Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino announced on Friday that the federal government plans to expedite a ban on the import of firearms into the country without parliamentary approval through a regulatory measure that will take effect in two weeks.
The change will remain in effect until the final freeze is passed by Parliament and takes effect.
In May, the government introduced a gun control law that includes a national ban on the importation, purchase, sale and transfer of firearms in Canada.
This legislation was not passed before Parliament took the summer recess, and it will be debated again when MPs return to Ottawa in the fall.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Melanie Jolie said she has the power to ban any import or export permits in Canada.
“Working with Marco, we came up with the idea of creating this new permit system,” Jolie said. “But for now, we will be denying any permissions.”
The temporary ban will prevent businesses from importing handguns into Canada, with some exceptions that are similar to the provisions of the law introduced in May.
“Given that almost all of our firearms are imported, this means we will freeze our national firearms even faster,” Mendicino said. “From now on, the number of handguns in Canada will only decrease.”
Imports of firearms increased
Government trade data shows that Canada imported $26.4 million worth of handguns and revolvers between January and June, up 52% from the same period last year.
PolySeSouvient, a group representing survivors and families of victims of gun violence, hailed the government’s approach to freezing imports in a statement released Friday.
“This is an important and creative measure that will surely slow the expansion of the Canadian firearms market until Bill C-21 is passed, hopefully this fall,” said Natalie Provost, survivor of the 1989 Montreal Polytechnic shooting. year.
Liberals blame conservatives for delaying legislation
Conservative public safety critic Raquel Dancho said the move targeted law-abiding citizens and businesses, not illegal and smuggled weapons.
“Instead of addressing the true source of gun crime in Canada, the Liberal government is unilaterally banning imports without parliamentary input, affecting a multi-billion dollar industry and thousands of retailers and small businesses with little to no notice,” Dancho said in a statement. . after the announcement.
In a statement, Mendicino accused the official opposition of obstructing the passage of the bill and other gun control measures. Meanwhile, Dancho said that conservatives support the fight against illegal gun smuggling and accused liberals of creating a wedge of gun control, making the population less safe.
Mendicino said he visited land borders over the summer to make sure the government had the manpower and technology to fight arms smuggling.