Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday announced multiple efforts to tighten the country’s gun laws including implementing a national freeze on handguns.
Trudeau introduced Bill C-21, which the prime minister’s office said “puts forward some of the strongest gun control measures in over 40 years,” noting a rise in gun violence.
“One Canadian killed by gun violence is one too many. I’ve seen all too well the tragic cost that gun violence has in our communities across the country,” he said.
If passed, the legislation would make it no longer possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada.
“In other words, we’re capping the market,” Trudeau said at a press conference.
Trudeau added that the Canadian government will require long-gun magazines to be permanently altered so they can not hold more than five rounds and ban the sale and transfer of large capacity magazines.
In May 2020, Trudeau ordered a ban on 1,500 assault-style weapons, including M4, AR-10 and AR-15 rifles, in the wake of a shooting attack in Nova Scotia a month earlier that left 22 people dead.
The legislation would also seek to combat gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties, providing additional resources for law enforcement to investigate firearm crimes and strengthening border security.
Additionally, it would take away firearms licenses from those involved in stalking and other acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment as well as create a “red flag” law that would enable courts to require individuals considered a danger to themselves or others to surrender their firearms to law enforcement.
The announcement comes on the heels of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in which a gunman fatally shot 19 students and two teachers last week.
U.S. President Joe Biden, who visited the site of the shooting on Sunday, targeted the sale of “high-caliber weapons” in remarks to reporters upon landing at the White House.
“It makes no sense to be able to purchase something that can fire up to 300 rounds,” Biden said.
“The idea of these high-caliber weapons — there’s simply no rational basis for it in terms of, about self-protection, hunting. I mean, I just — and remember, the Constitution, the Second Amendment was never absolute. You couldn’t buy a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed. You couldn’t go out and purchase a lot of weapons,” he said.
When asked about his responsibility to act on gun legislation, Biden said that only Congress has the power to institute bans on the sale of weapons.
“There’s a Constitution. I can’t dictate this stuff. I can do the things that I’ve done and any executive action I can take, I’ll continue to take. But I can’t outlaw a weapon. I can’t, you know, change the background checks. I can’t do that,” he said.
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