Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday at a news conference that he was introducing a “national freeze” on arms sales in his country to curb the increase in homicides.
Trudeau’s announcement comes a week after 19 children were killed in a school shooting at a primary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Trudeau’s decision did not come without a pushback from government ministers, and the legislation could not become final until the fall. The proposed ban would apply to the buying, selling, transferring and importing of guns in Canada.
“We can not let the gun debate be so polarized that nothing is done. We can not let that happen in our country,” Trudeau said in Ottawa. “People should be free to go to the supermarket, their school or their place of worship without fear. People should be free to go to the park or to a birthday party without having to worry about what might happen to a stray bullet. . “
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Canada had a reported 743 homicides in 2020, – the highest number since 1991. Canada had enacted a 2020 law banning assault-style firearms, but offered a gun repatriation program to those who possessed the weapons.
The number of registered handguns in Canada increased by 71% from 2010 to 2020, according to Trudeau’s office.
In the U.S., a bipartisan group of senators began informal talks last week to tackle gun-related deaths after massacres in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde. President Joe Biden has called for gun control since the Uvalde shootings, saying: “there is only one reason for something that can fire 100 shots.”