Canada announced on Friday that it would ban the import of firearms Since August 19, in an effort to stop armed violence in the country.
These weapons have “only one purpose, to kill people,” Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino said at a news conference announcing the measure.
The government said in a statement that the restrictions on individuals and businesses are a temporary measure, which “will last until a national freeze is in place”, which is expected in the fall.
The group PolySeSouvient, which represents victims of gun violence and the families of victims, called it an “important and innovative measure” that will undoubtedly delay the expansion of Canada’s firearms market until the bill is passed.
For its part, the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights (CCFR) called the move “another abuse of process for political ends”.
“If the government really wants to strengthen public safety, it will do everything in its power to ban the illegal import of handguns and pistols into Canada,” said Rod Giltaka, director general of the CCFR.
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Instead, they prevent “authorized and verified Canadians from legally owning firearms, something they have done in Canada for more than 100 years,” he said.
Despite all of Ottawa’s steps to try to reduce gun violence, experts remain skeptical about their effectiveness, noting that gun smuggling from the United States is a real problem.
On Wednesday, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced two large seizures of “phantom firearms” that have no serial numbers and are difficult to trace in the west of the country.
From January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2022, CBSA Pacific seized 581 firearms at ports of entry and in international mail shipments.
The announcement comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a proposed “national freeze on gun ownership” in May following the recent shootings in the United States, including 21 in an elementary school in Texas and one in New York. 10 people died in the supermarket.
Trudeau’s statement prompted Canadians to flee to gun stores with long lines in front of these businesses and rapidly dwindling stocks.
According to government estimates, Canada has over one million pistols and revolvers for a population of 38 million people. Around 2,500 stores across the country sell such weapons.
Statistical data also indicates that pistols and revolvers were the most commonly used types of weapons in murders committed with a shotgun between 2009 and 2021 (57% in 2021).
The move also comes in the context of a spike in firearms-related crime: three murders were reported in 24 hours in the Montreal area this week.