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Canada announces immediate ban on "military-grade" assault weapons

At least 16 dead in Canada shooting
At least 16 dead in Canada shooting 02:01

The Canadian government on Friday announced an immediate ban on about 1,500 models of "military-grade" assault weapons. The ban comes less than two weeks after the deadliest mass shooting in the country's history, in which a gunman used weapons that will now be outlawed.

"These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a press conference. "There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada."

He said Canadians "need more than thoughts and prayers."

The ban immediately stops the sale and import of the weapons, as well as all transport unless they are being deactivated or disposed. The government will allow a two-year "amnesty period" for Canadians who already own these weapons to comply with the ban. Trudeau said there will be legislation in the coming months to give "fair compensation" in a buyback program. 

"You don't need an AR-15 to bring down a deer," Trudeau said.

In April, a 51-year-old gunman in Nova Scotia killed 22 people in a weekend spree of shootings and fires, including a veteran police officer, two health care workers and a 17-year-old girl. The rampage ended when police shot and killed the gunman. Authorities said the gunman did not have a license and obtained his weapons illegally. 

Andrew Scheer, the leader of Canada's Conservative Party, condemned Trudeau's ban.

"The vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms," he said in a statement. "Nothing the Trudeau Liberals announced today addresses this problem."

The Canadian Parliament had already been planning stronger gun control measures this year, but it was delayed when the coronavirus pandemic interrupted legislative sessions. 

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