Canada: Rush to buy guns after hearing about a ‘firearms freeze’

Inset left, a row of guns in a wooden display case. On the right a white man in a black T-shirt with a black pistol in front of a glass pistol case. The main photo in the center shows a white woman with curly brown hair and a black t-shirt behind a wooden desk, behind her guns in a wooden cabinet. In front of her on the desk is a gray pistol in a case.

Canadian Prime Minister’s plans follow mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 school children and two teachers (Image: AFP)

Canadians have flocked to gun stores this week after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed a freeze on handgun sales following last month’s mass shootings in Texas.

If approved, the plans are expected to go into effect in the fall, following a May 2020 ban on assault-style firearms.

Mr Trudeau said: “One Canadian killed at gunpoint is one too many. I have seen only too well the tragic costs that gun violence causes in our communities across the country.

“We are proposing some of the strongest actions in Canadian history to keep guns out of our communities and build a safer future for all.”

However, while the regulations have yet to be passed by the country’s parliament, people have been seen rushing to buy guns ahead of the possible freeze.

Aman Sandhu of Dawson Creek Sportsman’s Club said, “I worry that if I don’t buy one now, I might never have a choice again.”

The agency reports that “within hours” of the prime minister’s announcement on Monday, lines were forming outside gun shops, while others reportedly ran out of guns “within days”.

A wooden cabinet full of rows of assault rifles.

If passed, the measures would be the latest gun control legislation since 2020, when the Prime Minister banned more than 1,500 types of assault rifles (Image: AFP).

A white woman with curly brown hair and a black t-shirt is standing behind a counter with a gun in a suitcase. Behind her is a wooden cabinet with black assault rifles.

Gun shop owner Jen Lavigne said sales were buoyant following news of the government’s proposals (Image: AFP)

Jen Lavigne, co-owner of That Hunting Store in Ottawa, said sales were buoyant following news of the government’s plans.

She said: “We have sold 100 handguns, or almost all of our stock, in the last three days since the Prime Minister announced the freeze.

“This measure will only hurt legal gun owners. It won’t reduce crime because the bad guys don’t play by the rules.’

Josko Kovic, owner of Toronto-based DoubleTap Sports, accused the government of “starting a panic” as people “now rush to buy handguns.”

He added: “Almost all stores are sold out”, including himself.

A selection of handguns on display in a cabinet.

It was reported that “within hours” of Monday’s announcement there were queues outside gun shops (Image: AFP)

A white male in a black shirt with short black hair holds a gray pistol in his hands while standing in front of a pistol display case.

Gun shop owners fear handgun freeze will ‘take away livelihoods and destroy communities’ (Image: AFP)

Another gun shop owner, Darryl Tomlinson of Canadian Gun Guys in Winnipeg, claimed the new proposed handgun policy would “take away livelihoods and disintegrate communities.”

He said: “It’s a catch 22. We’re busy now, but I’m afraid we’ll go out of business in the fall.’

The number of registered handguns in Canada increased by more than 70% between 2010 and 2022 to around 1.1 million.

Other measures proposed by Mr Trudeau’s government include revoking the gun licenses of those involved in domestic violence or criminal harassment and permanently changing long gun magazines so they can only hold up to five rounds.

The proposals follow the May 24 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which killed nineteen schoolchildren and two teachers.

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Justin Scacco

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