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Canada temporarily bans handgun imports ahead of total freeze

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces new gun control legislation in Ottawa, Ontario, on May 30, 2022.
Patrick Doyle
The Canadian Press via AP
Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces new gun control legislation in Ottawa, Ontario, on May 30, 2022.

The Canadian government is temporarily banning the importation of restricted handguns pending more restrictive, permanent measures from parliament.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a handgun freeze in May that would ban the selling, transfering or importing of handguns anywhere in Canada.

The legislation is still pending, but Ottawa officials say since that announcement there has been a large uptick in the number of handgun purchases by people who want to buy before the freeze goes into effect.

To counter that, officials announced Friday that they will push ahead with an import ban through regulatory restrictions without waiting for the approval of parliament. The import ban would go into effect Aug. 19.

“Nearly all individuals and businesses in Canada will be banned from importing handguns on a go forward,” said Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino. “Given that nearly all our handguns are imported, this means that we’re bringing our national handgun freeze into effect even sooner.”

Advocates for gun control say, since last year, Canadains imported more than $26 million worth of pistols and revolvers, a 50% increase from a year ago. The number of legal handguns in Canada has tripled, but many have been misused in crimes.

Foreign affairs minister Melanie Joly said she is using her powers to deny any export or import permit application because of security concerns.

The ban is temporary, with officials saying it’s a stop gap measure that would prevent stores from restocking handguns in the short term, while the proposed handgun freeze legislation moves through parliament.

Bill C-21 introduced in May would freeze the sale, purchase or transfer of handguns in Canada, but critics say it’s legal gun owners who are being targeted, and neither the ban nor the freeze will stop guns from being smuggled into the country from the U.S.

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