Temporary ban on importation of handguns into Canada now in effect

News release

August 19, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

One Canadian killed or injured by gun violence is one too many. That is why the Government of Canada has a comprehensive plan to keep Canadians safe from gun violence and provide more resources into our communities. Core to this plan is the recently introduced Bill C-21 that, among other measures, would introduce a national freeze on the sale, transfer and ownership of handguns, anywhere in Canada.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, announced that the temporary ban on the importation of restricted handguns is now in effect. This temporary ban means that permits for import-restricted handguns into Canada will no longer be issued to individuals or businesses, subject to narrow exceptions that mirror those in Bill C-21. With stores unable to restock their shelves, these measures will slow the run on handguns until the national handgun freeze proposed in Bill C-21 comes into force.

No single program or initiative can tackle the challenge of gun violence on its own. That is why the Government of Canada is using all the tools at its disposal to fight gun crime and keep Canadians safe.


“All Canadians deserve to feel safe in their communities. As a government, it is our collective responsibility to explore every avenue to make that so. The temporary ban on the importation of handguns is an important measure in our comprehensive plan to build a safer Canada for everyone.”

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“My top priority as minister of public safety is keeping Canadians safe. This temporary ban is further proof that we are using all the tools at our disposal to fight gun crime. It is a key pillar of our plan to address it, along with investments in prevention, action at our borders, a ban on assault-style weapons and Bill C‑21: Canada’s most significant action on gun violence in a generation.”

- Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety

Quick facts

  • Firearms in Canada continue to be regulated by the Firearms Act and Part III of the Criminal Code.

  • Canada imposes import controls over a range of goods. These goods are listed in the Import Control List of the Export and Import Permits Act.

  • Handguns were the most serious weapon present in the majority of firearm-related violent crimes (59%) between 2009 and 2020.

  • The number of registered handguns in Canada increased by 71% between 2010 and 2020, reaching approximately 1.1 million.

  • Budget 2021 provided more than $312 million in new funding to increase firearms tracing capacity and implement stronger border control measures to fight gun smuggling and trafficking.

  • Law enforcement agencies seized more than double the number of firearms at the border in 2021 compared to 2020, which is also the highest number of firearms seized in recent years.

  • The Government of Canada has already tabled regulatory amendments under the Firearms Act that are expected to come into force in Fall 2022.

  • In May 2022, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-21, which proposes several reforms to tackle gun violence in our communities.

Associated links


Adrien Blanchard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada

Audrey Champoux
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety

Public Safety Canada
Media Relations Office
(613) 991-0657
E-mail: ps.mediarelations-relationsaveclesmedias.sp@ps-sp.gc.ca

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