Politics

Ottawa offers $1,337 apiece for AR-15 rifles under mandatory buyback program

The federal government is proposing $1,337 in compensation for turning in an AR-15 rifle under a mandatory buyback program.

Around 1,500 models of assault-style firearms are covered under the ban

A gun shop owner displays AR-15 'Sport' rifles at a store in Arizona on September 29, 2016. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The federal government is proposing $1,337 in compensation for turning in an AR-15 rifle under a mandatory buyback program.

Public Safety Canada has released a price list detailing how much money owners of banned firearms can expect to get under the program.

At the higher end of the scale, forfeiting a Swiss Arms SG550 could net an owner $6,209.

Ottawa will seek input from gun owners, businesses and industry on the proposed compensation amounts from now until Aug. 28.

The mandatory buyback program would cover the more than 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style firearms, banned two years ago.

While the idea has been praised by gun-control advocates, some others — including Conservative MPs — have suggested it targets legitimate gun owners rather than criminals.

It will be mandatory for owners to take part in the buyback program and to have their designated firearms rendered inoperable at the government's expense, or to otherwise dispose of them lawfully.

The government says the proposed price list for individual firearms owners was set to reflect what Canadians may have paid for an assault-style firearm prior to May 2020.

Minister says price amounts to fair compensation

"Today's proposed price list represents another step towards getting these dangerous firearms out of Canadian communities while ensuring current owners are compensated fairly," said Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino.

A separate compensation model for businesses that participate in the buyback program is being developed.

Conservatives say the buyback program fails to address the flow of illegal firearms into Canada, which they argue is at the root of the country's gun violence problems.

"Justin Trudeau is introducing a firearm buyback program that punishes lawful firearms owners. The fact is, hobbyists, collectors, sport shooters and hunters are not the ones to blame for the rise in gun crime in Canada," said MPs Raquel Dancho and Pierre Paul-Hus in a media statement.

An amnesty is in place until Oct. 30, 2023 to protect lawful owners of the now-prohibited firearms from criminal liability while they take steps to comply with the law.

"The compensation models and other program details will be finalized in the coming months, and all known firearm owners will be contacted about how they can participate in the buyback program," the government said.

The Liberals also tabled a firearm control bill in May that would put a national freeze on importing, buying, selling or otherwise transferring handguns.

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