All across Canada, citizens looking to purchase a firearm are now finding handguns hard to come by, thanks to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's proposal to "cap" ownership. That's right — the most aggressive firearm restrictions "in a generation" announced at the end of May have caused so many residents of the Great White North to go purchase a firearm that there aren't many left to be found.
As The Toronto Star reported on Tuesday — a week after Trudeau made his announcement:
A week after the federal government proposed to freeze handgun sales and bring in tougher measures to curb illegal gun violence, gun vendors say handguns are flying off the shelves.
“It’s insane,” said an employee at a York Region firearms store.
Sales are “going crazy,” said Sylvia Shi, manager of Solely Outdoors in Markham.
“It’s very busy. We sold over a couple of hundred handguns in three days,” she said, adding business has “more than tripled” the usual pace, before politely saying she had no more time to speak.
At G4C Sports Gun Store Canada in Markham, nobody had time for an interview because “we are all busy doing transfers for handgun sales,” said one employee, adding the store had to bring shipping department staff in to help with transfers.
The Star's is just one anecdotal bit of coverage backed up by similar stories from multiple provinces.
In British Columbia, AFP reported that gun stores "saw lines out the door within hours of the liberal leader's declaration" that "has pushed some Canadians to rush out to gun stores while they still can." Another BC warehouse manager told CBC News that his "store had sold out of all the handguns it had by noon" on the day following Trudeau's announcement. At another firearm retailer in Vancouver, its website "has a note posted saying the store is closed until further notice as staff 'works relentlessly to get all the current orders processed.'"
In Canada's Capital of Ottowa, Ontario, one strip-mall retailer reported that "we sold 100 handguns, or almost our entire stock, in the last three days, since the prime minister announced the freeze." Another shop owner in Toronto said that following Trudeau's proposal, "[p]eople are now rushing out to buy handguns. Almost all stores are sold out, including me."
The rush for those with appropriate licenses to procure firearms is good news for retailers — for now — but some sellers worry that this may be their last hurrah. One such is the owner of a store in Winnipeg: "This handgun measure is going to take away livelihoods and break up communities," he said. "It's a Catch-22; we're busy now, but I fear we're going to be put out of business in the fall."
Over in Calgary, Alberta, Global News reported that a range and retail owner had sold — just between his two locations — 1,000 handguns in the week after Trudeau laid out his new supposedly brilliant gun "control" plan. The range in Calgary, where shelves "used to be packed with handguns" for sale — but they've all been purchased and "all that’s left are used ones people have brought in to sell."
In each report from across Canada, some version of the same point was made: lawful firearm owners are not the problem, and should not be punished by Trudeau's government for the crimes committed by — no surprise — criminals.
While it surely wasn't his intention, it turns out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might go down as the most successful gun salesman in Canada's history.