Canadians deserve to feel safe in their communities. That is why the Government of Canada has a comprehensive plan that gets firearms off our streets and more resources into our communities. A central part of this is the recently introduced Bill C-21. The bill addresses the alarming role of guns in gender based violence, gets tough on organized crime and most significantly introduces a national freeze on the sale, transfer and ownership of handguns, anywhere in Canada.
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.