Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday (May 30) that he would introduce “legislation to enforce a nationwide freeze on handgun ownership” after recent killings in the neighboring United States.

“This means that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” he said, during a press conference given in the company of several dozens of relatives of victims of armed violence. This project must be submitted to Parliament, where Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal Party is in the minority.

Canada had already banned 1,500 models of military-style firearms after a killing in April 2020, the worst in the country’s history, which left 23 dead in Nova Scotia (east).

Many weapons imported from the United States

Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino estimates that around one million handguns are circulating in the country, many of which are illegally imported from the United States.

“Gun violence is a complex issue,” Trudeau said. “But at the end of the day, the math is really quite simple: the fewer guns there are in our communities, the safer everyone will be,” he added.

This announcement comes after the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 children aged 9 to 11 and two teachers were shot by a teenager who legally bought an assault rifle.

The Canadian bill also plans to prevent anyone involved in domestic violence from obtaining a gun license, and to toughen penalties for gun trafficking. Rifle magazines that can hold more than five bullets will also be prohibited.