The federal Liberal government says it will extend an amnesty order on guns it prohibited in the wake of the deadly 2020 Nova Scotia shooting rampage for an extra two years.
Public Safety Canada quietly updated its website about the yet-to-be-developed firearms buyback program on Wednesday, saying the amnesty period that was set to expire at the end of the month will remain in place until Oct. 30, 2025.
The amnesty applies to those who own one of the more than 1,500 models of guns that Ottawa announced it was banning, saying “assault-style” firearms, such as the AR-15, have no place in communities.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the ban in May 2020, days after a gunman in Nova Scotia committed the deadliest mass shooting in modern Canadian history.
At the time, the Liberals promised to compensate those who own such weapons through a buyback program, which the parliamentary budget officer said in 2021 would cost upwards of $750 million.
The amnesty order was initially set to expire in spring 2022, but the Liberals extended it to this October, saying that a buyback program was still in the works.
Former public safety minister Marco Mendicino announced in April that his department was beginning to work on the first phase of that program, starting with sorting out how to compensate retailers.
In a statement, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the government is “committed to putting in place a firearms buyback program that will allow law abiding gun owners to turn in their firearms and be compensated.”
“While we work on putting it in place, we made the decision to extend the amnesty order to October 30, 2025,” Jean-Sébastien Comeau said in an email on Wednesday.
Trudeau had promised to ban what the Liberals called “military-style assault” firearms and establish a buyback program during the 2019 federal election that won him his second mandate.
The Liberals made a similar promise during their last successful election campaign in 2021.
Elections law stipulates that the next fixed date for a federal contest is Oct. 20, 2025, though an election could be called before then.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 11, 2023.