Canada proposes stricter gun laws, ban on handgun sales and possession
On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed legislation aimed at tightening the country’s hold on firearms
Canada’s latest gun legislation introduced Monday aims to tighten the country’s hold on firearms — specifically handguns.
Driving the news: “One Canadian killed by gun violence is one too many. That’s why we’ve banned 1,500 types of military-style assault firearms. And that’s why, today, we’ve introduced legislation to further strengthen gun control in Canada,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau via Twitter.
Details: Bill C-21 will prevent people “from buying, selling, and transferring handguns within the country,” according to the Prime Minister’s website.
- These measures will allow firearms licenses to be confiscated from those involved in domestic or criminal harassment cases. A “red flag” law would allow courts to order individuals to surrender their weapons if they are a danger to themselves or others in cases of domestic violence or self-harm. The country will invest $6.6 million to raise awareness for the law.
Flashback: After a mass shooting with a semi-automatic weapon in 2020 that left 23 dead, Trudeau swiftly announced a ban on 1,500 styles of “assault-style firearms.”
“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada,” he said at the time, per The Guardian. “Effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade assault weapons in this country.”
What they’re saying: Bill Blair, minister of emergency preparedness, pointed out that the country perceives its gun laws much differently than the United States.
“In Canada, gun ownership is a privilege not a right,” Blair said, per NPR. “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.”
Background: According to PBS NewsHour, gun ownership laws require extensive background checks before purchase, as well as keeping the guns unloaded and under lock and key.
Canada does not have open carry laws like in the U.S. It also requires that each gun be registered with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Firearms fall under three categories: non-restricted, like rifles and shotguns; restricted, like certain handguns or semi-automatic weapons; and prohibited, which most typically includes automatic weapons, according to the website of the Canadian Police.
By the numbers: Canada has one of the world’s highest per-capita gun ownership rates, with more than 12,00,000 firearms in civilian possession, equating to more than 34 weapons per 100 people, per a Small Arms Survey from 2018.
- The U.S. leads the data with 393,347,000 arms in civilian possession, which equates to more than 120 weapons per 100 people.