Fresh off his disturbingly authoritarian response to trucker protests against Covid-19 vaccine mandates, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau turned the dystopia dial all to way to 11 on Monday, introducing legislation that would completely freeze the import, purchase or sale of handguns, while compelling compensated forfeitures of "assault weapons."
"Other than using firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada should need guns in their everyday lives."
Flanked by families of shooting victims and a group of officials that included Canada's "Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Youth," Trudeau declared, "It will be illegal to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada."
NOW - PM Trudeau: "It will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer, or import handguns anywhere in Canada."pic.twitter.com/rVd5gWgEtq— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) May 30, 2022
In 2020, Canada similarly banned the sale of more than 1,500 models of so-called "assault weapons." Owners were allowed to keep existing rifles provided they had a permit; others were given a two-year amnesty period in which to turn them in.
While the government estimated that 105,000 weapons were affected by the policy, Canadians had turned in just 160 of them through December 9, 2021. To this point, no compensation has been provided.
Now, under proposed law, most owners of covered rifles will be required to surrender them to the government, via a mandatory buyback program set to begin by the end of 2022. It's unclear how much compensation will be offered.
The proposed legislation would also require rifle and shotgun magazines to be "permanently altered so they can never hold more than five rounds." Canada would also ban the sale or transfer of so-called "large capacity magazines"—which, under Canadian law, would be defined as one that could hold just six rounds or more.
The proposal includes a new "red flag" law by which courts can order individuals considered a danger to themselves or others to surrender their firearms to police.
“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 more difficult to counter,” Trudeau told reporters.
Making his own comparison, Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said, "In Canada, gun ownership is a privilege, not a right. This is a principle that differentiates ourselves from many other countries in the world, notably our colleagues and friends to the south."
The legislation is fully expected to be enacted this fall. Canada's constitution has no equivalent to America's Second Amendment. For the most part, Canadian law only allows handguns to be loaded or fired at shooting ranges; they generally aren't allowed to be carried.
Canada's rapid descent down the slippery slope from banning the sale of assault rifles to ordering the surrender of such rifles and freezing handgun ownership should stand as a stark cautionary tale for current and prospective American gun owners—and for Republican legislators now under pressure to compromise with Democrats on assault rifle bans or other purported "common sense" gun control measures.
On Sunday, Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger announced his willingness to consider a ban on AR-15s. "Look, I have opposed a ban, you know, fairly recently. I think I'm open to a ban now."