Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last Friday announced an immediate national "freeze" on the sale, purchase, and transfer of lawfully owned handguns.

First discussed in May 2022 alongside Bill C-21, the strongest gun control measures in over 40 years, although the bill continues to be debated in Parliament, the Trudeau government made the freeze official last week saying, "we are taking immediate action through regulations to keep Canadians safe."

Coupled with the arbitrary ban announced in August on handgun imports from overseas-- Canada does not have a domestic consumer handgun industry-- the market for pistols and revolvers in the Great North is effectively shut down. 

"We made a commitment to Canadians that we would act – and we are," said Canada's Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino in a statement.

There are some 1.1 million registered handguns in Canada, a figure that, according to government statistics, rose 71 percent between 2010 and 2020. Cut off from a large slice of the international handgun market due to rigid import and licensing red tape, manufacturers like Glock have had to make special variants for Canadian consumers. 

The handgun freeze has limited exemptions for armed security guards, some shooting sports athletes, gunsmiths, the film industry, and museums. Now in effect, those who legally possess handguns can keep them-- for now at least-- but future generations of Canadians will likely be robbed of the chance and, even barring the specter of further action by Liberals in Ottawa, the number of handguns held by the public will shrink out to zero with the passage of time. 

 

Soon after Trudeau's announcement hit social media, anti-gun groups and advocates in the U.S. were soon re-tweeting the news. Not a good look for the "no one is coming for your guns" crowd. 

 

Other facets of C-21 will require long gun magazines to be permanently altered so they "can never hold" more than five rounds and will ban the future sale and transfer of such magazines. Also, a new “red flag” gun seizure law and one that expands the ability to suspend and remove mandated firearms licenses for an expanded list of misdemeanor crimes are also part of the package. Some types of toy and airsoft guns will also be banned-- the latter affecting some 30,000 active airsofters in the country alone. 

The move by the Liberal government to freeze the handgun market comes just two years after the Canadian government launched a push to outlaw 125,000 privately owned semi-automatic rifles and confiscate them via a troubled "buyback." 

Unlike its neighbor to the South, Canada has no Second Amendment or constitutional protections on the right to keep and bear arms. Trudeau even acknowledged that gun crime is low in the country, but said bluntly, "We recognize that the vast majority of gun owners use them safely, and in accordance with the law, but other than using firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada should need guns in their everyday lives."

Colion Noir described Trudeau's ban on legal handgun transfers north of the American border as a "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to anti-gun measures in the U.S.

 

 

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