In a nation that already tightly restricts ownership of firearms, Canada introduced new legislation Monday to take those restrictions further. The government of America’s northern neighbor now calls for a “cap” on handguns in the country.
On the surface, it appears to be a solution desperately searching for a problem.
Coming less than a week after the second horrific mass shooting in the U.S., Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the move to institute a “freeze” nationwide on handgun sales. He declared it will now be illegal in Canada “to buy, sell, transfer or import guns.”
By the numbers, Canada’s homicide rate by firearms is less than 20% of that of the United States. Mass shootings are far less common than in the U.S., though its population is smaller than that of California.
Critics charge, however, that Canada’s firearm death rate is five times that of Australia, and higher than several other Western nations.
The country already bans about 1,500 models of so-called “assault weapons,” including the AR-15. Part of the new law calls for a mandatory buyback program for these weapons to go into effect later this year.
The measure would also limit magazine capacities and outlaw some toy gun replicas. Trudeau pointed south for justification, saying that the problem will only get worse and more difficult to control “if we do not take action firmly and rapidly.”
With large numbers of small arms easily accessible from the south, Trudeau says the government will strengthen border controls to double the number of smuggled guns confiscated.
The bill creates a new “red flag” law allowing authorities to confiscate firearms from people thought to be a danger to themselves or others. Rifle magazines must be permanently altered to hold no more than five rounds, and many toy look-alikes, such as airsoft rifles, will be illegal.
There are exceptions built into the proposed changes, including for competition sport shooters, Olympic athletes, and security personnel.
Observers believe it is doubtful there will be a run on gun sales since Canadian laws are already restrictive.
The new measures, if enacted, will go into force this fall. Residents who already legally own guns will be allowed to keep them.
Just remember, this is the same Justin Trudeau who brought the hammer down on truckers who dared to protest the country’s sweeping COVID restrictions earlier this year. Clearly, individual rights are not his strong suit.