The Slatest

Canada Bans 1,500 Models of “Assault-Style” Weapons After Mass Shooting

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comments on the shooting in Nova Scotia during a news conference April 20, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comments on the shooting in Nova Scotia during a news conference April 20, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. DAVE CHAN/Getty Images

Canada is implementing an immediate ban on the use and trade of assault-style weapons, less than a month after one of its deadliest mass shooting in history killed 22 people. “Today we are closing the market for military grade assault weapons in Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said as he announced the decision that covers 1,500 models and variants of assault-style weapons. “These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.”

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The order would not forbid people from owning any of the 1,500 models or variants of the military-style weapons, but it does forbid their use and prohibits their trade. And as of today, the clock starts ticking as owners have a two-year amnesty period to dispose of their weapons while lawmakers work on a bill that would amount to a compensation program. Anyone who has not gotten rid of their weapon by 2022 could face sanctions. There is a possibility that owners will be able to apply to keep the weapon, but the details are still under discussion.

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Trudeau said the measure would be implemented by regulation and would not require approval from lawmakers . That raised the ire of some in the opposition who said the government was unveiling a big policy change when the coronavirus has caused Parliament to pretty much shut down.

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Trudeau justified the measure by citing several mass shootings, ending with the one in Nova Scotia last month, when a 51-year.old gunman shot 13 people to death and set fires that killed nine others. “Assault-style firearms designed for military use have no place in Canada,” Trudeau said. “By removing them from our streets, we will limit the devastating effects of gun-related violence and help make our country safer.” Authorities have not specified what guns were used in the Nova Scotia rampage but officials said two of the long guns that were used are now banned. “As of today the market for assault weapons is closed,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said. “Enough is enough. Banning these firearms will save Canadian lives.”

Trudeau had vowed to approve stricter gun control measures during the federal election last year. And on Friday he said that the new rules had been slated to be announced in March but it ended up being delayed due to the coronavirus. Although Trudeau acknowledged most firearm owners are responsible, “You don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer.” Andrew Scheer, the interim head of the opposition Conservative Party, accused Trudeau of  using the “immediate emotion of the horrific attack in Nova Scotia to push the Liberals’ ideological agenda and make major firearms policy changes.”

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