Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a nationwide ban on military-style assault weapons.
This new ruling will make it illegal to sell, transport, or use 1,500 varieties of assault weapons, according to BBC News. The ban will take effect immediately, but there will be a two year amnesty period for owners of these weapons. After the two years, owners of assault weapons, like an AR-15, will be able to turn their guns in through a buyback program. Through this method, they will be compensated for the weapons they turn in. If they choose not to turn in their weapons, licensed owners may be able to get their weapons grandfathered. More details on either method will be available once details of the ban have been finalized.
“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time,” said Trudeau in a May.1 press conference. “There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.”
This ban comes a few weeks after a gunman in Nova Scotia murdered 22 from Apr. 18 – 19. The shooter used semi-automatic rifles and handguns during his attack.
“Their families deserve more than thoughts and prayers,” Trudeau said of the killed victims. “Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers.”
Currently, to receive a firearms license in Canada, one must provide character references, undergo background checks, and pass a series of tests, according to Vox.
With the announced ban has come criticism from Trudeau’s political opponents. “Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally,” argued Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. “The reality is, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms.”
While the Nova Scotia shooter did not have a firearms license, many gun control advocates – like Wendy Cukier, who is the president of the Coalition for Gun Control – state that the majority of Canada’s mass shootings have involved legally owned rifles.
“Most mass shooters are law abiding until they are not,” Cukier said via The New York Times.