Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that he was introducing legislation to impose a “national freeze” on handgun sales, responding to an increase in homicides in his country and creating a sharp contrast with the gun debate in the United States.
Trudeau made the announcement at a news conference in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, flanked by several of his government’s ministers.
“We cannot let the guns debate become so polarized that nothing gets done. We cannot let that happen in our country,” Trudeau said.
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He said the ban would apply to buying, selling, transferring or importing handguns “anywhere in Canada.”
It wasn’t immediately clear whether or when the legislation would become law. Trudeau’s office said new regulations to “help stop the growth of personally owned handguns in Canada” were expected to come into force this fall.
Trudeau also announced a gun buyback program to offer “fair compensation” to the owners and businesses affected by a 2020 law banning assault-style firearms.
Trudeau, who’s been prime minister since 2015, described the ban on handgun sales as an attempt to “cap the market” on handguns and protect bystanders.