/Canadian Handgun Ban Wouldn’t Cause Much Pain For U.S. Gun Makers
Canadian Handgun Ban Wouldn’t Cause Much Pain For U.S. Gun Makers

Canadian Handgun Ban Wouldn’t Cause Much Pain For U.S. Gun Makers


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced sweeping gun control legislation including a “national freeze” on the sale of handguns Monday, and, though Canada is one of the largest importers of U.S. handguns, American firearm manufacturers don’t stand to be strongly impacted.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pictured at a 2021 press conference in Ottawa.

AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

Trudeau said the measures would make it impossible “to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” also proposing to limit magazine capacity, take away gun licenses for domestic violence abusers and raise criminal penalties for gun smuggling and trafficking.

The legislation was inspired by the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, last week that killed 19 children and two teachers, as Trudeau said Monday, “We need only look south of the border” to explain the timing of the legislation.

Aside from any political fallout, the proposed handgun ban would ding sales for American manufacturers and pose headaches for local law enforcement.

In 2021, the U.S. was by far the largest exporter of pistols and revolvers to Canada, accounting for 60.9% of imports by value, according to Canadian government data.

Canada was the fourth-largest importer by value of American revolvers and pistols in 2021, importing $18.2 million worth of the firearms, according to data from the U.S. International Trade Commission.

But that pales compared to the U.S. market, as Americans purchased 19.9 million guns in 2021 alone, according to estimates from Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting.

Even before Trudeau announced the tightening legislation, illegal guns at the border were an issue: Canada Border Services Agency seized more than twice as many firearms in 2021 than in 2020, taking 1,122 guns last year.

Key Background

In 2020, a gunman killed 22 in Nova Scotia, the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history. Weeks later, Trudeau banned 1,500 kinds of military and assault weapons. In the wake of the Uvalde shooting, American lawmakers including President Joe Biden have pushed for further gun control legislation, though it is unlikely there will be any legislation brought to the Senate any time soon.

Big Number

12.7 million. That’s how many civilian-owned firearms are in Canada – including 10.6 unregistered guns – according to estimates from the Small Arms Survey research group published in 2018. The rate of privately held firearms in Canada is about a quarter of that of the U.S., according to the Small Arms Survey.


Earlier this month, Canadian law enforcement seized a drone crossing from the U.S. into Ontario carrying a shopping bag with 11 handguns, most of which were banned models in Canada.

Further Reading

Is the US’s gun problem becoming Canada’s gun problem? (Guardian)

No Gun Vote Soon, Schumer Signals — Here’s Where Gun Legislation Stands In The Senate (Forbes)

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