This project must be submitted to Parliament, where Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal Party is in the minority.

“We are introducing legislation to enforce a nationwide freeze on the possession of handguns,” the Prime Minister said at a press conference, which he gave in the company of several dozen relatives of victims of gun violence. .

“This means that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” he added.

Canada had already banned 1,500 models of military-style firearms after a killing in April 2020, the worst in the country’s history, which left 23 dead in Nova Scotia (east).

According to official statistics, firearms are involved in only 3% of violent crimes in Canada.

But Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino estimates that around one million handguns are circulating in the country, many of them illegally imported from the United States.

“Gun violence is a complex issue,” Trudeau said. “But at the end of the day, the math is actually quite simple: the fewer guns there are in our communities, the safer everyone will be,” he added.

This announcement comes after the massacre at the school in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 children aged 9 to 11 and two teachers perished under the bullets of a teenager who legally bought an assault rifle.

Mr. Trudeau’s proposal was criticized by the Conservative opposition.

“The real problem in this country is not the law-abiding gun owners, who are tightly regulated and tightly controlled,” John Brassard, Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, told AFP. Radio Canada.

“The real problem in this country is gangs and criminals importing guns, mostly from the United States, and using illegal guns on our streets,” he added.

“Today’s announcement does not focus on the root cause of gun violence in our cities: illegal firearms smuggled into Canada by criminal gangs,” Conservative MP Raquel Dancho tweeted. .

The Canadian bill also plans to prevent anyone involved in domestic violence from obtaining a gun license, and to toughen penalties for gun trafficking. Rifle magazines that can hold more than five bullets will also be prohibited.

The Coalition for Gun Control, founded after the murder of 14 women at a Montreal university in 1989, applauded the project.

“The proposed phase-out of private possession of handguns is a major step forward, and shows that the government has listened to the voices of victims,” ​​the organization’s president, Wendy Cukier, said in a statement.