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Trudeau Announces Radical Changes to Canada’s Gun Laws

The Canadian government announced this week that it is hoping to pass another sweeping package of gun control measures, including a national freeze on handgun ownership.

“One Canadian killed by gun violence is one too many,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, during the unveiling of what’s known as “Bill C-21.”  

“I’ve seen all too well the tragic cost that gun violence has in our communities across the country. 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,” he continued. 

The new measures include, per the news release:

  • Implementing a national freeze on handguns to prevent individuals from bringing newly acquired handguns into Canada and from buying, selling, and transferring handguns within the country.
  • Taking away the firearms licenses of those involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, such as stalking.
  • Fighting gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties, providing more tools for law enforcement to investigate firearms crimes, and strengthening border security measures.
  • Addressing intimate partner violence, gender-based violence, and self-harm involving firearms by creating a new “red flag” law that would enable courts to require that individuals considered a danger to themselves or others surrender their firearms to law enforcement, while protecting the safety of the individual applying to the red flag process, including by protecting their identity. In addition, the government will invest $6.6 million to help raise awareness of the new law and provide supports to vulnerable and marginalized groups to navigate the provisions.

Trudeau also said his administration would ban the sale and transfer of “large capacity magazines” and require all long gun magazines to be “permanently altered so they can never hold more than five rounds.” 

The confiscation of certain black rifles and other long guns will start toward the end of this year, assuming the “buyback” program becomes law.  

“The first AR-15s and other assault style firearms will start to be bought back by the end of this year,” said Canadian Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino on Monday. “It’s going to be hard, but we’re going to get it done.”

Trudeau banned over 1,500 firearms back in 2020, as part of the prime minister’s original crackdown on gun ownership.  However, the details of the “buyback” program that was also introduced at the time were never finalized.

It’s estimated that 150,000-200,000 firearms will be affected by the mandatory “buyback.”

It appears that Trudeau is stopping just short of confiscating handguns, at least for now.  While talking about the “freeze,” he said, “What this means is that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada.”

“We recognize that the vast majority of gun owners use them safely and in accordance with the law, but other than using firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada should need guns in their everyday lives,” he added.

Canada does not recognize an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.  

About the author:
S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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