While in the United States the attempts to modify the existing laws on the sale of weapons are still in an embryonic phase, in Canada the reaction to the massacre last week in a school in Uvalde, Texas, with 19 children and two adults dead, has been much more forceful. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week announced a measure that would ban the buying and selling of pistols domestically, as well as importing or trading them.

The new legislation proposed by Trudeau would also force the current owners of assault weapons to return them to the Government in a buyback program, in a new twist to the existing restrictions in the country of 38 million inhabitants.

“As a government, as a society, we have a responsibility to act to prevent further tragedies,” Trudeau said. “We just need to look south of the border to know that if we don’t take action, firmly and quickly, it will get worse and harder to counter.” It is also a new step taken by the Administration of the Canadian ‘premier’ after the massacre that occurred in Nova Scotia in 2020, when a shooter killed 22 people.

His response is similar to the measure imposed by the New Zealand government in 2019 after the massacre of 51 people in Christchurch in two mosques. In just the first day since the initiative was launched, more than 150 automatic weapon owners volunteered to sell their weapons to the government. In Australia, the massacre that killed 35 people in Port Arthur in 1996 prompted the government to collect more than 650,000 semi-automatic rifles and shotguns after enforcing a law that banned them.

In Ottawa, the climate is favorable for the bill to be signed, a measure that would affect thousands of owners in a country where it is estimated that there are almost 13 million legal and illegal weapons, according to data from the ‘Small Arms Survey ‘ of 2017. That means that there are about 34.7 firearms per 100 inhabitants, a figure that in the US rises to 120.5 per 100 inhabitants. That is, more pistols, rifles and machine guns than people.

That is why it sounds utopian to achieve something similar south of the border, and even more so with the Second Amendment of the Constitution protecting the right of citizens to own weapons to protect themselves. At the moment, the hope for those who yearn for a change passes through the meetings between Republican and Democratic senators. A meeting via Zoom was scheduled for Tuesday to set the parameters for what could be a law that somewhat restricts the sale of military-style assault weapons.

Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has tasked his Texas counterpart, John Cornyn, with leading negotiations with Democrats to “establish a framework” to work on” next week. of the United States, Joe Biden, has been optimistic about the process and has praised the figure of Cornyn, whom he has called a “reasonable politician” and the right person to achieve some progress. “I think that in his party they have recognized that we cannot continue like this,” he said.

For his part, Chris Murphy, the Democratic senator from Connecticut, is more skeptical. “I have participated in enough negotiations of this kind that we will know by the end of next week whether we are serious or not,” he said. The truth is that there is an urgency to reduce mass shootings. It has not only been Uvalde, but the massacre in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in May, and in a church in California. So far this year, the count has risen to 230, on track for a record.

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