In the aftermath of the deadliest shooting in Canada’s history, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised Monday that his government would strengthen gun control legislation once Parliament reconvenes.
“I can say that we were on the verge of introducing legislation to ban assault-style weapons across this country,” Trudeau said, per The Washington Post. “It was interrupted when the pandemic caused Parliament to be suspended, but we have every intention of moving forward on that measure, and potentially other measures, when Parliament returns.”
Canada’s Parliament has been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
During his reelection campaign last year, Trudeau pledged to ban all military-style assault rifles if he was voted back into office.
“As long as Canadians are losing their loved ones to gun violence, not enough has changed,” Trudeau said on the campaign trail in September 2019, The Guardian reported. “We know you do not need a military-grade assault weapon, one designed to kill the largest amount of people in the shortest amount of time, to take down a deer.”
Trudeau’s Liberal Party won enough seats in October to form a minority government.
A gunman went on a shooting rampage in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on Sunday, killing at least 18 people before being killed during a confrontation with police.
Prior to Sunday, the deadliest shooting in Canada had taken place in 1989 when a gunman killed 14 women and himself at Ecole Polytechnique college in Montreal.
Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Monday that the government was committed to strengthening gun laws as soon as possible, but said he couldn’t provide an exact timeline because of the ongoing pandemic.
“There have been far too many incidents of gun violence in our country and we are working hard to make sure that we put the measures in place that significantly reduce those incidents and keep people safe,” Blair said, CTV News reported.
“The actual schedule for bringing forward that legislation, that is still to be determined simply because we are in uncertain times in Parliament,” he added. “But it doesn’t in any way imply that we are any less committed to taking the steps that are necessary to keep Canadians safe.”