On May 30, Canada’s Trudeau government announced a sweeping new bill intended to freeze the sale of handguns in Canada. If passed it will be illegal to “buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere” in the nation.
While the proposed law is intended to limit the amount of handguns circulating in the country, the announcement of the bill has had the opposite effect; handgun sales are surging in Canada. Canadians are flocking to firearms retailers in a bid to secure a handgun before the proposed law comes into effect.
Ted Feller, owner of Marksman Gun and Sports, in Lethbridge, Alberta says sales of handguns surged immediately following the announcement of the national ban.
“[We sold] more than half a dozen handguns in the first two hours of the business day today, and we’ve got three more on hold for people that are coming in,” Feller told CTV News.
In Canada there are approximately 2,500 retailers that sell handguns. Feller says he expects to sell numerous handguns over the coming days, but understands that, following the surge, business is likely to dry up.
“As early as a week or 10 days from now. They’re all going to be put on hold,” Feller said, adding that, “There’s going to be no selling, no trading, no buying, no turning them back, so it’s going to create a problem after this initial day rush.”
Feller is not alone. A fellow firearms dealer is experiencing a surge in sales as well.
Section 8 Sports, also located in Lethbridge, said customers were lining up from the front desk to the door to purchase a handgun legally for the last time.
Saskatchewan dealers see surge in gun sales
In the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, a similar uptick in handgun sales is currently underway.
Kevin Kopp who operates North Pro Sports in Saskatoon says business immediately surged following the announcement of the ban.
“The new proposed handgun legislation has created quite a fervour to buy,” he told iheartradio.
“If you were thinking of purchasing a handgun in the last four months, you’re looking to buy it today,” he added.
Kopp says his inventory is dwindling and that he has increased his orders in an attempt to keep up with demand.
Back Forty Guns and Gear, another retailer in Saskatoon, is also experiencing a surge in sales.
“In the last two days probably, I would say minimum 60 percent increase in sales for our small little store,” an employee at the store, Lance Kelsey said.
“People are panicking because just like any time, once bad legislation comes in, people panic and they want to get in before they cannot buy a firearm,” Kelsey said.
Freeze hurts law abiding owners
Alberta’s chief firearms officer, Teri Bryant told CTV News Calgary that the national handgun freeze will only hurt law abiding gun owners.
“On top of the regular possession and acquisition licence, you need to do additional training in order to obtain a restricted possession and acquisition licence,” he explained, adding that, “We already have laws that I think were very strict.”
In 2019, the Trudeau government made addressing gun violence, that is surging in the nation, a key part of his party’s re-election platform.
“Gun violence is a complex problem, but at the end of the day the math is quite simple: The fewer the guns in our communities, the safer everyone will be,” Trudeau said while unveiling the sweeping new law.
Approximately 55,000 new handguns are imported into Canada each year and the Trudeau government believes that cutting off legal trade and use of handguns will help prevent them from getting into the wrong hands.
According to Stats Canada, over the past 11 years, firearm related homicides have surged by 37 percent, and handguns were the most commonly used weapon however, the majority of handguns used in the crimes were not legally obtained.