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Canada bans 1,500 models of military-style assault weapon after mass shooting

Mass shootings are less common in Canada than in the US “but the heartbreaking truth is, they’re happening more often than they once did,” the prime minister said.

SNS | New Delhi |

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced an immediate ban on military-grade assault weapons, responding to a mass shooting and arson spree that left 22 people dead last month.

During a press conference, PM Trudeau said, “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 added that his government has approved a decree banning the sale, purchase, use, transport and import of 1,500 models of military-grade assault weapons and variants of them.

“There is no use, and no place for such weapons in Canada,” he said.

The killing spree, the worst in Canadian history, began on the night of April 18 in Nova Scotia and led to a 13-hour manhunt for the shooter, who was eventually shot dead by police.

Police identified the gunman, as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman. He died roughly 14 hours later after being shot by police at a gas station outside Halifax, 100 kilometers (60 miles) away.

Trudeau said there will be a two-year amnesty for people who currently own assault-style weapons to protect them from liability, and parliament will eventually pass legislation to compensate them for turning in their guns.

“For many families, including 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, sports shooting for collecting or for hunting,” Trudeau said.

Mass shootings are less common in Canada than in the US “but the heartbreaking truth is, they’re happening more often than they once did,” the prime minister said.

Last year, in October, a gunman opened fire at a house party in Orinda, California that was an Airbnb rental that left four men and a woman dead.

In June 2019, four people were injured after a shooting at the NBA championship celebration for the Toronto Raptors.

Toronto is relatively a safe region. But in 2018, the city experienced a surge in gun violence with the number of homicides caused by shootings going up significantly.

(With inputs from agency)