The Canadian government announced Friday the country would ban the import of handguns starting on Aug. 19 as it reacts to recent high-profile U.S. mass shootings and awaits the country's own larger proposed freeze to take effect.
As AFP reported, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said in a press briefing that these types of guns "have one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to kill people."
In May, Canada shelved proposed gun control legislation which would have included a national freeze on the import, sale, and purchase of handguns in the country.
When the law didn't pass before Parliament took a summer break, it was tabled and set up for renewed debate when Canadian lawmakers return to Ottawa in the fall, according to the CBC.
When we announced Bill C-21 and the national handgun freeze, we said we’d use every tool in our box to keep Canadians safe.— Marco Mendicino (@marcomendicino) August 5, 2022
Today, we’re announcing a national ban on handgun importation, bringing the ultimate impact of the freeze into force sooner. https://t.co/CvYgxa0GrK
Mendicino said, "Given that nearly all our handguns are imported, this means that we're bringing our national handgun freeze even sooner." He said, "From that moment forward, the number of handguns in Canada will only go down."
According to the CBC, Canada's trade data shows that the country imported $26.4 million in pistols and revolvers between Jan. and June, making it a 52% spike in imports of such weapons since the same period last year.
On Wednesday, AFP reported, Canada's Border Services Agency said it had made two large seizures of what it described as "ghost guns" that had no serial numbers and would have been difficult to trace, agents said.