Canada: Canada will prohibit the import of handguns, to try to stop violence

Government to use regulation to ban handgun imports in two weeks

  Government to use regulation to ban handgun imports in two weeks The federal government plans to fast-track a ban on the import of handguns into the country without the approval of Parliament using a regulatory measure that comes into effect in two weeks, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced Friday. The change will last until a permanent freeze is passed in Parliament and comes into force. The government tabled gun control legislation in May that includes a national freeze on the importation, purchase, sale and transfer of handguns in Canada. That law did not pass before Parliament took its summer break and is set to be debated again when MPs return to Ottawa in the fall.

A temporary ban will first be set up, from August 19, before a law in the fall.

  Le Canada va interdire l'importation des armes de poing, pour tenter d'enrayer les violences © provided by Franceinfo

The Canadian government takes measures to try to stop violence by firearms in the country. "I am proud to announce that our government has decided to ban the import of handguns," said Marco Mendicino, the Minister of Public Security, Friday, August 5. In the meantime, a "temporary ban" will be applied from individuals and businesses on August 19, "until the entry into force of national frost". This C-21 bill could enter into force in the fall.

These weapons "have only one goal, kill people," said Marco Mendicino, when traveling to Etobicoke, in the suburbs of Toronto. The Polyssesouvent group, which represents survivors and families of victims of armed violence, praised an "important and innovative measure which will undoubtedly slow the expansion of the Canadian handgun market pending the adoption of the bill".

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For its part, the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights (CCDAF) described this announcement as "new procedural abuse for political purposes". "If the liberal government really wanted to strengthen public security, it would do everything possible to ban the illegal import of handguns into Canada," said Rod Giltaca, CEO of the CCDAF. Instead, the liberals "prohibit Canadians licensed and verified to have legally handguns, which they have been doing for over 100 years in Canada".

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The problem of "ghost firearms"

despite all the measures put in place by Ottawa to try to reduce Armed violence, experts remain skeptical about their effectiveness, pointing to the smuggling of weapons from the United States as the real problem.

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The Canada Border Services Agency (ASFC), moreover, announced on Wednesday two important seizures in the west of the country of "ghost firearms", which do not have a serial number and are difficult to draw. From January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2022, the ASFC in the Pacific region seized 581 firearms at the entrance points and in international postal shipments.

This temporary ban comes after the announcement, in May, of a project to "national gel in the possession of handguns" by the Prime Minister. Justin Trudeau's statement had pushed Canadians to rush into arms stores.

The government estimates that there are more than a million handguns in Canada for a population of 38 million people. Between 2009 and 2021, it was the type of weapon that was the most used during homicides committed with a firearm (57% in 2021). The new measurement occurs in a context of resurgence of these crimes: this week, three homicides were committed in 24 hours in the Montreal region.

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