The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeauannounced this Monday a proposal to freeze the weapon possession of fire in Canadawhich could effectively prohibit its importation and sale in the country after the recent mass shootings in the neighboring United States.
The bill still has to pass through Parliament, where the Liberals, in government, are a minority.
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“We are introducing legislation to implement a freeze on the possession of small arms,” Trudeau said at a press conference, accompanied by dozens of families and victims of armed violence.
If the project is approved, “it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” added the president. “In other words, we are limiting the market for small arms.”
Days after Canada’s worst mass shooting left 23 dead in a rural Nova Scotia town in April 2020, the government banned the carrying of 1,500 types of military-grade firearms and assault rifles.
Despite that, Trudeau acknowledged on Monday that gun violence continued to rise.
The state statistics agency reported last week that the number of violent crimes involving firearms accounted for less than 3% of all violent crimes in Canada.
But since 2009 the per capita rate of guns pointed at someone has nearly tripled while the rate of firearms fired with intent to kill or injure has quintupled.
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Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino estimated that there are close to a million handguns in Canada, a figure significantly higher than a decade ago.
“People should be free to go to the supermarket, their school or their place of worship without fear. People should be free to go to the park or to a birthday party without worrying about what might happen to a stray bullet,” Trudeau added.
“Gun violence is a complex problem,” he emphasized. “But at the end of the day the math is really simple: The fewer guns in our communities, the safer everyone is.”