Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday he plans to ban military-style assault rifles if re-elected. The announcement comes as he is dealing with backlash from recently uncovered instances of him wearing dark makeup years ago in forms of brown- or blackface.
"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," he said while speaking in Toronto.
Trudeau is running to keep his seat in Canada's Oct. 21 election.
After the bombshell photos came out, Trudeau's Conservative Party opponent Andrew Scheer said Trudeau is “someone who is not fit to govern this country.”
When he announced the new gun control plan, Trudeau was speaking in Toronto's Greektown neighborhood, which was the site of a shooting that left two people dead and injured 13 more last year.
"Gun crime in Canada is on the rise. It's a fact," he said. "Frankly, I don't understand how anyone could look at this alarming trend and conclude that we need less gun control. But that's for the Conservative leaders to explain to Canadians."
The Canadian Liberal Party's push comes at the same time the American Democratic Party is splintered over a similar proposal. Some progressive lawmakers have supported a mandatory buyback and ban of certain assault weapons, a notion spearheaded by former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a 2020 Democrat, but those progressives are opposed by other Democrats and Republicans who say such a proposal makes it more difficult to reach bipartisan agreement on new gun control measures in the wake of recent mass shootings in the U.S.
Gun violence in Canada is rising, and we’re doing something about it. We’re taking concrete steps to strengthen gun control by banning military-style assault rifles that have no place in Canada. pic.twitter.com/rQ5KVXzari
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 20, 2019
Trudeau said he would implement a buyback program for military-grade weapons that were legally purchased. He also plans to work with municipalities to grant them more leniency in restricting handguns.
"That's what a re-elected Liberal government will do," Trudeau said.
The Toronto mayor has called for handgun bans, according to Reuters.
Canada's Liberal Party website further details the ban, stating that it will include the AR-15 and that it will be mindful of law-abiding hunters, noting that they do not need assault weapons.
"Thoughts and prayers aren't going to cut it," Trudeau said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Justin Trudeau says he'll ban military-style weapons