This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday that Canada is banning 1,500 “assault” rifles effective immediately.
“Today, we are closing the market for military-grade assault weapons in Canada. We are banning 1,500 models and variants of these firearms by way of regulations,” Trudeau announced.
“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada,” Trudeau continued.
“Effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade assault weapons in this country,” he added.
Existing gun owners will be given a two-year “amnesty period” to take action to comply with the law.
Trudeau’s decision takes place one week after a deadly mass shooting in Nova Scotia. The suspect, Gabriel Wortman, used two semi-automatic rifles and numerous semi-automatic handguns in a two-day rampage on April 18 and 19 that left 22 people dead.
Canadians own an estimated 34.7 firearms per 100 people, according to Small Arms Survey’s 2018 estimates, making it one of the highest per-capita firearm ownership rates globally. In contrast, per-capita firearm ownership in the U.S. is 120 per 100 people.
On Thursday, Trudeau said that gun control legislation has been prepared for more than a month before parliament was forced into a pause on March 13 amid the coronavirus pandemic, ABC News reported.
“We have long committed to strengthening gun control in this country, including banning military-style assault weapons,” Trudeau said, adding that a “large consensus by Canadians” desired the ban.
A new poll released Friday from the research nonprofit Angus Reid Institute found that four in five Canadians support a complete ban of “assault weapons” from civilians. Approximately 65 percent voiced “strong support”for such a ban, while another 13 percent said they supported a ban. Just 22 percent opposed or strongly opposed the ban.