The Canadian government will ban the import of handguns, the latest in a series of gun-control measures under Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, reported the Washington Post.
Because the great majority of handguns in Canada are imported, the move effectively caps the number of such weapons already in the country at the current level without banning them outright.
The regulatory measure, announced by Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, follows a bill introduced by the government in May to implement a “national freeze” on buying, importing, selling and transferring handguns.
Friday’s measure allows the government to impose that freeze without waiting for Parliament, which is on a summer break until September, to pass the legislation. It’s expected to come into effect in two weeks, reducing the window for gun stores to amass merchandise.
“They have no place in any community, any neighborhood or any street,” Mendicino said at a news conference Friday outside a Catholic school in Etobicoke, Ontario. He said Toronto, in particular, has seen “too much gun violence” in recent years.
Joly said she would use her authority as foreign minister to deny import and export permits to effect the ban.
Local media outlets have reported that handgun sales have skyrocketed since Trudeau’s government announced the freeze, prompting some lawmakers to express concern about a run on handguns by legal gun owners looking to stock up before the legislation passed.Canada vows to freeze handgun sales
Gun control enjoys broad support here. But critics say the focus on limiting handgun ownership unfairly targets law-abiding owners while doing little to stamp out the root problem: guns smuggled illegally across the border.
Toronto’s police chief said in November that roughly 80 percent of the firearms involved in gun violence in Canada’s most populous city come from the United States, which he noted has a significant gun culture, making it a “very difficult” issue to address.
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