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OTTAWA, Ontario — Canada plans to temporarily ban the import of handguns into the country without the approval of Parliament, using a regulatory measure that comes into effect in two weeks.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Friday the change will last until a permanent freeze is passed in Parliament and comes into force.

The government introduced gun control legislation in May that includes a national freeze on the importation, purchase, sale and transfer of handguns in Canada but it has not yet passed.

The temporary ban will prevent businesses from importing handguns into Canada with a few exceptions that mirror those in the legislation introduced in May.

As foreign affairs minister, Melanie Joly says she has the authority to ban any import or export permit in Canada.

Government trade data shows Canada imported $26.4 million Canadian worth of pistols and revolvers between January and June — a 52% increase compared to the same period last year.

But much of what little gun violence there is in Canada is via illegal guns smuggled from the United States.