Written by Prakriti Panwar, a grade 11 student.
On 18th April 2020, Canada witnessed one of its worst-ever mass shootings. The killer, Gabriel Wortman managed to take the lives of 22 innocent people and set fires at 16 various locations, in the Nova Scotia province of the country. All this destruction and grief was caused just because a few guns fell into the hands of the wrong person. Subsequently, on May 1st, 2020, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau announced a ban on assault-type firearms, with immediate effect. This bold decision was in response to the shooting. It is now an offense to buy, sell, import, export or use military-grade assault weapons in Canada for any purpose other than official.
Gabriel Wortman was armed with two semi-automatic rifles and several ‘assault-type’ pistols. It was confirmed by his ex-partner that he posed as a police officer, carried a fake car, and was armed. Wortman was Denturist by profession, and it was found that some of his victims had interacted with him in the past. However, quite a few of the other victims were unknown to him, and seemed to have been picked randomly Reports and investigations also revealed that Gabriel’s killing was ‘methodical’, and that he started the attacks by setting fire to his neighbours’ houses. Though he escaped the police for a short while, Wortman was soon spotted in a gas station and shot dead.
What are Assault Rifles?
Assault rifles are military-grade arms that are extremely light and easy to carry. These are capable of producing strong fires and are mostly semi-automatic, which means that they can reload themselves. Such heavy artillery is usually meant only for military purposes.
Since the assault-type firearms were used for Nova Scotia’s gruesome shooting, Trudeau took the next logical action of completely banning such arms. Citizens have also been provided a two year amnesty period, which allows them to give up such firearms without being punished by the law, in case they possess any.
The government also plans to strengthen gun storage laws, and to introduce, what called,‘red flag laws’. Red flag laws give courts the authority to allow the police to confiscate arms from someone who is considered dangerous to themselves or to society. The same system is followed in the US as well. This was seen as necessary because the current ‘Firearms Act’ does not specify and distinguish between various kinds of pistols and rifles clearly.
In his statement, Trudeau, while referring to assault-type firearms, mentioned that “there is no place for such weapons in Canada.” Evidently, he did take all possible measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. Trudeau has been the leader of the Liberal Party since 2013 and came into power as the Prime Minister of Canada in 2015. His father, Pierre Trudeau too was a former politician and Prime Minister for four terms. Currently completing his second term as Prime Minister, Trudeau’s ideals emphasize equal economic opportunity, respect for diversity, and addressing climate change.
Written by Prakriti Panwar
Prakriti is fifteen years old. She studies in Navy Children School, Mumbai, and just finished her board exams.
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