Canada has banned assault-style guns with immediate effect, two weeks after 22 people were murdered by a gunman in Nova Scotia.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the ban late on Friday, saying “Canadians need more than thoughts and prayers” in response to mass shootings.
More than 1,500 models of assault-style guns are included in the ban, including the AR-15 and others that have been used in many mass shootings in neighbouring USA.
“You do not need an AR-15 to take down a deer,” Trudeau said. “So, effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade, assault weapons in this country.”
The move includes a two-year amnesty period while the government creates a program that will allow current owners to receive compensation for turning in the designated firearms or keep them through a grandfathering process yet to be worked out.
Under these terms the guns can only be transferred or transported within Canada for specific purposes. Owners must keep the guns securely stored until there is more information on the buyback program.
Unlike in the US, mass shootings are relatively rare in Canada, but Trudeau enacted the measure following one of the worst mass shootings in the country’s history. 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, shot 13 people to death and set fires that killed nine others on April 20.