Prime Minister Justin Trudeau banned 1,500 different guns effective immediately on Friday morning.
Legal gun owners will have two years to surrender their firearms to the government for “fair compensation,” though no details about the compensation structure were available Friday.
The Liberals have been promising to ban what they call “assault-style weapons” for some time and had included the promise in their election platform.
“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only — only to kill the largest amount of people in the shortest amount of time,” Trudeau said.
“You don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer.”
Variants of the popular AR-15 and Mini-14 models were included on the list.
Canadians can no longer buy, sell, import or transport these guns, unless they are transporting them for the purpose of surrendering them to law enforcement.
“As of today, the market for assault weapons in Canada is closed. Enough is enough — banning these firearms will save Canadian lives,” said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
The Liberal government has refused to define “assault-style weapons” or “military-grade weapons.” The firearms on the prohibition list are semi-automatic rifles, though other semi-automatic guns were not banned through this order-in-council.
Gun rights activists have blamed the Liberals of unfairly targeting law-abiding citizens while ignoring the larger issue of criminal gun violence and policing.
A recent parliamentary petition, which received the most signatures of any in Canadian history, called on the government to bring the issue of gun laws up for debate in the House of Commons and to not resort to an order-in-council which would effectively bypass the democratic process.
“The use of an Order in Council is an egregious overreach of executive authorities, bypassing the democratic process of the House and the elected representatives of Canadians,” claimed petition E-2341.
“This executive order would strip law-abiding Canadians it has approved through the RCMP Canada Firearms Program, of their legally purchased property.”
Several policing experts across the country have also doubted the effectiveness of a gun ban.
In July 2019, Winnipeg Police Inspector Max Waddell said that a ban would not do anything to curb gun violence and that those seeking to break the law would find other ways to do so.
“The reality is, if criminals want to get their hands on [a gun], they’re going to get their hands on it. [A ban is] not going to do anything. It will come from illegal means again. If people wish to get and claim an illegal gun, they’re going to do it,” Waddell told the Winnipeg Sun.