Canada Freezes New Handgun Sales and Imports
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a ban on the sale, purchase, and transfer of handguns, as well as a ban on bringing new guns into the country on Oct. 21, 2022. While the ban may seem extreme to Americans, the right to own firearms is not part of Canada’s constitution.
Trudeau stated, “Canadians have the right to feel safe in their homes, in their schools, and in their places of worship. With handgun violence increasing across Canada, it is our duty to take urgent action to remove these deadly weapons from our communities. Today, we’re keeping more guns out of our communities, and keeping our kids safe.”
The handgun ban comes as an uptick in gun violence in Canada continues, including one of the deadliest shootings in the country’s history in Apr. 2020 in which 22 people in Nova Scotia were killed with guns smuggled from Maine. After that shooting, Trudeau signed legislation banning 1,500 models of assault-style firearms and AR-15 rifle variants. A bill to freeze handgun sales and transfers is currently under consideration in parliament.
Many blame the United States for not only the increase in guns, but also the increase in gun violence. Toronto Police Service Deputy Chief Myron Demkiw stated: “Our problem in Toronto [is] handguns from the United States…. 86% of crime handguns [that are] able to be sourced were from the United States.” The Prime Minister’s office reported that handguns were used in 59% of violent gun crimes between 2009 and 2020, and that there were 70% more handguns in the country in 2022 than in 2010.
Many, including the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, argue that a reduction in the number of guns in the country will not reduce gun violence.
1. Should more gun control laws be enacted? If yes, what sort of laws and why? If no, why not?
2. Do you think Canada’s new handgun ban will be effective? Why or why not?
3. What actions can be taken to reduce gun violence? Consider gun control laws, gun rights laws, and other measures. Explain your answer(s).
Giulia Heyward, “Trudeau Orders an Immediate Freeze on the Sale of Handguns in Canada,” npr.org, Oct. 21, 2022
Emma Jacobs, “As Gun Violence Rises in Canada, Weapons from the U.S. Complicate Gun Control Efforts,” npr.org, July 9, 2022
Jessica Murphy, “Nova Scotia Shooting: Gunman’s Partner Describes Night of Terror,” bbc.com, July 15, 2022
Prime Minister of Canada, “Freezing the Market on Handguns,” pm.gc.ca, Oct. 21, 2022
Celina Tebor, “Canada Bans All Handgun Sales in Latest Gun-Control Move,” usatoday.com, Oct. 21, 2022