Ottawa– Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Public Safety, Bill Blair, today announced all “military assault weapons” – a list of some 1500 items including surface to air missiles and rocket launchers – and 11 firearms including the variants thereof.
A two-year amnesty period has been put in place to allow for legislation to be brought forward and an “appropriate” buy-back program put in place before legal owners of the firearms prohibited today must comply with ridding themselves of the firearms.
Beginning immediately, licensed gun owners will not be permitted to sell, buy, transport, import or use the listed firearms, and licensed firearm retailers must also cease the same activities.
“There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada,” said Trudeau.
“Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers,” said Trudeau of the ban.
“Public safety must always be our priority,” said Blair.
According to Statictics Canada, violent crime accounts for 20 per cent of all crime in Canada (firearm related crime falls under the violent crime umbrella) and of that 20 per cent, 3 per cent involves firearms – the bulk of which are illegal.
Legally owned firearms account for +/- 0.18 per cent of all firearm crime across the country – a country that is currently home to some 60,000 legally owned AR-15 rifles.
Additionally, assault weapons have been banned in Canada since 1977.
In October of 2019, the Liberal government campaigned on a promise of this ban, and spoke of the buyback program at that time.
Conservative estimates put the cost of the buyback program at anywhere from $500 million $1 billion to the tax payer – based on those who own the now prohibited firearms being paid fair market value.
Blair said time is needed to create the legislation surrounding a buyback.
“Nothing we are doing today is aimed at legal hunters and target shooters,” said Blair.
You can watch the recorded press conference on any CBC streaming platform.