Canada bans imports of handguns

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TORONTO — The Canadian government is considering banning the importation of handguns into the country, according to a government official, the latest in a series of gun control measures to be implemented under Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The move, to be announced on Friday, comes after the government introduced legislation in May that would implement a “national freeze” on the purchase, import, sale and transfer of handguns. – thus capping the number of weapons of this type already present in the country. current level, but without outright banning them.

The new measure will allow Ottawa to ban imports of handguns without having to wait for Parliament, which is on summer recess until September, to pass the law. It is expected to go into effect in two weeks, the official said, shortening the window for gun shops to hoard goods.

Local media have reported that handgun sales have skyrocketed since the Trudeau government announced the freeze, prompting some lawmakers to worry about a run on handguns from legal gun owners seeking supplies before the legislation is passed.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly are due to make an announcement “on the government’s continued efforts to protect our communities from gun violence” at a Catholic school in Etobicoke, Ont., at 10 a.m. 30 Friday.

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Gun control has broad support here. But critics say the focus on limiting handgun ownership unfairly targets law-abiding owners while doing little to eradicate the root problem: guns smuggled through the border.

Toronto’s police chief said in November that about 80% of firearms implicated in gun violence in Canada’s most populous city came from the United States, which he said has a strong gun culture fire, making it a “very difficult” problem to solve.

“The biggest problem we have in the city is the volume of guns coming across the border,” Chief James Ramer said.

The government legislation, known as C-21, also includes “red flag” laws that would allow judges to temporarily remove firearms from people deemed a danger to themselves or others, the removal of gun licenses for people who have committed domestic violence and tougher penalties for smuggling and trafficking guns.

Canada imported more than $28.2 million worth of revolvers and pistols in 2021, according to government data, with two-thirds of that volume coming from the United States. Total imports were up 7.7% from a year earlier, but down from a recent high of $34.7 million in 2018.

Canadian trauma surgeons have called for gun control. Gun groups had an NRA-style response.

Mass shootings are relatively rare here compared to the United States, but the rate of firearm homicides has increased since 2013, according to Statistics Canada data.

The government statistics agency reported that more than 60% of violent gun crimes in urban centers in 2020 involved handguns. But he also said there were “many gaps” and limitations in the data, including on the “source of firearms used in the crime” and “whether a firearm used in the crime was stolen. , purchased illegally or smuggled into the country”. No province requires investigators to send firearms used in crimes to be found.

The Canada Border Services Agency said it seized 1,203 firearms from 2021 to 2022. In May, a Yorkshire terrier named Pepper foiled an attempt to smuggle 11 handguns across the Michigan border into Ontario using a six-rotor drone.

Some 2.2 million people in Canada own licensed firearms, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported in 2020, and more than 1.1 million firearms are registered.

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The Trudeau government promised tougher gun control measures during the federal election campaign last year.

In 2020, Trudeau announced a ban on 1,500 makes and models of “military-style assault weapons,” after a gunman posing as a police officer rampaged through Nova Scotia during two weekend days, burning down structures and killing 22 people, including a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Police officer in Canada’s deadliest mass shooting.

Last week, the government explained how much it proposes to compensate gun owners who turn in those guns under a mandatory buy-back program.

During hearings for a public inquiry this year into the “causes, background and circumstances” of the attack in Nova Scotia, evidence was presented about the origin of the gunman’s large cache of weapons.

Gabriel Wortman, a denturist, did not have a firearms license and obtained his guns illegally. The commission heard there had been “two, and potentially three” cases in which police received information about his access to firearms. Little or nothing was done, according to reports.

Gunman rampages through Nova Scotia in Canada’s deadliest mass shooting

Several of the guns have been recovered and are from gun shops in Maine. A friend there told police that Wortman took one or more of the guns without his knowledge or permission, while giving the shooter a Ruger P89 “as a sign of gratitude” for his help with ” tree removal and other odd jobs at his residence.”

An AR-15 came from a gun store in California, but Wortman first saw it at a gun show in Maine and another person bought it for him. Witnesses told police after the shooting that Wortman would disassemble the guns and roll them up in the payload cover of his pickup truck to smuggle them across the border.

Wortman was shot dead by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in a duty area in Enfield, Nova Scotia, ending his rampage. Police have not charged any of the people who helped him get the guns, including those who allegedly violated US laws.

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