The Liberal government uses a regulatory provision to temporarily ban the import of handguns, before the passage of Bill C-21.
The Trudeau government announced on Friday a temporary ban on the importation of restricted handguns. It will come into effect on August 19.
This will remain in effect until Bill C-21 is passed, which Ottawa says will introduce a national freeze on the sale, transfer and ownership of handguns across Canada.
Thanks to this measure, the final repercussions of the national freeze on handguns will be felt more quickly, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino said Friday.
“The import ban announced today will help keep guns off our streets as we work to implementation of Bill C-21, reducing gun violence in the short term. »
— Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs
As Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, I have the power to refuse any application for import and export licenses. #x27;export which is contrary to the security of Canada, summarized Ms. Joly during a press conference.
According to the government, the measure is in all respects identical to that provided for in Bill C-21 introduced in the spring, which provides for a freeze on handguns. The Liberals had tried to pass a motion at the public safety committee to expedite the coming into force of regulatory changes for the implementation of the freeze, but they were unable to obtain unanimous consent and said it was due to opposition from Conservatives.
With Bill C-21, Ottawa proposes to impose a freeze on handguns in Canada.
This announcement comes shortly after three residents of Montreal and Laval were targeted and killed without premeditation by a man in crisis. The latter was possibly armed with a Tec-9 submachine gun, a weapon already on the federal list of prohibited weapons.
For Minister Mendicino, Friday's announcement is an essential pillar of the government's fight plan, along with investments in prevention, measures at our borders, the banning of assault-style weapons and the project Bill C-21.
According to Ottawa data, between 2009 and 2020, handguns were the type of weapon most commonly used in the majority of violent gun-related crimes (59%).
The Minister of Public Safety, however, agreed that this is a complex problem that will not be solved overnight. He also stressed the importance of passing Bill C-21 quickly, and deplored the stonewalling tactics used by the Conservatives.
C-21 will strengthen police powers, send a clear message to criminals and gangs, and allow a judge to seize weapons from someone who poses a security risk, Mendicino said.
But according to Guy Morin, president of All Against a Quebec Firearms Registry, banning the sale of handguns in Canada is unlikely to to counter gun violence in Canada, as the vast majority of weapons used for criminal purposes in the country come from the American black market.
The problem we have is not a problem of gun control, it is a problem of applying existing laws, he recalled. He cites as an example the SPVM which has made several seizures of weapons recently after having put the resources and the means to do so.
PolySeSouvient rather claims that, according to federal statistics, only 6% of violent crimes with firearms are linked to a criminal organization or a street gang. The collective, which campaigns for a strict framework for firearms, therefore welcomes today's news, with however some caveats.
“Because there are still commercial reserves, including stocks that may have been replenished after they were depleted, and because domestic production can still continue, the ban imports will not end the purchase of handguns in Canada. »
However, this is an important and innovative measure that will undoubtedly slow the expansion of the Canadian handgun market pending the passage of Bill C-21, hopefully this fall. the, concludes the collective.
Called on, the Tories said the new ban “will do nothing to stop the influx of weapons of illegal fists”. These represent the majority of weapons used in crimes and in cases of armed violence in Canada, said MP Pierre Paul-Hus on behalf of his party.
For its part, the Bloc Québécois welcomes a decision that compensates for the government's error. According to Rhéal Fortin, the Bloc's justice critic, the Trudeau government should have, when Bill C-21 was tabled in May, blocked the sale of handguns, which would have made it possible to avoid the #x27;explosion of sales that followed.
With information from La Presse canadienne