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Canada's National 'Handgun Freeze' Is Now In Effect

You can no longer buy a handgun in Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

New measures to further control the handgun trade in Canada took effect on October 21, including a national "freeze" on their sale, purchase and transfer. A temporary ban (with exemptions) on handgun imports has been in effect since August.

"Canadians have the right to feel safe in their homes, in their schools, and in their places of worship," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

"With handgun violence increasing across Canada, it is our duty to take urgent action to remove these deadly weapons from our communities. Today, we’re keeping more guns out of our communities, and keeping our kids safe."

The federal government announced a plan to implement a freeze on importing, buying, selling or otherwise transferring handguns alongside Bill C-21 in May 2022. Debate on the bill is still ongoing in Parliament.

The government says handguns were used in 59% of firearm-related crimes between 2009 and 2020. And according to the prime minister's office, there has been a 70% increase in the number of handguns in Canada since 2010.

From now on, people can still own registered handguns. A limited number of people and institutions are exempt from the freeze, such as museums, the film industry and some elite sport shooters.

Handgun transfer requests submitted before October 21 will still be processed.

Officials also hope the national freeze will help address gender-based violence. According to the government, "one in three women and girls killed by an abuser is murdered with a gun."

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