The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, today announced a temporary import ban on the importation of restricted handguns. This will help bring the ultimate impact of the national handgun freeze into force sooner. This temporary ban means that individuals and businesses will no longer be able to import handguns into Canada, subject to narrow exceptions that mirror those in Bill C-21. These restrictions will take effect on August 19th, 2022, and will last until the national freeze comes into force.
No single program or initiative can tackle the challenge of gun violence on its own. That is why Bill C-21 and the national freeze on handguns are two of the many elements in the Government’s comprehensive plan to keep Canadians safe. This begins at our borders, where we’ve added resources to fight smuggling and stop guns from coming into Canada. We’re also investing in prevention programs to tackle the root causes of gun crime and stop it before it starts. Finally, we banned assault-style weapons like AR-15s, and will soon begin a buyback program to get these weapons of war out of our communities once and for all.
“We know that one Canadian killed by gun violence is one too many. As a government, it is our duty to ensure that Canada remains one of the safest places to live in the world. The import ban announced today will help to keep guns stay off our streets as we work towards implementing Bill C-21, reducing gun violence in the immediate term,” Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs. said.
Minister Marco said, “My top priority as Minister is keeping Canadians safe in their communities. Today’s announcement is further proof that we are using all tools at our disposal to fight gun crime in this country. It is a key pillar of our plan to address it, along with investments in prevention, action at our borders, a ban on assault-style weapons and Bill C-21 – Canada’s most significant action on gun violence in a generation.”
- Firearms in Canada continue to be regulated by the Firearms Act and Part III of the Criminal Code.
- Canada has a range of goods over which it imposes import controls. These goods are listed in the Import Control List (ICL) of the Export and Import Permits Act.
- Handguns were the most serious weapon present in the majority of firearm-related violent crimes (59 per cent) between 2009 and 2020.
- The number of registered handguns in Canada increased by 71 per cent between 2010 and 2020, reaching approximately 1.1 million.
- Budget 2021 provided more than $312 million in new funding to increase firearms tracing capacity and implement stronger border control measures to fight gun smuggling and trafficking.
- Law enforcement agencies seized more than double the number of firearms at the border in 2021, compared to 2020, which is also the highest number of firearms seized in recent years.
- The Government of Canada has already tabled regulatory amendments under theFirearms Act, which are expected to come into force in Fall 2022.
- The Government of Canada introduced Bill C-21 in May 2022 which proposes a number of reforms to tackle gun violence in our communities.