Canada Bans Assault Weapons

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an assault weapons ban at a May 1, 2020 press conference.
Source: The Canadian Press Staff, “Trudeau: NHL Players Would Need to Follow Quarantine before Season Could Resume,”, May 3, 2020

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a Cabinet order on May 1, 2020 banning assault-style weapons.

The gun control measure includes about 1,500 models of firearms; an estimated 100,000 weapons that were legal prior to the ban are currently owned by Canadians. The new ban has a two-year amnesty period and compensation will be legislated for owners to dispose of the guns. Gun shops will be able to return weapons to the manufacturers.

“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada,” Prime Minister Trudeau stated. “For many families, including many indigenous people, firearms are part of traditions passed down through generations and the vast majority of gun owners use them safely, responsibly, and in accordance with the law, whether it be for work, sport shooting, for collecting or for hunting, but you don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer. Effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military grade assault weapons in this country.”

Trudeau stated that the legislation will include an option for cities to ban all handguns within city limits.

Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party, stated, “Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally. The reality is, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms. Nothing the Trudeau Liberals announced today addresses this problem.”

The ban follows a 12-hour mass shooting on Apr. 18, 2020 in Nova Scotia in which a gunman shot and killed 13 people, killed nine other people in house fires, and killed or wounded pets found in the homes. The gunman did not have a firearms license and had obtained many of his guns from the United States. He is reported to have had at least one semi-automatic military-style rifle, a second semi-automatic rifle, and several semi-automatic handguns. The shooter was killed by police. The shooting is the deadliest in Canada’s modern history.

Read what the presidential candidates think about an assault weapons ban on’s 2020 Election site.

Discussion Questions – Things to Think About
1. What is your opinion of Canada taking action to ban assault weapons after a mass shooting? Explain your answer.

2. Should the US federal government ban assault-style weapons? Why or why not?

3. Should the US federal government enact any other gun control measures? If yes, state which measures and explain the advantages of each. If no, state why not and explain the disadvantages of popular measures.


Ian Austen, “Canada Bans Assault Weapons in Wake of Deadly Mass Shooting,”, May 1, 2020

Lauren Gardner, “Canada Bans Assault-Style Guns after Nova Scotia Rampage,”, May 1, 2020

Paula Newton, “Canada Bans Assault-Style Weapons after Its Worst Ever Mass Murder,”, May 1, 2020

Rev, “Transcript: Justin Trudeau, Canadian Officials Announce Assault Weapons Ban,”, May 1, 2020