Written by: Angelo Cruz
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would be banning assault-style rifles during his national address on May 1.
The ban introduced will include up to 1,500 variants and models of assault rifles and certain assault-style weapons.
“Effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import, or use military-grade assault weapons in the country,” said Trudeau during his address.
In addition to the ban, Trudeau is giving registered gun owners two years to comply with the ban and to provide a “fair compensation” for those who currently own the guns listed in the ban list.
“Banning these firearms will save Canadian lives,” said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
“As of today, the market for assault-style weapons in Canada is closed “.
What is the legal definition of an “Assault-style” weapon?
As of this moment, there is no definitive legal definition for which firearms classify as an “assault-style” weapon, so those terms would have to be defined when the new regulations come into effect.
The guns referred to as “assault-style” are typically semi-automatic guns that have ammunition magazines and are built to fire at a fast speed.
When the ban was announced Trudeau acknowledged that most Canadians that are legal firearm owners are law-abiding citizens, but also stated that guns of this nature are not necessary to own.
“There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada,” said Trudeau when addressing the act of owning these types of weapons.
“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time”.
The ban was announced in response to Nova Scotia
The decision to enact the weapon ban was made in the wake of the Nova Scotia shooting that occurred on April 18.
The incident is recognized as the worst mass shooting in Canada’s history, as it resulted in the deaths of 22 people.
“Their families deserve more than thoughts and prayers. Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers,” said Trudeau regarding the victims of the Nova Scotia shooting and all of Canada’s past incidents.
“These tragedies reverberate still. They shape our identity, they stain our conscience, they make adults out of children and the heartbreaking truth is they’re happening more often than they once did”
Criticisms towards the ban from Opposition Parties
The decision made by Trudeau and the government has seen criticism from politicians and gun owners.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer called the decision by Trudeau “lazy and ineffective” when interviewed.
“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.”
When it comes to illegal firearm possession in Canada, a majority of them are obtained in the U.S. illegally.
In the case of the Nova Scotia shooter, it is reported that he was an unlicensed gun owner and that he too illegally obtained the firearms used in the U.S.
When asked if border control was going to be reinforced when it comes to smuggling firearms into the country, Trudeau said that the government was looking into the matter and that measures were in the works.
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