Canada should completely ban the purchase and sale of all handguns, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said.
His government is proposing a new law that would freeze private ownership of all short-barreled firearms.
The legislation would not outright ban the possession of handguns, but would make their purchase illegal.
Mr Trudeau’s proposal comes days after a deadly shooting at an elementary school in Texas, in the neighboring United States, killed 21 people.
The bill, which was introduced in the Canadian Parliament on Monday, makes it impossible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in the country.
“Other than the use of firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada needs firearms in their daily lives,” Trudeau told reporters. journalists.
“As we see gun violence continue to increase, it is our duty to continue to act,” he said.
It is his government’s most ambitious attempt to date to restrict access to firearms.
The bill would also require rifle magazines to be reconfigured so they cannot hold more than five rounds at a time.
And it would revoke gun licenses for gun owners involved in domestic violence or stalking.
Unlike the United States, gun ownership is not enshrined in Canada’s constitution, but guns are still popular, especially in rural parts of the country.
Canada already has stricter rules on gun ownership than its southern neighbor and records fewer gun-related incidents each year.
For example, all firearms must be locked and unloaded and anyone wishing to purchase a firearm must undergo a thorough background check.
But there have been calls in recent years to further tighten gun laws, particularly following a number of fatal shootings.
In April 2020, a gunman posing as a police officer killed 22 people in a shooting in Nova Scotia – the deadliest in Canadian history.
Within days, Mr. Trudeau announced a immediate ban on 1,500 different types of military and assault type weapons.
The new bill would effectively limit the number of legally owned handguns in Canada to current levels.