By Ismail Shakil and Anna Mehler Paperny
OTTAWA (Reuters) -Canada’s govt introduced legislation Monday to apply a “countrywide freeze” on the sale and buy of handguns as section of a gun regulate package deal that would also limit magazine capacities and ban some toys that look like guns.
The new legislation, which resurrects some measures that were being shelved previous calendar year amid a countrywide election, arrives just a 7 days just after a gunman killed 19 children and two academics in their classroom in Uvalde, Texas.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed reporters the new steps were being required as gun violence was escalating.
“We will need only glance south of the border to know that if we do not just take motion firmly and rapidly it will get worse and worse and receives additional complicated to counter,” he claimed.
The handgun freeze would have exceptions, including for elite activity shooters, Olympic athletes and stability guards. Canadians who by now own handguns would be authorized to keep them.
Authorities do not assume a operate on handguns in anticipation of the freeze, in section because they are so seriously regulated by now, an official explained in a briefing.
Canada has stronger gun laws than the United States but although its gun homicide fee is much less than one particular-fifth the U.S. amount it is higher than that of other rich countries and has been climbing. In 2020 it was five instances Australia’s rate.
The rate in each and every of 2020 and 2017 was the country’s maximum considering that at least 1997, in accordance to Statistics Canada.
Canada banned the sale and use of some 1,500 types of assault weapons, like the AR-15 rifle, two decades in the past in the wake of a mass shooting in Portapique, Nova Scotia – a shift some firearms owners say they are contesting in court docket. Speaking along with Trudeau, Community Security Minister Marco Mendicino confirmed the “imminent start of the preliminary phase” of a application to invest in again and compensate house owners of this sort of weapons.
While the Liberals have a minority of seats in Parliament, the legislation could pass with the help of the left-leaning New Democratic Party.
The prepared legislation would reduce anybody matter to a safety order or who has engaged in domestic violence or stalking from acquiring or trying to keep a firearms license.
It will also involve extensive-gun magazines to be completely altered so they can under no circumstances maintain extra than 5 rounds and will ban the sale and transfer of massive-potential magazines.
The new rules would also ban some toys that appear like actual guns, this sort of as airsoft rifles. Very last 7 days Toronto law enforcement shot and killed a gentleman carrying a pellet gun.
“For the reason that they look the very same as actual firearms, police need to address them as if they are authentic. This has led to tragic effects,” Justice Minister David Lametti informed reporters.
Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Affiliation, welcomed some of the moves, such as the “pink flag” provisions in the case of domestic violence, and explained he would like much more data on enforcement and means for steps this kind of as the handgun freeze.
He entirely supported a crackdown on fake guns, which he claimed ended up a “significant challenge.”
“You can not distinguish among what’s a reproduction firearm and what is a genuine firearm, especially when these incidences involving reproduction firearms take place typically in quite dynamic, promptly evolving instances.”
Rod Giltaca, the head of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Legal rights, reported the handgun freeze was “absurd.”
He reported authorities have been not using the resources they by now had to tackle gun violence, this sort of as calling people today stated as references on gun license programs.
(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa and Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto, Modifying by Rosalba O’Brien and Richard Pullin)