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Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced plans to “freeze handgun ownership” across the nation.
“We’re introducing legislation to implement a national freeze on handgun ownership,” Trudeau said in a speech Monday.
Trudeau explained “it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada.”
Following a roaring applause, the Prime Minister continued, “we need less gun violence. We cannot let the guns debate become so polarized that nothing gets done… we cannot let that happen in our country.”
Canada’s gun control push comes after US suffers two gun massacres in May
The announcement comes as the United States reels from two shooting massacres in May alone.
On May 14th, a White Supremacist gunman traveled hours to Buffalo, NY to open fire on a crowded supermarket. The 18-year-old gunman was able to legally purchase an AR-15. He then used that weapon to target and murder Black shoppers.
Just 10 days later in Uvalde, Texas, an 18-year-old who had also legally purchased an AR-15 went on another shooting rampage. The gunman entered Robb Elementary school, barricaded himself inside of a classroom and murdered 21 people. Nineteen of those people were children. The force of bullets fired by the AR-15 so catastrophically damage the body that parents in Uvalde had to take DNA tests in order to identify their children.
Even in the wake of these two horrific shootings, it remains unclear if the US Government will take any action.
Two bills heading for a vote in the US Senate would strengthen background check laws. However, neither would have prevented the Buffalo or Uvalde shooters from getting their weapons.
Pressure has mounted for officials to re-implement the Assault Weapons Ban to prohibit the sale or production of guns like the AR-15. The Assault Weapons Ban was implemented in 1994, but expired ten years later.
US remains slow to act after mass shootings compared to other countries
In April 2020, after a mass shooting in Canada killed 22, Trudeau immediately moved to ban “1500 types of military-style assault firearms”.
Other countries have also taken similar, immediate measures following mass shootings.
Australia took similar measures after a mass shooting in 1996 left 35 people dead. The country’s conservative prime minister worked with federal and state governments to introduce legislation within 12 days of the shooting.
The nation created a national gun registry, required a permit for all new gun purchases and more. Australia also banned all automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shot guns. It then launched a national, mandatory buy-back program for all banned weapons. Roughly 650,000 guns were purchased from their owners and destroyed.
In the years following the measures, Australia’s homicide and gun violence rates plummeted.
By contrast, in just the one weekend after the Uvalde massacre, the United States endured a dozen mass shootings nationwide.
Early Tuesday, news broke that Democratic Senator Chris Murphy (CT) and Republican Senator John Cornyn (TX) were meeting to discuss the “basic framework” of gun control legislation.
The legislation will require at least 60 votes to be able to pass the US Senate in hopes of becoming law.
The US Congress has not successfully passed gun control legislation since it passed the Assault Weapons Ban 28 years ago.