Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is banning a range of assault-style guns, with an order that takes effect immediately.
The cabinet order he described in a Friday-morning announcement doesn’t forbid owning any of 1,500 “military-style” weapons and their variants but it does forbid them to be used and halts the trade in them.
“Today we are closing the market for military grade assault weapons in Canada,” Trudeau said.
He said the order has a two-year amnesty period for current owners, and there will be a compensation program that will require a bill passed in Parliament.
In the meantime, they can be exported, returned to manufacturers, and transported only to deactivate them or get rid of them. In certain limited circumstances, they can be used for hunting.
Trudeau cited numerous mass shootings, from Ecole Polytechnique in 1989 to the killings in Nova Scotia last week, as the reasons for the move. Some guns have legitimate uses, including in recreational shooting, he said, “but you don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer.”
Stricter controls on firearms were promised in the Liberals’ election campaign platform last fall.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said guns that have no use in sport shooting have been a growing part of the Canadian market. The former chief of the Toronto police said he’s heard concerns about the militarization of police forces and that’s a direct response to the militarization of society.