Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today there will be a ban, effective immediately, on some 1,500 military grade ‘assault style’ weapons. Starting today, May 1st, licensed gun owners will no longer be able to buy, sell, trade, transport, import or use these weapons in Canada.
The Canadian government will also begin the process of a ‘buy-back program’ in which individuals who own these guns will be provided with compensation to turn over their 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,” Trudeau said. “There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.”
Though legislation for this has been in the works for more than a year, this announcement comes less than two weeks after a mass shooting in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia where 22 people lost their lives. When speaking of the deadliest rampage in Canadian history, Trudeau said “Their families deserve more than thoughts and prayers. Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers.”
While reaction to the announcement has been largely positive, it is worth noting that not everyone has been happy to hear this announcement. Conservative Politicians have been very critical of the plan, proclaiming that it infringes on the rights of legal gun owners in Canada. Also, claiming that it’s poorly timed and crass.
Trudeau’s response? “You don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer.”
So what does this mean for Canadians? It means that if you want to be a hunter, you can be so without assault style weaponry. It means that these weapons will no longer be on store shelves. It means that, while we can’t bring and of these people back for their family and friends, we can honour their lives by taking positive steps forward in society.
It is true, more work will need to be done to stop these weapons that are being transported illegally into Canada. But, in my personal opinion, I reckon that steps are already being taken to stop the illegal import of these guns. I also reckon it’d be a pretty stupid move on behalf of the government or any law enforcement agency to publicly announce their plan for stopping the illegal weapon imports. If the criminal enterprise can watch law enforcement plans on television, they can easily stay five steps ahead. It’s a delicate game that needs to be done in the strictest of confidence to protect the lives of law enforcement and all Canadians. So please don’t expect plans to stop the illegal spread of guns be broadcasted for the world to hear.
My personal take? It’s about fucking time. The Prime Minister is right, Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers. I touched last year on a story about how two teenagers legally purchased an assault rifle and went on a murderous rampage throughout Northern BC, lead RCMP on a cross country manhunt and turned their gun on themselves after they were cornered in rural northern Manitoba. Something I didn’t touch on that was released months after their bodies were found was that they left detailed suicide notes explaining how many more murders they planned to commit that they didn’t get too because the police caught onto them too quickly.
From BC to Nova Scotia, if we can save even one more life, it’s a worthwhile investment in our country’s future.