© Reuters. A Wanstall Hunting & Shooting customer compares handguns after the Canadian government introduced legislation imposing a “national freeze” on the sale and purchase of handguns as part of a gun control package that would also limit magazine capacity.


By Nia Williams

(Reuters) – The Canadian government on Monday introduced legislation to implement a national ban on the sale and purchase of handguns as part of a gun control package that will also limit magazine capabilities and ban some toys that look like guns.

The new law comes just one week after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in their classroom in Ovaldi, Texas.

Here are the key details of Canada’s gun control laws:

Are guns illegal in Canada?

No. Canada has stricter gun laws than the United States, but Canadians are allowed to own firearms provided they are licensed. Restricted or prohibited firearms, such as handguns, must also be registered.

Canadians must be over 18 and complete a gun safety training course to obtain a license that is renewed every five years.

Children ages 12-17 can obtain a minor’s license, which allows them to borrow unrestricted firearms, such as most rifles or shotguns, for hunting or shooting competitions, and to purchase ammunition.

Exceptions can be made for children under the age of 12, including Aboriginal children, who have to search for themselves and provide for their families.

Indigenous peoples who engage in traditional hunting practices may not need to take a gun safety course if it is too remote or too expensive. Alternatively, they can apply for an alternative certification on the recommendation of a senior in the community confirming that they have the required competency in firearms.

Canada banned the sale and use of about 1,500 models of assault weapons, including the AR-15 rifle, two years ago after a mass shooting in Portapique, Nova Scotia.

How many guns are in canada?

The number of handguns registered in Canada rose 71 percent to about 1.1 million between 2010 and 2020, according to the federal government.

The 2017 Small Arms Survey estimates that there are 12.7 million civilian-owned firearms in Canada, and there are an estimated 34.7 firearms per 100 residents.

Where is gun possession concentrated?

More than 2.2 million people held gun licenses in 2020, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Most of these were in Ontario and Quebec, the most densely populated provinces, followed by the western provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.

A 2019 survey by Angus Read found that most rifles in Canada are found in rural areas and are used for hunting and recreational shooting.

How many people die from gun violence in Canada?

The University of Washington Institute for Health Measurement and Evaluation (IHME) said in a 2021 analysis that Canada’s gun homicide rate is 0.5 per 100,000 people, compared to the United States’ rate of 4.12.

How many recent mass shootings have there been in Canada?

1989 – 14 female engineering students are murdered in a classroom at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec.

1992 – A colleague at Concordia University in Montreal shoots four professors.

2006 – A gunman kills a woman and wounds 19 others in a shooting at Dawson College in Montreal.

2016 – A teenager kills four people in La Loche, Saskatchewan.

2017: Six Muslims are killed in a Quebec City mosque shooting.

2020 – A gunman driving a fake police car kills 13 people and kills nine others in a fire in Portapique, Nova Scotia.

Is there an objection to stronger control of the gun?

A March 2021 Leger poll found that 66% of respondents said there should be stricter gun controls in Canada.

Gun rights activists oppose the latest measures. The Canadian Firearms Rights Coalition described the new legislation as a “small blow.”

Terry Bryant, Alberta’s chief firearms officer, said the government’s proposed freeze on handgun sales was a “massive intrusion” on property rights and privacy, calling it a “virtuous mark” from the government.

She called for more weapons officers to be appointed to ensure a faster and more comprehensive review instead.