On August 28, 2018, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed Bill Blair, his minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, to examine the feasibility of “a full ban on handguns and assault weapons in Canada.” A government website established as part of the public consultation process on this issue confirms that “The Prime Minister has publicly committed to examining all options relating to a handgun ban.”
Handguns are already exhaustively regulated in Canada as either “restricted” or “prohibited” firearms. Among other things, to legally own a restricted or prohibited handgun, a person must have a valid license (Possession and Acquisition Licence) with the requisite restricted or prohibited privileges. (A government website indicates that generally, individuals “in possession of a firearm need a license even if they are not the owner and never handle the firearm.”) License holders must first complete government paperwork, and pass a background check and the mandatory firearm training course; those who wish to possess restricted firearms must also pass the additional Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course. Part of the licensing background check includes an assessment to determine whether the applicant, “within the previous five years,” has been convicted of any of the designated offenses, has been treated for any mental illness associated with actual or threatened violence, or has a “history of behavior” that includes violence, or threatened or attempted violence.