Canada Freezes Handgun Transfers and Imports

Canadian Minister for Public Safety Marco Mendicino has announced a ban on handgun transfers and imports until permanent legislation can be passed. The Canadian House of Commons tabled Bill C-21 before its summer break, but the members are expected to act on the bill in September.

Handguns on display. Handgun freeze
Handguns displayed at a Maple Ridge, British Columbia gun store. (Reuters)

Trudeau’s Gun Control Agenda

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government has made draconian gun control a top priority since a mass murderer killed 22 people in Nova Scotia in 2020. Trudeau unilaterally banned AR-15s and other so-called “assault weapons” immediately after the incident. The Canadian government has rolled out a “buyback” program to entice citizens who own the now prohibited firearms to give them up. How successful that program will be remains to be seen. The ban on handgun transfers and imports is next on the Prime Minister’s list.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Canada Handgun
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems determined to ban all civilian gun ownership. (

Bill C-21: Handgun Ban and More

Parliament took up Bill C-21 after the murders in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. When passed, and it will pass, C-21 will ban the sale, transfer, and importation of all handguns for the civilian market. It’s unclear whether current handgun owners will be able to pass those firearms on to their children. As usual, the cops and government agencies are exempt.

The bill also implements a Red Flag law that allows anyone to file a complaint leading to the seizure of anyone else’s firearms, crossbows, ammunition, or anything else the serving officer perceives as dangerous. Even worse, law enforcement has the option to seize property without a warrant if deemed necessary. All in the name of safety, of course.

Canada handgun freeze

As usual, the measures will hit law-abiding gun owners the hardest. Bill C-21 does raise the maximum penalty for “indictable weapons offenses” from ten years to 14, but criminals are unlikely to care about an additional four years on top of whatever else they might be sentenced for.

Meanwhile, the average Joe who inadvertently runs afoul of Trudeau and Mendicino’s increasingly intricate gun control can look forward to an even stiffer sentence. That applies to toy or replica guns that are indistinguishable from real prohibited firearms. Yep, you can go to prison for 14 years for having an inoperable replica of a banned gun.

A Preemptive Strike

The current freeze takes effect on August 19. It is a response to the understandable rush to buy handguns before Bill C-21 is enacted. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly controls import and export permits. Joly said she wants to prevent gun stores from restocking their shelves after they deplete their stocks. She also, obviously, means to stymie more sales before the expected transfer ban.

Canadian officials Marco Mendicino, Melanie Joly, and Yvan Baker. Canada Handgun
No handguns for you! Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino announces the freeze on handgun transfers and imports. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and Liberal Member of Parliament Yvan Baker flank Mendicino. (Robert Krbavac/CBC)

Though the freeze is temporary, its stated purpose shows it to be an administrative tactic to impose aspects of Bill C-21 before it actually passes the Parliament. It’s similar to an Executive Order or Executive Action in the United States.

Outright Handgun Ban

Canada’s police chiefs do not believe C-21 will curb crime. Don’t be surprised if Trudeau responds with a complete handgun ban. He probably already has it planned. After all, most criminals don’t get their guns legally. Even Mendicino acknowledges that fact. While I don’t doubt Trudeau and Mendicino want to reduce crime, I also think they see the opportunity for near-universal disarmament as a bonus.

Canadian flag
Trudeau’s Canada seems more authoritarian than ever with this new freeze. (Shutterstock)

In announcing the freeze, Mendicino said that handguns “have one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to kill people.” Never mind their utility for self-defense. You may recall Mendicino from Trudeau’s May press conference announcing his intent to ban the transfer of handguns. He’s the sycophantic bobblehead in the mask looking lovingly upon the Prime Minister as he detailed his anti-liberty scheme.

Now, with this freeze, he and Joly, no doubt with Trudeau’s blessing, have continued their Dear Leader’s penchant for heavy-handed executive action. But that’s what tyrants do. Parliament isn’t moving fast enough, so the boot comes down. Seems it’s the trendy thing to do these days.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.


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