Proposed federal legislation freezing sale, imports of handguns draws criticism from Winnipeg gun owner

New legislation tabled by the federal government is taking aim at handgun ownership.

Tabled Monday afternoon, the bill is a mix of federal measures that didn’t pass before last year’s election and adds some new proposals made during the campaign.

“We are introducing legislation to implement a national freeze on handgun ownership,” announced Trudeau at the conference. “This means it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada.”

It’s concerning news for Darryl Tomlinson, a gunsmith at The Canadian Gun Guys.

He said a freeze on handguns would cut half his business and unfairly target legal owners.

Tomlinson said buying a gun in Canada isn’t easy and can take quite a while.

“You already have to have the licence, which means you are already vetted by CSIS and deemed not a criminal and not a danger to society,” said Tomlinson.

Tomlinson noted he places importance on gun safety and claims most crimes aren’t committed by legal owners.

At the news conference, Trudeau also announced an increased effort to stop the trafficking of illegal guns into Canada, including stiffer penalties for smuggling firearms.

“We know our efforts are working because last year our agencies intercepted nearly double the amount of firearms than the year before,” he said.

Frank Cormier, a criminologist and department head at the University of Manitoba, said Canada doesn’t really know where criminals’ guns are coming from.

He believes more data recording needs to take place; something Statistics Canada says it’s working on improving.

“You know, firearms that are used in criminal events or homicides and that kind of thing, we don’t know how many are illegally obtained and brought in from the US,” said Cormier.

As for Tomlinson, he’s now waiting to see if the legislation passes.

“It’s a losing battle, and all we can do is encourage education in the firearm industry, and hopefully, we get back to where we used to be,” he said.

Also included in the tabled changes is a new “red flag” law allowing courts to take away firearms from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Firearms licences from those involved in domestic violence or criminal harassment could be taken away if the legislation passes.

The Liberals also say they will require long-gun magazines to be permanently altered so they can never hold more than five rounds and ban the sale and transfer of large-capacity magazines under the Criminal Code.

-With files from The Canadian Press. 

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