MONTREAL: Canada announced on Friday it will ban the import of handguns beginning on August 19, as part of a wider proposed freeze in the wake of high-profile mass shootings in the United States.
Such guns "have one purpose and one purpose only and that is to kill people," Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told a press briefing announcing the move. Global Affairs Canada added in a statement that the ban for businesses and individuals was a temporary measure, set to "last until the national freeze comes into force," which is expected to happen by the fall.
The announcement was welcomed by arms control group PolySeSouvient, which called it an "important and innovative measure that will undoubtedly slow the expansion of the Canadian handgun market pending the passage" of the handgun freeze.
Experts remain skeptical about the effectiveness of gun control measures taken by Ottawa, pointing to the smuggling of guns from the neighbouring United States as the real problem. On Wednesday, the Canada Border Services Agency announced two major seizures in western Canada of "ghost guns," which have no serial numbers and are difficult to trace.