Feds to soon ban AR-15, several other firearms used in mass shootings: sources

Published April 30, 2020 11:11 a.m. ET
Updated April 30, 2020 2:07 p.m. ET

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OTTAWA -- The federal government is set to soon announce a ban on certain assault-style weapons that have been used in past mass shootings, including the AR-15, CTV News has confirmed.

The announcement is expected as early as Friday, and the move has been approved by cabinet. 

Asked about the gun ban on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will have more to say “in the coming days,” and emphasized that it’s been a longstanding commitment of his government. 

The ban includes guns that have been used in past Canadian shootings, including:

  • the Ruger Mini-14 which was used in the Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal in 1989;
  • the M14 semi-automatic which was used in the 2014 Moncton shooting;
  • the Beretta CX4 Storm which was used in the Dawson College shooting; and
  • the CSA-VZ-58 which the gunman attempted to use in the Quebec Mosque shooting. 

As well, the firearms used in the Las Vegas, Orlando and Sandy Hook mass shootings will be on the list of guns that will be banned in Canada, sources said. 

Under current law, adding firearms to the list of banned weapons in Canada can be done through an order-in-council and does not require new legislation. 

In the wake of one of the worst mass killings in Canada that took the lives of 22 people in Nova Scotia earlier this month, Trudeau said he intended on pushing ahead with the Liberal election promise of banning military-style assault weapons.

“There is no need in Canada for guns designed to kill the largest amount of people in the shortest amount of time. That was a commitment we made in the last election, and it's something on which there is a large consensus by Canadians who want to see less violence and fewer deaths of gun violence in this country,” Trudeau said on Thursday.

He has previously said that the federal government was “on the verge” of moving ahead on gun control legislation before the pandemic caused Parliament to suspend.

In an interview on CTV News Channel, Dr. Najma Ahmed with the Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns said this is one important step, but not an ultimate solution.

“We have to address the issue of the proliferation of handguns and we have called specifically for a national ban on handguns, and we hope the government will take steps to enact that,” she said. 

“The effect of these bullets reverberate through communities for decades, and for generations. It's not a natural way to lose one's life and you know families and communities never really recover fully,” said Ahmed. 

Sources said further gun reform legislation will come, but it remains to be seen whether there is the political appetite or even ability to advance major gun policy at a time when the reduced parliamentary sittings are supposed to be focused on COVID-19 response measures.

Expected in future legislation is a buyback program for all military-style assault rifles purchased legally in Canada, tougher safe-storage laws, and strengthened penalties for smuggling guns into Canada.

In the last Parliament the Liberals made changes to the rules related to firearm ownership, including broadening background checks for gun owners, toughening rules around the transportation of handguns, and increasing record-keeping requirements for the sale of firearms. It also repealed changes made by the previous Conservative government and the federal Tories have vowed to reverse these changes. 

With files from CTV News’ Michel Boyer 

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