Canada will ban the import of handguns

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TORONTO — The Canadian government will ban importing firearms into the country, officials said on Friday, the latest in a series of gun control measures under Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Because the vast majority of handguns in Canada are imported, the ban effectively limits the number of such weapons already in the country to the current level without banning them outright.

The move, announced by Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino and Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, follows a bill introduced by the government in May to implement a “national freeze” on the purchase, import, sale and transfer of firearms.

The regulatory measure announced Friday allows the government to impose such a freeze without waiting for Parliament, which is in a summer recess until September, to pass such legislation. It is expected to go into effect in two weeks, narrowing the window for gun stores to stockpile merchandise.

Local media have reported that firearms sales have soared since the Trudeau government announced the freeze, prompting some lawmakers to raise concerns about a run on firearms by legal gun owners. looking to stock up before the legislation is passed.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new gun control legislation on May 30 that would put a “national freeze” on the import, purchase or sale of firearms. (Video: Reuters)

Gun control enjoys broad support here. But critics say the focus on limiting gun ownership unfairly targets law-abiding owners and does little to address the root problem: Guns are illegally smuggled across the border.

Toronto’s police chief said in November that about 80 percent of the firearms involved in gun violence in Canada’s most populous city come from the United States, which he noted has a significant gun culture, for which is a “very difficult” problem to tackle.

Canada vows to ‘freeze’ firearms sales and buy back assault weapons

“The biggest problem we have in the city is the volume of guns coming across the border,” Chief James Ramer said.

The legislation introduced in May, known as C-21, also includes “red flag” laws that would allow judges to temporarily remove firearms from people deemed a danger to themselves or others, withdraw licenses weapons of people who have committed domestic crimes. violence and harsher penalties for arms smuggling and trafficking.

Both the legislation and the ban include exemptions for those, such as armed security guards, who have a Carry Clearance as part of their job, those who have a Carry Clearance for protection, and high-performance sport shooting athletes and coaches. authorized.

Canada imported more than $28.2 million worth of revolvers and pistols in 2021, according to government data, with nearly two-thirds of that volume coming from the United States. Total imports were up 7.7% from a year earlier, but down from a recent peak of $34.7 million in 2018.

Canadian trauma surgeons called for gun control. Armed groups had an NRA-style response.

Mass shootings are relatively rare here compared to the United States, but the firearm-related homicide rate has increased since 2013, according to data from Statistics Canada.

The government statistics agency reported that more than 60 percent of violent gun-related crime in urban centers in 2020 involved firearms. But he also said there were “many gaps” and limitations in the data, including on the “source of firearms used in crime” and “whether a gun used in crime was stolen, illegally purchased or smuggled into the country”. Neither province requires investigators to submit weapons used in crimes for tracing.

The Canada Border Services Agency said it seized 1,203 firearms between 2021 and 2022. In May, a Yorkshire terrier named Pepper foiled an attempt to smuggle 11 guns across the border from Michigan to Ontario using a six-speed drone. rotors.

Some 2.2 million people in Canada own licensed firearms, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported in 2020, and more than 1.1 million firearms are registered.

Canada Announces Immediate Ban on ‘Military Grade’ Assault Weapons

The Trudeau government promised tougher gun control measures during last year’s federal election campaign.

In 2020, Trudeau announced a ban on 1,500 makes and models of “military-style assault weapons,” after a gunman posing as a police officer rampaged through Nova Scotia over two weekend days, setting structures on fire. and killing 22 people, including a Royal Canadian Mounted. Police officer in Canada’s deadliest mass shooting.

Last week, the administration outlined how much it proposes to compensate gun owners who turn in those weapons under a mandatory buyback program.

During hearings in a public inquiry this year into the “causes, context and circumstances” of the Nova Scotia attack, evidence was presented about the origin of the shooter’s large cache of weapons.

Gabriel Wortman, a dentist, did not possess a firearms license and obtained his weapons illegally. The commission heard that there were “two and potentially three” cases in which the police received information about their access to firearms. Little, if anything, was done, according to testimonies.

Gunman rampages through Nova Scotia in Canada’s deadliest mass shooting

Several of the guns were tracked down and shipped to gun stores in Maine. A friend there told police Wortman took one or more of the guns without his knowledge or permission, while giving the shooter a Ruger P89 “as a token of gratitude” for his help with “tree removal and other work.” occasionally at your residence. ”

An AR-15 came from a gun store in California, but Wortman first saw it at a gun show in Maine and someone else bought it for him. Witnesses told police after the shooting that Wortman would disassemble the firearms and roll them into the payload cover of his truck to smuggle them across the border.

Wortman was shot and killed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police at a duty station in Enfield, Nova Scotia, ending his rampage. Police have not charged any of the people who helped him obtain the weapons, including those who may have broken US law.

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