Justin Trudeau pledges to ban all military-style assault rifles

Justin Trudeau

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is promising to ban all military-style assault rifles as part of a broader gun-control plan that would also take steps towards giving cities more powers to restrict and ban handguns.

Trudeau made the pledge Friday in Toronto as he tried to get his campaign back on track after spending Thursday apologizing for wearing blackface years ago.

The announcement took place in the city's Greektown neighbourhood, where a gunman killed two people and wounded 13 others last year. The issue of gun control is important for many voters in Toronto, which is also a critical region for the Liberals' re-election hopes in next month's election.

Trudeau said the pledge to ban assault rifles includes outlawing the semi-automatic AR-15, the weapon used in many recent mass shootings in the United States.

``We know you do not need a military-grade assault weapon, one designed to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time, to take down a deer,'' Trudeau said.

He said in 2017 there were 2,500 more victims of gun violence in Canada than in 2013. Trudeau also acknowledged that despite his government's efforts not enough has been done to address the issue.

Under the plan, the Liberals pledged to work with provinces and territories to empower municipalities to further restrict or ban handguns.

Trudeau promised to protect the rights of law-abiding hunters and vowed not to re-establish the long-gun registry that was scrapped by the previous Conservative government.

The proposal also includes pledges to create a buy-back program for all legally purchased assault rifles and a two-year amnesty while the program is being set up.