At a press conference on Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new legislation that includes a freeze on the purchase, sale, and transfer of handguns within the country. Trudeau justified his government’s proposal with a reference to last week’s school shooting in Texas, in which an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in an elementary school classroom. The Prime Minister said the ban comes as a response to rising gun violence and remarked, “We need only look south of the border to know that if we do not take action firmly and rapidly it gets worse and worse and gets more difficult to counter.”
Trudeau told reporters Monday that their government and society has a “responsibility to act and prevent more tragedies.” Not only will residents be unable to purchase handguns under the new legislation, but Canadians will also be required to turn in “military style assault weapons.” The Canadian government will additionally require long-gun magazines to be permanently altered so they cannot hold more than five rounds. Under the new legislation, the sale and transfer of large-capacity magazines will also be banned.
The Prime Minister’s newly proposed bill comes two years after Canada’s ban on some 1,500 makes and models of “assault style” weapons. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said of the 2020 ban, “Enough is enough. Banning these firearms will save Canadian lives.” The buyback program announced Monday aims to “offer fair compensation to affected owners and businesses” and accompanies the automatic prohibition of military-style assault weapons.
Existing research on the effectiveness of gun buybacks remains mixed, however. According to research compiled by the Jouranlist’s Resource, an evaluation of a 1992 buyback program in Seattle found no statistical evidence for the program’s reduction on gun violence. From analysis of multiple studies of various buyback programs in the last few decades, buybacks do not directly correlate to a reduction in violent crime. More recent research cited suggests that such programs prove valuable in the “community engagement and education in gun safety” that they provide for the public.
Trudeau’s most recent suppression of rights boasts little to no logic, but conveniently lands on a populace stunned by the events south of the border and all too willing to exchange personal freedoms for “safety.”