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Canada Bans Assault Weapons in Wake of Deadly Mass Shooting


Nearly two weeks after the deadliest mass shooting in Canada’s history, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday introduced an immediate ban on what he described as “military-style assault weapons.”

“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time,” Mr. Trudeau said. “There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.”

The ban means that Canadians will no longer be able to own rifles like the AR-15, the military-style weapon used in several mass shootings in the United States including those in Newtown, Conn.; Orlando, Fla.; and Parkland, Fla.
By introducing the ban, Mr. Trudeau partly fulfills a gun control promise he made during last year’s federal elections. He said the government had been in the process of introducing an assault weapons ban when its agenda was overturned by the coronavirus pandemic.

In making the announcement, Mr. Trudeau noted several gun killings and repeatedly cited the shooting rampage in rural Nova Scotia that left 23 people dead, including the gunman.

The killer did not have a firearms license and many of his guns and rifles had been smuggled into Canada from the United States, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, highlighting one difficulty Canada may face in enforcing the new measure. The U.S. federal government has not barred assault weapons since a previous ban expired in 2004.

The swift response by Mr. Trudeau to the killings in Nova Scotia stands in contrast to that of officials in the United States, where repeated efforts to renew the now-lapsed assault weapons ban have failed.

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