The ban comes after a recent mass shooting in Nova Scotia
The Prime Minister cited many mass shootings in the country, but it may have been the most recent that occurred in Nova Scotia in April where 22 innocent people were killed that finally tipped the scales.
“Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers,” Trudeau said. “You do not need an AR-15 to take down a deer. 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.”
The Nova Scotia shooter, who was believed to be trying to kill his girlfriend, (who escaped), went on a shooting spree, killing 22 people by shooting them and setting fires, before being killed by police. He had been armed with two semi-automatic rifles and several semi-automatic pistols.
Canada has one of the highest per capita gun ownership rates in the world, an estimated 34.7 firearms per 100 people, the Guardian reported. It still, however, falls far behind the US, which has close to 120 guns per 100 people.
In the US by the end of 2019, there were 417 mass shootings in the US, according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive (GVA). Thirty-one of those shootings were mass murders.
“So, effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade, assault weapons in this country,” Trudeau continued, saying the order has a two-year amnesty period for current owners.
“As long as Canadians are losing their loved ones to gun violence, not enough has changed,” Trudeau echoed back in September. “We know you do not need a military-grade assault weapon, one designed to kill the largest amount of people in the shortest amount of time, to take down a deer.”
Though some believe the prime minister is using the pandemic to push other political agenda items, an “overwhelming majority” majority of Canadians (nearly four out of five) support the ban, according to a poll from the Angus Reid Institute, released Friday.
Canada already has tighter gun control laws than the US which has yet to ban assault rifles. “We have long committed to strengthening gun control in this country, including banning military-style assault weapons,” Trudeau said today. “There is no need in Canada for guns designed to kill the largest amount of people, in the shortest amount of time.”