Canada's Handgun 'Freeze' is Really a Slow-Motion Gun Ban

If there was any doubt that the “freeze” on handgun sales instituted by the Trudeau administration is really aimed at ending handgun ownership altogether, a recent letter from a coalition of gun control groups to Canadian senators urging them not to expand an exemption for a handful of competitive shooters should put that uncertainty to rest.


Under the terms of the “freeze” announced by Justin Trudeau last October, purchasing a pistol is off-limits for the vast majority of Canadians. There are a few minor exceptions, however, including for competitive shooters who are actively participating in shooting sports recognized by the International Olympic or Paralympic Committees. That leaves many other competitive shooters unable to recruit new athletes, while existing competitors may not even be able to buy the parts necessary to repair their competition guns if need be.

A representative of the International Practical Shooting Confederation is among those asking that the sport shooting exemption be broadened to include things like IPSC matches, but a coalition of anti-gunners is pushing back on that idea and making it clear that the long-term goal is the eradication of handgun ownership altogether.

Gun-control advocates including the group PolySeSouvient said in a letter to Senate committee members studying the bill that expanding the exemption would put the interests of recreational sport shooters who want to buy new handguns ahead of public safety.

A representative of the National Association of Women and the Law has also written to members of the Senate committee to express opposition to such a wording change.

The committee is reviewing the bill clause by clause after hearing from an array of witnesses.

The letter to senators from PolySeSouvient is signed by others pushing for tighter laws, including Boufeldja Benabdallah, spokesperson for the Quebec Mosque community, and Meaghan Hennegan of Dawson Families for Gun Control.

Amending the bill to further broaden the Olympic exemption “risks completely nullifying the freeze on new handgun acquisitions,” since Canadian law already essentially limits handgun purchases to target shooters, the letter says.

“It would be akin to prohibiting new cars — except for drivers.”


As the anti-gunners point out, self-defense wasn’t a valid reason (according to the Canadian government, anyway) to purchase a pistol even before the handgun “freeze” was announced last year. Instead, if you were approved to possess a pistol you were supposed to use it for target shooting or competitive shooting only.

Yes, broadening the exemption for competitive shooters would lessen the intended impact of the “freeze” ordered by Trudeau, but it wouldn’t impact public safety given that the vast majority of gun-involved crime in Canada involves illegally possessed firearms.

Just like in the United States, the stated purpose of Canadian gun control is the safety of the general public, but the real goal is to make gun ownership itself a crime. Trudeau’s “freeze” didn’t immediately prohibit the possession of handguns, but by banning the vast majority of Canadians from purchasing a pistol in the future it still created a slow-motion gun ban that is designed to make handgun ownership a thing of the past within a generation. Broadening the current exemption beyond IOC and Paralympic shooting sports won’t increase violent crime but it will allow for new handgun owners, and that’s completely unacceptable to the prohibitionists up north.


Their American counterparts would love to be able to impose a similar “freeze” here, but thankfully any such effort would be quickly stymied by both the federal courts and the court of public opinion. If anti-gun Democrats get their way in 2024, however, the Supreme Court could soon be packed full of justices who’ll overturn HellerMcDonald, and Bruen and declare that despite the clear language of the Second Amendment there is no individual right to keep and bear arms. A handgun “freeze” probably wouldn’t be the first action that anti-2A politicians would take afterward, but with nearly half of Democrats nationwide saying they agree that handguns should be banned, it’s a distinct possibility the next time they have complete control of the levers of power in D.C.

Even if they didn’t impose a total ban on pistols, we’ve already seen both gun control activists and federal judges declare that sem-automatic firearms (including handguns) are outside the scope of the Second Amendment’s protections because they’re “like” machine guns. Under that dangerous theory, the vast majority of firearms sold in the United States could be banned while still allowing the politicians who impose that prohibition to declare, however implausibly, that they still support the right to keep and bear arms. Canadian-style gun control may not seem like a big threat at the moment, but one bad election is all it will take to turn the dreams of the gun control lobby into a nightmare for American gun owners.


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