Handguns: Canada’s temporary import ban takes effect


Effective immediately, individuals and businesses can no longer import restricted handguns into Canada, with some exceptions.

The decision announced earlier this month aims to expedite a key pillar of the federal effort to limit the number of handguns in the country.

In May, the Liberal government announced a plan to implement a freeze on the import, purchase, sale or transfer of handguns to help quell gun violence. fire.

The measure is part of a broader gun control package that would allow the automatic withdrawal of firearms licenses from people who commit domestic violence or engage in criminal harassment, such as stalking, as well as l maximum penalties for smuggling and arms trafficking to 14 years. from 10.

Last spring, to ensure that the national handgun freeze could be implemented quickly, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino tabled regulatory amendments in the House of Commons and the Senate.

However, the regulation is not expected to come into effect until this fall and the accompanying legislation still needs to be approved by Parliament.

The change that comes into effect today will last until a permanent freeze is passed in Parliament and comes into force.

Gun control group PolySeSouvient hailed the stopgap measure earlier this month as a creative step that would slow the expansion of the handgun market.

Conservative Public Safety Critic Raquel Dancho said the move was aimed at law-abiding citizens and businesses rather than illicit and contraband firearms.

The government says freezing the number of handguns in Canada will make people safer, noting they were the most serious weapon present in most violent gun-related crime between 2009 and 2020.

Additionally, the number of handguns registered in Canada has increased by 71% between 2010 and 2020 to approximately 1.1 million.

“The total handgun universe has exploded,” Mendicino said in an interview. “And at the same time, we’ve seen handgun violence skyrocket. It’s no coincidence – there’s a correlation between these two trends.

“The growth of the handgun universe makes them more accessible to everyone, including criminals.”

Liberals also stress the importance of investing in prevention programs to address the root causes of gun crime and stop it before it starts.

Additionally, Budget 2021 provided more than $312 million in new money to increase gun-tracing capacity and implement tougher border measures to combat gun smuggling and trafficking. .

Mendicino points to a significant increase in gun seizures at the border last year compared to 2020 as evidence of progress.

“I am convinced that we are making progress in the fight against illegal arms trafficking at our borders.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 19, 2022.