By Associated Press 11:44am May 31, 2022

Justin Trudeau has announced new restrictions on handguns in Canada. (AP)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has introduced legislation that would put a freeze on importing, buying or selling handguns.

“We are capping the number of handguns in this country,” Trudeau said.

The regulations to halt the growth of personally owned handguns is expected to be enacted this fall.

“It will be illegal to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” the prime minister said.

Canada already has plans to ban 1500 types of military-style firearms and offer a mandatory buyback program that will begin at the end of the year. It already expanded background checks.

Trudeau has long had plans to enact tougher gun laws but the introduction of the new measure comes after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, this month.

Bill Blair, minister of emergency preparedness, said Canada is very different from the United States.

“In Canada, gun ownership is a privilege not a right,” Blair said.

“This is a principal that differentiates ourselves from many other countries in the world, notably our colleagues and friends to the south.

“In Canada, guns are only intended to be used for hunting and sport purposes.”

Canada has had far fewer mass shootings than the US in part because of a lack of easy access to guns, though the US population also is far larger than Canada’s.

Gun ownership is high in Canada, but many firearms are restricted. (AP)

Blair noted guns are often smuggled in illegally from the US, which he noted has one of the largest small arms arsenals in the world.

The government plans to fight gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties, providing more tools to investigate firearms crimes and strengthening border measures.

Trudeau said increased funding already helped border officials double the amount of smuggled guns confiscated at the US border.

The government also said the bill would also allow for the removal of gun licenses from people involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, such as stalking.

The bill would create a new “red flag” law allowing courts to require that people considered a danger to themselves or others surrender their firearms to police.

The government said the measure would guard the safety of those applying through the process, often women in danger of domestic abuse, by protecting their identities.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced new restrictions on handgun ownership. (AP)

READ MORE: Both sides of US politics point to Australia on gun reform

The government said it will require rifle magazines to be permanently altered so they can never hold more than five rounds and will ban the sale and transfer of large-capacity magazines under the Criminal Code.
“Canada can teach us a lot,” tweeted Bruce Heyman, a former US ambassador to Canada under the Obama administration.

Trudeau said his government recognises the vast majority of Canadians who own guns are responsible but the level of gun violence is unacceptable.

“This is a concrete and real national measure to long way toward keeping Canadians safe,” Trudeau said.
The new measures are assured of passing in Canada’s Parliament as the ruling Liberals and leftist opposition New Democrats have enough votes.

Pierre Poilievre, who is running to be leader of the Conservative party, said law-abiding gun owners should be respected and dangerous criminals should be jailed.