Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday a ban on some 1,500 makes and models of military-grade “assault-style” weapons in Canada, a ban that is effective immediately.
Starting today, licensed gun owners will no longer be allowed to sell, transport, import or use these sort of weapons in this country.
“As of today, the market for assault weapons in Canada is closed,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said. “Enough is enough — banning these firearms will save Canadian lives.”
Trudeau said there will be a two-year amnesty period for people who already own these firearms to comply with the ban. Trudeau promised to pass legislation in the coming months to provide “fair compensation” for people who own these firearms.
The Liberal Party promised some sort of buyback program in the last election, something that could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
By April 2022, all Canadians must be in compliance with the law, Justice Minister David Lametti said, adding that gun owners that have not disposed of their banned firearms could face criminal sanctions under the criminal code.
While there is an amnesty period, the firearms cannot be used anywhere as of today. Lametti said firearms owners may return the firearms to the manufacturer or export them as part of a sale between now and 2022.
“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only — only to kill the largest amount of people in the shortest amount of time,” Trudeau said.
While he acknowledged that most firearms owners are law-abiding citizens, he said hunters don’t need this sort of fire power.
“You don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer,” he said.
Radio-Canada obtained an early draft of a list of firarms that will be included in that 1,500 figure. Firearms like the M16, M4, AR-10 and AR-15 rifles will be banned; those styles were used in the Sandy Hook, New Zealand, Las Vegas and Orlando mass shootings. There are an estimated 83,572 in Canada.
The Ruger Mini-14s, the type of firearm used in the École Polytechnique shooting, is also on the list. There are an estimated 16,859 in Canada.
The M14 rifle, used in the Moncton shooting, is also expected to be banned. There are an estimated 5,229 in Canada.
The department will hold a technical briefing with reporters later today on the changes, which are expected to be enacted by an order-in-council, or cabinet decree.