Government tables bill to freeze sale, imports of handguns

New gun control legislation the federal government tabled today includes a national freeze on the sale, importation and transfer of handguns in Canada — the government’s most ambitious attempt yet to restrict access to firearms in this country.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino presented the bill in the House of Commons Monday.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino presented the bill in the House of Commons Monday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The legislation revives some federal measures that didn’t pass before last year’s general election and implements some new proposals made during the campaign.

They include taking away firearms licences from those involved in domestic violence or criminal harassment, increasing criminal penalties for smuggling and trafficking of firearms, and a “red flag” law which would require people deemed a threat to themselves or others to turn in their firearms to law enforcement.

The legislation, if passed, would also require magazines for long guns to be changed so they can’t carry any more than five rounds. Sales of larger magazines would be banned.

The legislation comes after a number of mass shootings in the United States, including a recent shooting at an elementary school that killed 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said in response to the massacre that Canadians are “remarkably united” in wanting to reduce gun violence at home.

Prior to the presentation of the bill, the House unanimously voted in favour of a motion expressing its horror at the Uvalde shooting and condolences to the family, friends and communities of the victims.

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