Justin Trudeau announces bill to cap sales and imports of handguns in Canada

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

Mr 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, NY this month.

The regulations are expected to be enacted this fall.

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Canada already has plans to ban 1,500 types of military-style firearms and offer a mandatory buyback program that will begin at the end of the year. Trudeau said if someone really wants to keep their assault weapon it will be made completely inoperable. Canada already expanded background checks.

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,” Mr Blair said.

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

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.

Children pay their respects at a memorial site for victims killed in the Uvalde school shooting. Credit: AP

Mr 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.

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

The new measures are assured of passing in Canada’s Parliament as the ruling Liberals and leftist opposition New Democrats have enough votes.