The change that comes into effect today will become permanent when Parliament passes legislative changes to handguns, the “growth of which…makes them more accessible to everyone, including criminals,” says federal minister Public Security Marco Mendicino. (Archives)
As of today, individuals and businesses may no longer import restricted handguns into Canada, except with some exceptions.
The decision announced earlier this month aims to expedite a key part 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 importation, purchase, sale or transfer of handguns to help crack down on gun violence.
The measure is part of a broader gun control package that would automatically revoke the firearms licenses of people who commit acts of domestic violence or engage in stalking, and to increase the maximum sentences for smuggling and arms trafficking from 10 to 14 years.
In May, Ottawa has announced a plan to implement a freeze on the importation, purchase, sale or transfer of handguns to curb related violence. (Archives)
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. /p>
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 which comes into effect today will last until a permanent freeze is passed in Parliament and comes into force.
The Control Group Firearms PolySeSouvient hailed the interim measure earlier this month as an innovative step that would slow the expansion of the handgun market.
Conservative public safety critic Raquel Dancho instead argued that the move was aimed at law-abiding citizens and businesses rather than illicit and contraband firearms.
The federal government believes freezing the number of handguns will make communities safer. (Archives)
Government says freezing the number of handguns in Canada will make people safer, pointing out they were the weapon used in most violent gun crimes between 2009 and 2020.
Furthermore, the number of handguns registered in Canada has increased by 71% between 2010 and 2020 to approximately 1.1 million.
The whole handgun universe has exploded, Minister Mendicino said in an interview. And at the same time, we've seen handgun violence skyrocket. This is no coincidence – there is 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.
Budget 2021 provided more than $312 million in new funding to increase gun-tracing capacity and implement tougher border measures to combat gun smuggling and trafficking.
M. Mendicino points to a significant increase in gun seizures at the border last year, compared to 2020, as evidence of progress.
I am confident that we are making progress in the fight against illegal arms trafficking at our borders, he argued.