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Canada’s Trudeau proposes handgun freeze in new gun control package

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a move to freeze the sale and transfer of handguns in the country as part of a strict gun control proposal introduced by his government on Monday.

The proposal would also create a new red flag law, which would allow a court to prohibit people deemed a threat from owning firearms, and allow the government to take away firearms licenses for individuals who commit domestic violence or criminal harassment. 

“One Canadian killed by gun violence is one too many,” Trudeau said in a statement.

“I’ve seen all too well the tragic cost that gun violence has in our communities across the country,” he said. “Today, we’re proposing some of the strongest measures in Canadian history to keep guns out of our communities and build a safer future for everyone.”

Trudeau’s office said the handgun freeze will prevent individuals from bringing newly acquired handguns into the country or from buying, selling or transferring the firearms. Canada reported 1.1 million registered handguns in 2020, an increase of 71 percent from ten years earlier.

Unlike the United States, there is no constitutional protection to own firearms in Canada.

Trudeau has looked to regulate firearms more strictly for years, but the latest announcement comes less than a week after a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas left 19 children and two teachers dead. 

The shooting has reignited a political battle in the United States over gun control proposals. President Biden on Monday said he “can’t dictate” gun policy and it was up to Congress to take action beyond what he has done through executive actions.

A bipartisan group of senators has begun meeting in attempts to find common ground on gun reform, focusing on red flag laws and background checks. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) who is leading Democrats in the negotiations, said he’ll know next week whether Republicans are serious about reform.

Following a 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia that left 23 dead, Trudeau announced that the country would ban assault-style firearms in Canada. Canada will soon begin a buyback program that Trudeau’s office said would offer “fair compensation” to affected gun owners.

“We made a commitment to Canadians to tackle gun violence,” said Marco Mendicino, Canada’s minister of public safety. “The legislation we introduced today is part of our comprehensive strategy to promote safe and responsible gun laws, invest in law enforcement to stop organized crime and illegal gun smuggling at the border and to invest in communities to address root causes and prevent gun crime from occurring in the first place.” 

Trudeau also announced his government would ban the sale and transfer of large-capacity magazines and require long-gun magazines to be permanently altered so they can never hold more than five rounds.

Tags Biden Canada Gun control handgun freeze Justin Trudeau Justin Trudeau Marco Mendicino red flag law Uvalde school shooting
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