Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday new legislation for a national freeze on the purchase, sale, import and transfer of firearms in Canada, in the context of the recent shootings in its neighboring country, the United States.
“In other words, we are limiting the market for handguns,” Trudeau stressed at a press conference, adding: “As we see gun violence continuing to rise, it is our duty to continue to take action,” as picked up the Canadian station CBC News.
Trudeau has detailed that the gun control bill presented on Monday includes a national freeze on the purchase, sale, import and transfer of firearms in Canada, making it the most ambitious attempt by the Government of Canada to restrict access to firearms in this country.
The Minister of Public Security of Canada, Marco Mendicino, presented this Monday the bill C-21 in the House of Commons. “The bill that we have just introduced represents a milestone in the midst of a long and difficult battle that takes place on our streets every day,” he has said.
Thus, he has emphasized that “it is a battle that has claimed too many lives, leaving empty chairs at the table and empty desks in the classrooms.”
The legislation does not totally ban firearms, but it does set a strict limit on the number of them in the country.
The bill revives some federal measures that were not passed before last year’s general election in Canada and implements some new proposals made during the campaign.
These include the withdrawal of firearms licenses for those involved in domestic violence or criminal harassment, increased criminal penalties for firearms smuggling and trafficking, and a “red flag” law that would force people considered a threat to themselves or others to turn over their firearms to law enforcement.
The Canadian Executive has previously proposed working with provinces and territories to put restrictions on firearms. However, Trudeau has explained that his government abandoned that idea after consultations.
“In our discussions with law enforcement, advocates and experts, it became clear that we needed a different solution,” the prime minister said.
“So we decided to take a new route, something that would address this issue on a national level,” he added.
In this sense, the Government of the North American country has also indicated in a press release that it would demand that the magazines of long weapons be limited so that they cannot carry more than five cartridges and the sale of large-capacity magazines would be prohibited.
In addition, it has assured that it would increase the maximum penalty for crimes contemplated in the law, such as the illegal possession, acquisition or manufacture of a firearm, from 10 to 14 years in prison.
“We recognize that the vast majority of gun owners use guns safely and in accordance with the law,” Trudeau stressed.
In his opinion, “apart from the use of firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason why anyone in Canada needs weapons in their daily lives.”
In addition, the Government of Canada has committed to begin buying back thousands of banned assault weapons before the end of the year.
Mendicino has confirmed that the Government will carry out a mandatory buyback program for the more than 1,500 assault weapons that it banned two years ago, including AR-15s.
This new legislation comes after a series of mass shootings in the United States, including a recent shooting at an elementary school that killed 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas.
For his part, the vice president of public relations for the Canadian Coalition for Gun Rights, Tracy Wilson, has criticized the bill and the Trudeau government’s approach, saying the proposed law places too much emphasis on regulation. of legal firearms and not enough on criminals and unlicensed weapons.
“Once again, (Trudeau) is opting for the path of targeting legal, licensed and controlled gun owners, rather than focusing on unlicensed criminals and their illicit firearms,” Wilson said.