There is no place for military assault rifles in Canada.

That was the message from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday morning.

Trudeau made the comments during the media question period of his COVID-19 briefing.

“There is no place in Canada for gun specifically designed to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time,” Trudeau said. “That is why we are moving forward with a ban on military assault rifles.”

Earlier this week, Trudeau announced a total ban on 1,500 models and variants of military-style assault rifles. The move comes after 22 people were killed during a rampage in Nova Scotia.

The newly announced ban covers buying, selling, transporting and importing those types of weapons. As part of the ban, the federal government announced a $250 million buyback program.

“We’ve brought in a two-year amnesty so that people who have purchased those guns legally will have time to comply with the regulations that we’ve brought in,” said Trudeau.

Although the move has been supported by some including Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly, it hasn’t been popular with everyone. Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently said the money earmarked for the buyback program could be better spent on border security and stopping the flow of illegal guns into Canada.

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However, Trudeau repeatedly stressed that “military-style” assault rifles have no place in Canada. He also acknowledged that more needs to be done around gun control.

“We know that there is more to do on strengthening gun control in this country, which is why we are going to be moving forward, when Parliament allows it, with stronger measures,” Trudeau said on Sunday.

Those stronger measures will be around the storage of guns and the border, according to Trudeau, who also said his government has plans to introduce legislation that would give municipalities the ability to restrict handgun use and ownership.

“We are going to take this very very seriously because we, as Canadians know, are deeply committed to keeping people safe and strengthening gun control in this country,” he said.

Asked why assault rifles are being singled out instead of handguns, Trudeau said there have been too many mass shootings involving “military-style” assault weapons.

“We have seen far too many cases where these guns have caused devastation to families and communities, that’s why it was time to ban them,” he said. “This is something we were able to do through regulation, so it didn’t require legislation.”

Trudeau also cited his proposed measure that would give municipalities the right to restrict handgun use within their borders, as one step the government plans to take to address the issues around handguns.

Nicholas Pescod