OTTAWA - Canada said on Friday it would temporarily ban the import of restricted handguns from Aug. 19 in a move designed to indirectly achieve the goals of the gun control legislation proposed in May.
The Canadian government said in a statement that the import ban would stay in place until a national freeze on handguns comes into force.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government introduced bill C- 21 in May to fight gun violence.
The gun control package, which includes a national freeze on the sale and purchase of handguns, is yet to be implemented. The Canadian parliament is currently on a summer break until September.
Canadians rushed to buy guns after the freeze was announced, and the government wants to prevent gun sellers from restocking their stock with the import ban, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly told reporters at a briefing. The foreign ministry has the authority to deny trade permits.
The import ban will help to keep guns off our streets as we work towards implementing Bill C- 21, reducing gun violence in the immediate term, Joly said.
Canada has stricter gun laws than the United States, but Canadians are allowed to own firearms if they have a license. There must be a restricted or prohibited firearms license, like handguns.
The Canadian Public Safety Minister, Marco Mendicino, said that this means that the national handgun freeze will be put in effect sooner because of the fact that nearly all of our handguns are imported.
The gun homicide rate in Canada was a fraction of the rate in the United States in 2020, but it is still higher than the rates of many other rich countries and has been rising, according to data from Statistics Canada.
Between 2009 and 2020, handguns were the main weapon used in a majority of firearms related crimes, according to official data.