AFP- MONTREAL, CANADA- Canada announced Friday that it will ban the importation of firearms from August 19, in an attempt to curb gun violence in the country.
These weapons "have only one purpose, to kill people," Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino said at a press conference announcing the measure.
The government added in a statement that the ban on individuals and businesses is a temporary measure, set to "last until the national freeze comes into force," which is expected to happen in the fall.
The group PolySeSouvient, which represents survivors and families of victims of gun violence, hailed what it called an "important and innovative measure that will undoubtedly delay the expansion of the Canadian firearms market until the bill is passed."
Despite all of Ottawa's moves to try to reduce gun violence, experts remain skeptical about their effectiveness, noting that gun smuggling from the United States is the real problem.
On Wednesday, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced two major seizures in the west of the country of "phantom firearms", which have no serial number and are difficult to trace.
From January 1, 2019, through June 30, 2022, the CBSA Pacific region seized 581 firearms at ports of entry and in international mail shipments.
The announcement comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a proposed "national freeze on gun ownership" in May following recent shootings in the United States that killed 21 people at a Texas elementary school. and 10 in a supermarket in upstate New York.
Trudeau's statement prompted Canadians to rush to gun stores, with long lines in front of these businesses and rapidly depleting stocks.
According to government estimates, there are more than a million pistols and revolvers in Canada, for a population of 38 million people. Some 2,500 stores sell these types of weapons throughout the country.
US – more weapons than people
In the US there are more firearms than people. US gun owners possess 393.3 million weapons, which is higher than the country's population of about 330 million.
The move also comes in the context of a spike in firearm-related crime: this week three homicides were committed in 24 hours in the Montreal region.