Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a bill on Monday (May 30) at a press conference in Ottawa that would put a freeze on owning handguns in the country.
“What this means is that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” Trudeau said at the press conference. “In other words we’re capping the market.”
If the bill is passed, the new anti-gun law will fine gun smuggling and trafficking “by increasing maximum criminal penalties and providing more tools for law enforcement to investigate firearm crimes,” the prime minister said.
“Gun violence is a complex problem, but at the end of the day the math is really quite simple: The fewer the guns in our communities, the safer everyone will be,” he added.
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Minister of Public Safety of Canada Bill Blair, said that Canada is very different from the United States.
“In Canada, gun ownership is a privilege not a right,” Blair said. “This is a principal that differentiates ourselves from many other countries in the world, notably our colleagues and friends to the south.”
The prime minister said that “we cannot let the guns debate become so polarized that nothing gets done. We cannot let that happen in our country.”
“People should be free to go to the supermarket, their school or their place of worship without fear,” he added. “People should be free to go to the park or to a birthday party without worrying about what might happen from a stray bullet.”
This announcement comes in the wake of two recent mass shootings in the United States. On Tuesday, May 24 a gunman took the lives of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary school at Uvalde, Texas. On Saturday, May 14 a gunman traveled almost three hours to kill 10 people in a racist mass shooting at Tops in supermarket in Buffalo, New York.