Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a ban on 1,500 types of firearms designated as “assault weapons” by Canada’s federal government, following a mass shooting in Nova Scotia in late April.
“Effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade assault weapons in this country,” Trudeau said at a press conference. Trudeau added that Canada was effectively “closing the market” on certain firearms and categorized several mass shootings that have occurred in Canada as a “stain our conscience.”
The ban will classify various firearms that have been used in mass shootings in Canada and around the world as “prohibited,” including the AR-15 rifle, M14 semi-automatic rifle, Ruger Mini-14, and others.
“From this moment forward, the number of these guns will only decrease in Canada,” Public Safety minister Bill Blair said at the briefing alongside Trudeau. Blair emphasized that the “vast majority” of Canadian gun owners are law-abiding and use their firearms safely.
Canada’s government will implement a buyback program for current legal owners of one or more of the 1,500 types of firearms covered by the ban. Owners will be granted a two-year amnesty during which time they must participate in the buyback program.
Trudeau’s announcement follows the deadliest mass shooting in Canada’s history, during which suspect Gabriel Wortman, 51, killed 22 people in Nova Scotia. Wortman killed nine of the victims by setting their houses on fire, before he was shot dead by police.
Wortman’s motive for the rampage is unclear.
“It appears as if he was just targeting individuals that either he knew or individuals, for whatever reason, that I don’t think any of us will ever understand or comprehend, that when he came across those individuals that he killed them,” Nova Scotia superintendent Darren Campbell said.