Liberals announce a ban on 1500 firearms

UPDATE 2:45 PM: The original story has been updated to include commentary from the premier and Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

by Stephen Dafoe

On Friday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the ban of over 1,500 models and varients of what he calls “assault-style,” firearms including nine categories of firearms and two types identified by characteristic. The announcement also prohibits some firearms components.

For non-firearms owners, the terminology can be confusing. An assault rifle is a rifle that has selective-fire capability allowing the weapon to fire in bursts or automatic mode. These firearms, long prohibited under Canadian law already because of select-fire ability, are not the same as the “assault-syle” firearms banned Friday.

Just what is an “assault-style” firearm varies somewhat; however, for government purposes, it is typically defined as a semi-automatic rifle that can accept detachable magazines and modifications. None of the newly banned firearms have the select-fire capability, the defining characteristic of an assault rifle.

Under Friday’s ban, which affects many previously legal models used for hunting and sport shooting, the identified firearms and components are illegal to be used, sold, or imported.

The federal government says the new measures will remove dangerous firearms designed for military use from communities, ensuring that Canadians no longer suffer from gun violence.

“Because of gun violence, people are dying, families are grieving, and communities are suffering,” Trudeau said Friday. “It must end. Assault-style firearms designed for military use have no place in Canada. By removing them from our streets, we will limit the devastating effects of gun-related violence and help make our country safer.”

Until a federal buyback program is in place, owners of the now prohibited firearms must continue to store them safely. Friday’s announcement includes a two-year transition period to protect those who own the now-prohibited firearms from criminal liability.

The government says Indigenous firearms owners, exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights to hunt, and for those who hunt or trap to sustain themselves or their families, are exempt until a suitable replacement can be found. However, at the end of the amnesty period, Apr 30, 2022, all firearms owners must comply with the ban.

CONSERVATIVE RESPONSE

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer accused Trudeau of using the current pandemic and the immediate emotion of the Nova Scotia attack to push what he calls the Liberals’ “ideological agenda” to make significant firearms changes.

“The Trudeau Liberals have made it clear throughout this crisis that they do not respect the democratic role of Parliament,” Scheer said. “That cannot continue. If the Prime Minister has the strength of his convictions, he should wait until the health crisis has passed and introduce legislation in the House of Commons so that it can be debated, and Canadians’ voices can be heard.”

Scheer said Canadians are rightly upset by the horrific attack in Nova Scotia and want answers as to why a province-wide alert was not immediately issued during the attack.

“As the RCMP has made clear, the [Nova Scotia] shooter did not have a firearms licence, so all of his guns were illegal,” Scheer said. “Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally.”

Scheer went on to say illegally obtained firearms are used in the vast majority of gun crimes.

“Nothing the Trudeau Liberals announced today addresses this problem,” Scheer said.

ALBERTA RESPONSE

Premier Jason Kenney and Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer issued a joint statement Friday afternoon on the Liberal announcement.

“The Government of Alberta is concerned about all crime, including the illegal use of firearms. Today’s order by Ottawa does little to target criminals. Instead, Ottawa is singling out law-abiding Canadians who purchased their property legally, have owned these items safely for years, and who have committed no crimes,” Kenney said in the release.

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The Premier went on to say the overwhelming majority of firearms used criminally in Canada are smuggled in illegally from the United States.

“Instead of addressing this, Ottawa will instead spend vast sums of money to criminalize law-abiding Canadians. That money would be far better used to pursue the smugglers and drug gangs that plague our society,” Kenney said.

Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer said violent criminals who use guns are often released with surprisingly soft sentences.

“Rather than focus on law-abiding Canadians, we’d call on Parliament to bring back tough, mandatory sentences for the criminals who flagrantly endanger Canadians with their use of illegal guns,” Schweitzer said.

The Premier said his government is actively considering appointing Alberta’s own chief firearms officer (CFO) to replace the CFO appointed by Ottawa in response to the federal announcmeent.

LOCAL RESPONSE

Local hunter and target shooter David LeBel called Friday’s announcement the most misleading Order In Council he had ever heard. LeBel said he feels the definition of assault weapons has been changed by the government to help persuade the uninformed.

“Many of the talking points are already written into law,” LeBel said, adding that for decades, real assault weapons have been prohibited, as well as high capacity magazines. “Many of the firearms on the list are legitimate hunting rifles, or in some cases, pest rifles. Firearms, so weak that they cannot be used to hunt an 80-pound antelope because of their lack of lethal force, are now prohibited. I’m talking gopher guns.”

LeBel encourages Canadians to go through Statistics Canada to see that firearms in the hands of legal gun owners do not cause death.

“This Order In Council is a blatant abuse of power to virtue signal on behalf of the party in an expensive move that will do absolutely nothing to deter fatalities in Canada,” LeBel said. “For many Canadians from East to West, this is the line in the sand.”

There are currently more than 100,000 restricted firearms among models now prohibited. That figure does not include other newly-prohibited models that were not subject to registration requirements.

A full list of now banned firearms can be found at https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6880974-Canada-Gazette-May-1-2020-Part-II.html

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35 Comments

    • he used an order in Council, which is supposed to be for minor changes to laws. He is bypassing any debate, and actual research into it. Something this far reaching is supposed to be passed through the regular channels, and since he is operating a minority government, bypass the democratic process.

    • If you look at any media poll, he’s not doing what most Canadians want, he’s the leader of a minority government. The UCP is a majority government. You can’t circumvent democracy. That’s the difference between the two.

    • ipsos Reid has been proven to centre around staunch liberal risings. I said media poll, where every Canadian with internet access can have a say. Global has one right now at 80% against the new law with over 60k votes.

    • Personally stopping 1500 assault weapons into Canada is a good thing!
      Unless it’s for military work, police what the f does anyone need an assault rifle for?!?!

      I get hunting rifles and shotguns, but larger weapons or ones that fire multiple rounds per second really have no use to general public

    • Angela Hick-Ewing there’s already no automatic weapons allowed in Canada. And they also banned previously non restricted rifles

    • Dustan McLean This is in no way democracy, this is a decision that has affected hundreds of thousands of Canadians without any vote on the matter. That is not democracy. Steven power referencing one poll does not make it accurate. I’ve taken dozens of polls on these issues over the last few years since the liberals started this anti-gun crusade and every single one has ended with similar results around 75-85% against more restrictions, 15-25% for more and a few times you’ll get that odd 1-2% who say not sure. These were not left leaning outlets either. It was everything from radio stations, news outlets you name it. With that said I wouldn’t use these to state that for a fact this is what most Canadians wanted because at no point did the majority of Canadians ever vote in these polls. Polls are a good way to get a sense of what people want or feel but I would say in no way should they be used as evidence for what the majority of people want.

    • Brenda Schwabe Santrock not sure the criminals that commit the violent crimes will obey these bans…..much the reason they’re criminals to begin with

    • Brenda Schwabe Santrock illegal guns are just that and not as hard to come by as you may think. I personally think banning firearms and making the law stricter towards law abiding citizens will do nothing for the crime rate involving guns except make it harder for a person to protect their family when the time comes. But that’s an opinion. We all have them

    • This doesn’t make it more difficult to obtain an illegal gun though. Stats show most illegal guns come from the US. How will this circumvent that at all?

    • Brenda Schwabe Santrock I’m just curious, are you aware of the current process to obtaining a fire arms license in Canada? I ask because in order to legally obtain firearms you must have a PAL in which you have to first take and pass a course of safe use, handling and storage of firearms. Where as in the states this is not required. So to say we could end up like the states is a bit of a stretch. You must know how to safely handle, and store firearms before ever obtaining them here. Now that’s not to say their are some bad apples out their who are not following these safe practices but for the most part and for many firearm owners I know, we take this very seriously because it should be taken seriously.

      Thanks have a good night!

    • Sorry also the fact that the liberal did this through an order in council and not through means of a democratic process should concern everyone, not just firearm owners.

  1. Maybe those who are all agree abt a ban on these firearms need to look at all the firearms the law enforcement agencies have had stolen or misplaced.

    Firearms researcher Dennis Young obtained a list of the number of guns lost or stolen by police or public agencies from 2005 through 2019 and the numbers might shock you.

  2. I wish they made heroin, meth and cocaine illegal … we need those off the street ….just a thought…… criminals will be criminals… banning things only work with law abiding citizens…

      • Drugs vs guns meant to kill people in short order; apples and oranges. I would like to see all drugs decriminalized, it’s a losing battle. I don’t want my neighbor, or any citizen, owning assault rifles. That being said, I do not support how the Liberal Party are changing the laws, it really does need to go through Parliament so that it gets the attention it deserves and proper representation.

  3. I have no problem anyone owning a gun if it’s for hunting I have family who are hunters would never ever want them to loss there right to hunt but come on people do we really needAssault weapons high powered guns I think not I do how ever know people are still going to get these guns into Canada just hopefully it will be more difficult

  4. So here is my thought on this… Tell J.T. that all he needs to do is BAN CRIME! then reasonable gun owners can keep their guns and the criminals will not kill anyone and Canada will be a safe place to live. This would have stopped the gunman in Nova Scotia (who had an order not to possess or be near a gun) from doing an unthinkable act of sadness. So let’s start here today and petition J.T. and the Liberals to simply ban crime. Oh, maybe that’s already in place. But banning crime makes sense to me. Just think, in banning crime we don’t have to worry about polls and we don’t have to worry about the government passing laws on the sly. Just sayin…

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