Canadians are rushing to purchase handguns as the country's parliament considers legislation that would freeze sales, France 24 reported.
The sweeping proposal, unveiled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week, would effectively ban the importation and sale of all handguns. Currently, a restricted firearms license is required to buy a handgun and a separate permit for transportation.
"We're introducing legislation to implement a national freeze on handgun ownership," Trudeau said during a May 30 news conference, according to NDTV.
"What this means is that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada," he said. "In other words, we're capping the market for handguns."
Local Toronto businessman Josko Kovic, the owner of DoubleTap Sports, told the French outlet that Trudeau's announcement has "created a panic" in Canada, particularly in the gun community.
"People are now rushing out to buy handguns," Kovic said. "Almost all stores are sold out, including me."
In Winnipeg, Canadian Gun Guys store owner Darryl Tomlinson said he worries for the future of his business.
"This handgun measure is going to take away livelihoods and break up communities. It's a catch-22; we're busy now, but I fear we're going to be put out of business in the fall," Tomlinson said.
Trudeau sought adjustments in Canada after a string of mass shootings in the bordering United States.
On May 24, 19 children and two teachers were killed by gunman Salvador Ramos at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
A week before the Uvalde shooting, a gunman allegedly motivated by racial hatred killed 10 people and injured another three at a Buffalo supermarket. Eleven of the 13 victims were Black, officials said.
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