A week after the May 24 primary school shooting in Texas, USA, another country with one of the highest per capita gun ownership rates in the world: Canada, is leading the way in gun control.
According to CBC News, the Canadian federal government has introduced a bill into Parliament that would ban the import, trade, and transport of handguns nationwide. It is said to be part of a package aimed at gun control in Canada, which would also limit the magazine capacity of firearms and ban some replica handguns.
The bill is expected to be passed in Parliament as the Liberal Party and the New People's Party form a coalition in the Chamber of Deputies and have a majority in the parliamentary vote.
On May 30, local time, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the media that the government needs to take new measures to prevent and control gun violence as it increases. He suggested that "we only need to look at the United States to see that if we don't act quickly and firmly, it's going to get worse and harder and harder to fight back."
Reuters reports that while Canada's gun murder rate is less than 1/5th that of the U.S., it is higher than other developed countries and has been on the rise. In 2020, Canada's gun murder rate was five times higher than Australia's.
According to Statistics Canada, the number of violent gun-related crimes in the country has been on the rise since 2015. A report released by the agency on Friday showed that the rate of gun-related murders in Canada has risen from 26 % in 2013 to 37 % in 2020. Notably, there will be twice as many gun-related incidents in 2020 as in 2010.
In addition, to freeze handgun sales, Canada's new bill will ban some imitation guns. Last week, Toronto police shot and killed a man carrying an imitation shotgun. Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti sued, "Because the man was carrying an imitation gun that looked just like a real gun, police need to treat these imitation guns like real guns. This led to a tragic outcome."
As a country where hunting is common, Canada has one of the highest rates of gun ownership per capita in the world. According to the 2018 Small Arms Survey, it was estimated at the time that Canada held 34.7 firearms for every 100 people. A ban on the sale and use of some 1,500 assault weapons, including AR-15 rifles, was introduced in Canada two years ago following a mass shooting in Nova Scotia.
Although not moving as fast as Canada, the US is also pushing hard for a ban on assault weapons. Every time a deadly gun tragedy occurs, US lawmakers reopen the debate on gun control. However, attempts by Congress to significantly tighten gun control policies have been repeatedly defeated for nearly a decade.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden said he hoped Republicans would seriously consider possible ways to reform gun control, The Guardian reported. But judging by the results of the past decade, Biden still has a long way to go when it comes to gun control.
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