapique and related communities in Nova Scotia. That incident was a 13-hour rampage, the deadliest mass shooting in Canada history; the assailant, driving a fake police car, also killed nine others in a fire he set. The new ban is also a response to the Uvalde, Texas shooting at an elementary school earlier this year.
Canada had already placed bans on 1,500 different types and brands of guns, with legislation from 2020.
“The national handgun freeze is part of the government’s comprehensive plan to tackle gun violence. We have already banned over 1,500 types of assault-style firearms and have strengthened our gun control laws to expand background checks. Bill C-21 proposes further measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands like revoking the firearms licences of those involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, continuing to fight gun smuggling and trafficking, and providing law enforcement more tools to investigate firearms crimes,” the Trudeau government reported.
“We will continue to do whatever it takes to keep guns out of our communities and build a safer country, for everyone,” the Trudeau government wrote.
Canada’s gun homicide rate is less than one-fifth the U.S. rate, but has been rising, according to the Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Standards. Canada has 70 percent more handguns in 2022 than it did in 2010.
“Firearm-related violent crime represents a small proportion of police-reported violent crime in Canada, accounting for 2.8% of all victims of violent crime reported by police in 2020,” the agency reported.
More details on the crackdown are at this Canada government announcement.