80% of Canadians back ban on 'assault-style' weapons: poll

The polling numbers come as the federal government moves to ban more than 1,500 weapons, including semiautomatic, large-magazine rifles used to shoot at a rapid fire.

A strong majority of Canadians back a complete ban on civilians possessing the kinds of “assault-style” weapons used to carry out a recent rampage that left 22 killed in Nova Scotia last month. 

That’s according to a recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute, which found four-in-five Canadians supported a complete prohibition of the weapons. 

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“Significantly, two-thirds (65%) strongly support such a move, giving federal policy makers a clear mandate to go forward,” wrote a spokesperson for the pollster in a statement. 

Results of a poll gauging Canadians feelings toward a ban on 'assault-style' weapons
Results of a poll gauging Canadians feelings toward a ban on 'assault-style' weapons - Angus Reid Institute

The poll comes as the federal government is reported to have approved a ban on more than 1,500 “assault-style” weapons through an order-in-council Friday, May 1, according the Canadian Press.

While the term “assault style” does not appear in language used by the federal government, it describes the collection of weapons as any “semiautomatic firearms with a large magazine of ammunition that were designed and configured for rapid fire.” That includes the AR-10 and AR-15 used in multiple mass shootings, including Nova Scotia; the Ruger Mini-14 used to commit the 1989 Montreal Massacre’; and the CSA-VZ-58, carried by the gunman in the 2017 Quebec Mosque shooting.

The gun control measures will also reportedly empower provinces and cities to take steps to manage the storage and use of handguns within their individual jurisdictions, according to the Canadian Press. More details will be released in a technical briefing later Friday.

Across Canada, those polled in Quebec (87%) and Nova Scotia (83%) were most likely to support the ban, followed by British Columbia and Ontario, both at 78% support. While two-thirds of every province supported the ban on “assault style” weapons, Albertan respondents showed the least support at 65%.

Those who voted Liberal and NDP in last year’s federal election were most likely to support the ban, while most past Conservative voters oppose a ban on handguns but support one on assault weapons.

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