In this file photo, motorists from St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, wait to go through US Customs at Calais, Maine. ©AP
Ottawa has urged American tourists not to bring along the firearms they freely carry at home amid a surge in violent crimes that Canadian authorities blame on the smuggling of handguns from the US.
In a Monday statement, the Canada Border Services Agency highlighted relatively strict firearms laws in the country, reminding American visitors that “Canadian laws are different than US ones.”
The “use of firearms for personal protection, or protection of property is not deemed a valid purpose to import firearms into Canada,” said the statement. “Non-restricted firearms can be used for hunting purposes and protection against wildlife in remote areas.”
Besides firearms, the statement further listed the switchblades, nunchucks, crossbows, blowguns and brass knuckles as among the banned weapons in Canada.
Authorities in Ottawa have linked a recent spike in violent crimes such as homicide to arms smuggling from the United States.
The statement comes in the wake of two separate incidents where gun-toting American citizens denied carrying weapons at a border checkpoint before crossing into Canada.
However, border guards seized several handguns, a shotgun and loose ammunition after they searched their vehicles.
The two men were fined more than Can$1,000 ($775 US) and dismissed from Canada along with their wives.
Government figures have shown that the number of guns confiscated at the border increased to 413 in the first half of this year, up from 386 in the same period in 2015.
The US itself has recently seen a series of deadly shootings that is blamed by critics on the country’s gun control laws.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), firearms are the cause of death for more than 33,000 people in the United States every year, a number that includes accidental discharge, murder and suicides.
It is estimated that there are between 270 million and 300 million guns in the US, about one per person, according to the New York Daily News.