Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pushing new legislation aimed at placing a complete “freeze on handgun ownership” throughout the entire country.
“We are capping the number of handguns in this country,” Trudeau declared on Monday, according to NPR.
Trudeau, who already successfully banned over 1,500 types of “military-style assault firearms” in 2020, declared in a press release on Monday that Bill C-21 “puts forward some of the strongest gun control measures in over 40 years.”
The legislation would ban Canadians from “bringing newly acquired handguns” into the country, and would also outlaw “buying, selling, and transferring handguns within the country,” Trudeau said.
Although the freeze would not directly ban the ownership of firearms, it would make it illegal to buy them or transfer them to others.
“What this means is that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” he said during a press conference on Monday, according to FOX News.
“We recognize that the vast majority of gun owners use them safely and in accordance with the law, but other than using firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada should need guns in their everyday lives,” the Canadian Prime Minister determined.
Trudeau said the government and society have “a responsibility to act to prevent more tragedies,” according to The New York Times.
In addition to the handgun freeze, the Canadian government said it will also require rifle magazines to be “permanently altered” to hold no more than five rounds, according to the press release.
The sale or transfer of “large capacity magazines” will be illegal, he added.
Canadian Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino said that if the bill passes, the government’s mandatory buyback program for “assault-style weapons” will go into effect by the end of the year, FOX News reported.
“The first AR-15s and other assault style firearms will start to be bought back by the end of this year,” Mendicino told reporters on Monday. “It’s going to be hard, but we’re going to get it done.”
The bill also calls for offenders “involved” in cases of criminal harassment or domestic violence to be stripped of their firearms licenses, and for increased criminal penalties for gun trafficking and smuggling cases, according to the press release.
The bill would further create a new “red flag” law to allow courts to order citizens “considered a danger to themselves or others” to surrender their firearms, Trudeau added.
Some toy guns that look like real firearms, such as airsoft rifles, could also be outlawed under new legislation, Reuters reported.
“Because they look the same as real firearms, police need to treat them as if they are real,” Justice Minister David Lametti said. “This has led to tragic consequences.”
The number of registered handguns in Canada jumped up 71 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to Trudeau’s office.
“In Canada, gun ownership is a privilege not a right,” Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair told NPR. “This is a principal that differentiates ourselves from many other countries in the world, notably our colleagues and friends to the south. In Canada, guns are only intended to be used for hunting and sport purposes.”
There are enough ruling Liberals and left-leaning New Democrats to pass the new laws in Canada’s Parliament, according to NPR.