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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that his government is introducing legislation to “implement a nationwide freeze on handgun ownership” across the country.
“This means that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” Trudeau said at a press conference.
“We recognize that the vast majority of firearm owners use them safely and within the law, but other than the use of firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason why anyone in Canada needs firearms in their daily lives.”
Canada’s Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino also said a mandatory “assault weapons” buy-back program will come into effect later this year if the bill is passed, calling it “the action Canada’s biggest fight against gun violence in a generation.”
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“The first AR-15s and other assault-type firearms will begin to be redeemed by the end of this year,” Mendicino said. “It’s going to be tough, but we’ll get there.”
About 55,000 new handguns have been registered each year in Canada for the past decade, Mendicino said.
The legislation will also create new red flag laws that will allow courts to remove firearms and suspend licenses from people who pose a threat to themselves or others. Magazines that hold more than five rounds will also be banned under the new laws.
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The deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history occurred about two years ago when a gunman opened fire in parts of Nova Scotia, killing 22 people.
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