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Will Canada’s Historic Gun Control Law Work?

Image of a Glock 45. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Image of a Glock 45. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

It will soon be a lot harder to legally buy a handgun in Canada, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the introduction of new legislation that was meant to “further strengthen gun control in Canada and keep Canadians safe from gun violence.” Bill C-21 would put forth some of the strongest gun control measures in Canada in more than 40 years.

“One Canadian killed by gun violence is one too many,” Trudeau said in a statement. “I’ve seen all too well the tragic cost that gun violence has in our communities across the country. Today, we’re proposing some of the strongest measures in Canadian history to keep guns out of our communities and build a safer future for everyone.”

It was just two years ago that Canada banned many semi-automatic rifles, while it also imposed new gun control laws that included expanded background checks.

As part of the latest efforts, Canada has implemented a national freeze on handguns, which is meant to prevent individuals from buying, selling, or transferring handguns within the country. As part of the new legislation, the Government of Canada will require that long-gun magazines be permanently altered so that they can never hold more than five rounds, while the sale and transfer of “large-capacity magazines” will be banned under the Criminal Code.

In addition, firearms licenses are being revoked from anyone who is “involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, such as stalking.” The country is further instituting a new “red flag” law that would enable courts to require that individuals considered a danger to themselves or others surrender their firearms to law enforcement.

To fight gun smuggling and trafficking, Canada will increase criminal penalties and provide additional tools for law enforcement to investigate firearms crime, and strengthen border security measures.

What The People Want?

Trudeau had campaigned on a platform that included gun control, while Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Marco E. L. Mendicino stated that this new legislation was meant to keep Canadians safe.

However, based on the Canadian government’s own data, it may not be in line with what some in the country actually have called for. The number of registered handguns in Canada actually increased by 71 percent between 2010 and 2020 and highlights the popularity of firearms among the nation’s residents.

Though handguns were used in the majority of firearm-related violent crimes, it is unclear whether any ban would actually have any impact on crime. Moreover, even as handguns were the most widely used firearm in such crimes, Canada still found the need to ban some 1,500 models and variants of semi-automatic rifles – and is now looking to introduce a buyback program to offer fair compensation to affected owners and businesses.

The new measures are likely to pass in Canada’s Parliament as the ruling Liberals and leftist opposition New Democrats currently have enough votes. Yet, Pierre Poilievre, who is running to be the leader of the Conservative party, has stated that law-abiding gun owners should be respected and dangerous criminals should be jailed.

Now a Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.