The federal government will temporarily ban import of handguns into Canada starting on Aug. 19, says Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino.
"Given that nearly all our handguns are imported, this means that we're bringing our national handgun freeze into effect even sooner," he said.
The ban will bypass the need for Parliament's approval by using a regulatory measure enacted by Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and will stay in effect until Parliament permanently freezes handgun imports, Mendicino said.
Jolie said at the press conference that as Canada's foreign minister, she has the authority to "deny any export or import permit application" that she deems contrary to Canada's security.
"The import ban that we're announcing today, coupled with Canada's already very strict import controls, will keep handguns off of Canadian streets and out of our school yards," she said.
Mendicino blamed the Conservatives for blocking Liberal efforts to pass Bill C-21 in the past, alleging that that has led to "some of the most devastating shooting tragedies" in the country.
"We are not going to let the Conservatives' obstructionism stand in the way of better protecting our communities and saving lives, and as a government, we are going to act," he said.
The Tories have been critical of the Liberals' gun control policies, including their firearms buyback program, saying it will benefit criminals and punish law-abiding gun owners.
This year, Canada's imports of pistols and revolvers between January and June was up by 52 percent compared to the same time last year, according to government figures.