Fewer guns mean safer communities. That’s why the Canadian Government is implementing some of the strongest gun control measures in a generation. Handguns are the weapon of choice in most firearm-related crimes, which is why limiting the number of handguns is a critical part of our plan to protect Canadians from gun violence.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the national freeze on the sale, purchase and transfer of handguns will come into effect. From now on, people cannot buy, sell or transfer handguns within Canada, and they cannot bring newly acquired handguns into the country.

A national handgun freeze was first announced with Bill C-21, the strongest gun control measures in over 40 years, in May 2022. While the bill is still being debated in Parliament, we are acting immediately through regulations to Keeping Canadians safe.

The national handgun freeze is part of the government’s comprehensive plan to tackle gun violence. We have already banned over 1,500 types of assault-style firearms and strengthened our gun control laws to expand background checks. Bill C-21 proposes additional measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands such as revoking the firearms licenses of those involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, continuing to fight gun smuggling and trafficking, and more provide law enforcement tools to investigate firearm crimes. .

Gun violence takes many lives. We will continue to work with provinces, territories, indigenous communities, and municipalities to keep Canadians safe. We will continue to do what it takes to keep guns out of our communities and build a safer country, for everyone.


“Canadians have the right to feel safe in their homes, schools, and places of worship. With gun violence on the rise across Canada, it is imperative that we take urgent action to remove these deadly weapons from our communities. Today, we are keeping more guns out of our communities, and keeping our children safe.”

The Rt. The Honorable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“Our government is taking the most significant action in Canada on gun violence in a generation. We promised Canada that they would act – and we are. The national freeze will address the alarming role handguns play in crime, gender-based violence, and more. We are using all the tools at our disposal to fight gun violence and we will not rest until Canadians feel safe in their communities.”

The Hon. Marco EL Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety

Quick Facts

  • Handguns were used in 59 per cent of violent crime involving firearms between 2009 and 2020, and there are 70 per cent more handguns in Canada today than in 2010.
  • Over 3,500 firearm thefts were reported in 2018.
  • One in three women and girls killed by an abuser is murdered with a gun.
  • Applications submitted before October 21, 2022, to buy, sell or transfer a handgun within Canada will continue to be processed.
  • Limited exemptions from the national handgun freeze will be in effect. For example, high-performance sports shooting athletes and those who carry handguns as part of their legal profession, as well as authorized businesses such as gunsmiths, the film industry, or museums, will be exempt according to their license conditions.
  • The temporary ban on the importation of handguns into Canada, which took effect on August 19, 2022, remains in place.
  • Under the temporary Canadian import ban, authorized businesses and individuals may import handguns for personal use, sale or transfer only if the end use meets the exemptions and conditions listed above and detailed in Notice to Importers No. 1090.
  • Since 2016, the Government of Canada has invested nearly $1 billion to address gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of gangs and criminals, including supporting work to crack down on gun smuggling at our border.
  • These investments are already making a difference. Last year, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) made the highest number of gun seizures at the border.

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