Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Tuesday called for sweeping measures, amendments to an existing gun control law, that would permit municipalities to ban handguns and institute a new federal buy-back program.
“You can’t fight gun violence or any violence on just one front,” Trudeau said during a press conference. “You can’t fight it without addressing its root causes.”
The legislation not only includes increased penalties for established illegal activities like gun trafficking but tighter restrictions on importing ammunition and increased policing authority.
The bill backs municipalities in creating bylaws that make the possession, storage, and transportations of handguns illegal.
Chief Firearms Officers would also have the authority to suspend or revoke gun licenses if there are “reasonable grounds to suspect” an individual is no longer eligible to maintain their license. This would allow authorities to investigate individuals reported by friends or family members under a new “yellow flag” law.
“Gun ownership in Canada, in this country, is a privilege and not a right. It’s a privilege that’s predicated on the strict adherence to our laws, our regulations, and our restrictions,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told Canada-based news outlet News 1130.
Police and border officials would additionally be able to share licensing and registration data to investigate matters involving firearms, particularly when it comes to gun smuggling along Canada’s southern border with the United States.
“Canadians called for these bold steps, we heard you and we are taking action,” Trudeau said, adding that a buy-back program will be introduced “in the coming weeks” to get gets firearms off of the streets.
“We are not targeting law-abiding citizens who own guns to go hunting or for sport,” the prime minister said. “The measures we are enforcing are concrete and practical and they have one goal, and one goal only: protecting you, your family, and your community.”
The legislation announced Tuesday is in addition to a ban on over 1,500 varieties of “assault-style” firearms Trudeau introduced in May of last year.