After Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposal to freeze pistol sales, handgun sales have soared in the country.
In the wake of a series of high-profile mass shootings in the United States, Trudeau’s government had introduced legislation that would put a freeze on importing, buying, or selling handguns.
Soon after he made the announcement, several gun stores in British Columbia province saw lines out the door. Not only this, but other shops across Canada also said they sold out within days.
Jen Lavigne, co-owner of That Hunting Store, told news agency AFP that “Sales have been brisk.” She added, “We sold 100 handguns, or almost our entire stock, in the last three days, since the prime minister announced the freeze.”
“The government announcement created a panic, and people are now rushing out to buy handguns,” according to DoubleTap Sports’ owner Josko Kovic.
Ottawa resident Aman Sandhu checked store after store for a handgun in Canada’s British Columbia, hoping to make a purchase before a freeze on sales takes effect, but struggled to find one in stock. “I’m concerned that if I don’t buy one now, I may never have the choice again,” Sandhu, a member of the Dawson Creek Sportsman’s Club, told AFP.
Sandhu expressed his concern about the new rules and potentially heavy penalties. “Jeez, if I slip up, I could screw up the rest of my firearms ownership,” he said, describing a handful of long guns in his collection.
Canada, which has a population of 38 million people, has 2,500 stores that sell pistols and there are more than one million handguns in the country. The new regulations are expected to come into force in the fall, along with a border crackdown on weapons smuggling from the United States.
“We are capping the number of handguns in this country,” Trudeau said on 30th May, citing “a level of gun violence in our communities that is unacceptable.”