OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the federal government is banning a range of models and variances of assault-style guns, like those used in the École Polytechnique massacre.
The cabinet order Trudeau described Friday morning doesn’t forbid owning any of 1,500 ‘military-style’ weapons and their variants, but it does ban the trade in them.
“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.”
Prime Minister Trudeau updates the latest coronavirus measures
Posted by NEWS 1130 on Friday, May 1, 2020
The announcement comes two weeks after the deadliest mass shooting in Canada’s history. On April 18 and 19, 22 people were killed during a gunman’s rampage in Nova Scotia. The weapons used in this attack are included in the list of firearms now banned, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair noted, however, the exact make and model of the long guns used haven’t been publicly released.
Trudeau also listed off a number of other mass shootings, including the Quebec City mosque shooting in 2017, as well as the killings at Dawson College in Montreal in 2006.
The prime minister said there will be a two-year amnesty period for gun owners to give them time to comply with the ban. A compensation program, that will require a bill passed in Parliament, is also in the works, he added.
The Prime Minister says the government is banning 1,500 models of guns in Canada. There will be a 2 year amnesty for current gun owners to give them time to comply #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) May 1, 2020
The order will not apply to hunting-style firearms.
“For many families, including many Indigenous people, firearms are part of traditions passed down through generations. And the vast majority of gun owners use them safely, responsibly, and in accordance with the law, whether it be for work, sport shooting, for collecting, or for hunting,” Trudeau said. “But you don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer.”
“You don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer.” That from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he announces a national ban on the importation/sale of 1,500 models/grades of guns, noting Canadians deserve more than “thoughts and prayers.” #cdnpoli
— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) May 1, 2020
He noted acts of violence, including but not limited to the two mass killings aforementioned, are happening too often, and they need to stop. He said Canadians “deserve more than thoughts and prayers.”
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the horror that unfolded in Nova Scotia in April strengthens the resolve to keep dangerous firearms out of civilians’ hands and off Canadian streets. She said the fetishization makes Canada more dangerous, especially to the most vulnerable people, like women and girls.
Everyone woman listening @cafreeland says knows a time when they were made to feel in harms way – "we all know what that's like". It's unacceptable that in 2020 gender determines if you feel safe in your home or on your street. #bcpoli #cdnpoli
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) May 1, 2020
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said guns that have no use in sport shooting have been a growing part of the Canadian market.
Stricter controls on firearms were a promise in the Liberal’s election campaign platform last fall.
On December 6, 1989, an attacker entered the École Polytechnique with a variant of the Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle, as well as a hunting knife. He killed a total of 15 people — all women — shooting 14 of them.
The man proclaimed, “You’re all feminists and I hate feminists!” during the attack.
It took decades for an official acknowledgment that the École Polytechnique massacre was an attack on feminists.
Tories accuse PM of using current situation to push agenda
Meanwhile, the federal Conservative Party is pushing back at the Liberals, saying the prime minister is using the current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the “immediate emotion” of the Nova Scotia massacre “to push the Liberals’ ideological agenda and make major firearms policy changes.”
In a statement, Tory Leader Andrew Scheer says that’s wrong.
“The Trudeau Liberals have made it clear throughout this crisis that they do not respect the democratic role of Parliament. That cannot continue,” Scheer’s statement reads. “If the Prime Minister has the strength of his convictions, he should wait until the health crisis has passed and introduce legislation in the House of Commons, so that it can be debated, and Canadians’ voices can be heard.”
While he notes Canadians “are rightfully upset” by what took place in Nova Scotia two weeks ago, Scheer’s statement says there are still many questions that remain around the RCMP’s response and whether the tragedy could have been prevented in the first place.
He also pointed out, as has been reported and confirmed by the RCMP, that the gunman in the Nova Scotia shootings obtained the firearms he used without a licence.
“Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally,” Scheer’s statement adds. “The reality is, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms. Nothing the Trudeau Liberals announced today addresses this problem.”
The Conservatives say they will continue to push the government to create a plan that “includes support for police anti-gang and gun units, a CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force, support for courts and prosecutors, tougher sentences for violent offenders, and action on rural crime.”
The Opposition party is also calling on the government to increase mental health and addiction treatment supports.
-With files from Cormac Mac Sweeney, Hana Mae Nassar, Liza Yuzda, and Martin MacMahon