Measures to freeze the number of handguns in Canada took effect on Friday, the federal public safety minister announced in a social media post.
“Canada’s national handgun freeze takes effect today!” Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino wrote on Twitter. “It is now illegal to buy, sell or transfer a handgun anywhere in Canada.”
In May, the Liberals announced a plan to implement a freeze on importing, buying, selling or otherwise transferring handguns in order to help quell firearm-related violence.
At the time, Mendicino tabled regulatory amendments in both the House of Commons and the Senate.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mendicino were expected to hold a news conference in the Vancouver area later Friday to discuss the move.
However, accompanying legislative measures have yet to be approved by Parliament.
The legislation would allow elite sport shooters to continue to buy handguns — an exemption some want expanded to include a wider range of recreational shooters.
Justice Minister David Lametti at a separate event in Montreal also confirmed the regulations had come into effect while criticizing any effort to ease the freeze.
“It is worrisome and even shocking to see an attempt of reducing the extent of this bill and giving more space to handguns,” Lametti said in French.
“We are here exactly to reduce the number of handguns in our streets.”