Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a sweeping nationwide ban on the use and selling of assault-style weapons Friday, acting aggressively in the wake of a killing spree last month in Nova Scotia that left the gunman and 22 people dead.
The sweeping order covers the popular AR-15 and more than 1,500 assault-weapon models and takes effect immediately, the Canadian leader said. Current gun owners were given a two-year “amnesty” period to comply with the regulations, and Mr. Trudeau said he would ask Parliament to create a compensation fund for those who turn in their firearms.
“Canadians need more than thoughts and prayers,” Mr. Trudeau said. “… “There is no use — and no place — for such weapons in Canada.”
The restrictions, which only require Cabinet approval, will make it illegal to “buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade assault weapons in this country,” Mr. Trudeau said.
Despite its low-crime reputation, Canada has been the site of a number of gun-related mass killings, Mr. Trudeau noted. In the most recent instance, a denture-maker from Nova Scotia went on a killing rampage after an apparent argument with his girlfriend, shooting victims and setting deadly fires before finally dying in a clash with police.
Mr. Trudeau was widely expected to announce the new restrictions, and Canada’s gun-rights activists and the opposition Conservative Party were already mobilizing against the move.
The prime minister “is using the current pandemic and the immediate emotion of the horrific attack in Nova Scotia to push the Liberals’ ideological agenda to make major firearms policy changes,” Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said in a statement. “Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally.”
Canada has one of the world’s highest per capita gun ownership rates, but a new poll Friday showed strong popular support for tougher gun control measures.