Although Canadian law does not define what an “assault-style” weapon is, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced they were being banned, effective immediately.
Under an order from Trudeau’s government, it is now illegal to buy, sell, transport, import or use any one of the long list of weapons that are banned.
Trudeau said there will be a two-year period for Canadians who are legal gun owners to surrender their weapons, and noted that there would be legislation passed to compensate such individuals.
Legal gun owners are also permitted to to get rid of their weapons by selling them for export.
“As of today, the market for assault weapons in Canada is closed,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “Enough is enough. Banning these firearms will save Canadian lives.”
A full list of the roughly 1,500 models of weapons that are now banned was published by the Canada Gazette.
Trudeau said the action was pending before the current health pandemic, although in announcing the ban, he referenced a shooting in Nova Scotia earlier this month in which 22 people were killed.
In that incident, 13 people were shot dead and nine died in fires allegedly set by Gabriel Wortman, 51, according to CNN. Police say Wortman used guns he obtained illegally, and was not licensed to own a gun.
Trudeau’s action sparked an intense response on Twitter:
Trudeau said there was no justification for owning the weapons he banned.
“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time,” Trudeau said. “There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.”
He rejected the notion that hunters could have a use for the banned weapons.
“You don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer,” he said.
Will this ban make anyone safer?
No handguns were included in the ban.
Rod Giltaca, CEO of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, derided the move as “entirely political.”
“The only people that will lose their guns in this action are licensed gun owners. No criminals will register or turn in a single rifle,” he said in a statement.
“This move is viewed as entirely political.”
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer called the ban “symbolism over substance.”
“We know the Liberal approach is to ask law-abiding firearms owners to follow more laws — that’s lazy and ineffective,” Scheer told the CBC. “It’s easy but lazy.”
“Doing this at a time when Canadians are very concerned about this pandemic is completely unacceptable. Now is not the time to make these major policy changes, especially when they’ve proven so ineffective,” he said.
Citing a government official who spoke on background, the CBC reported that “at the end of the two-year amnesty, gun owners must dispose of the firearm or they may be able apply for the firearm to be ‘grandfathered.’
“Details on the grandfather process would be released at a later date, the official said.”
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