Canada’s ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Includes Numerous Bolt Action Rifles

Justin Trudeau assault weapons ban
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images)

An close examination of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s ban of 1,500 “assault weapons” reveals the list of prohibited firearms includes a number of bolt action rifles.

Bolt action rifles have been go-to rifles for the hunters and the sport community for over a century and do not have a self-loading action–a semiautomatic action–but are fed a new round only when the hunter or sportsman manually pulls back a bolt to reload.

The bolt action platform is wildly popular for the large rounds like the .50 caliber, which can used for extreme long range shooting.

Democrats in the U.S. government have unsuccessfully sought bans on .50 caliber rifles in past decades, including them in “assault weapons” ban legislation following high profile, mass public attacks. The problem is .50 calibers rifles are extremely large and bulky, and are not conducive to be being carried into a location for the purpose of an attack, therefore the bans fizzle.

But Trudeau included .50 caliber bolt action rifles in his ban of 1,500 “assault weapons.”

For example, the National Post published a list of the 1,500 banned firearms, and that list includes the Barrett M99, which is a single shot bolt action rifle designed for long range shooting. His ban also includes the SIG 50, the Bluegrass Armory VIPER XL50 BMG, the Odessa Patriot 50, the Mitchells Mausers M93 Black Arrow Target, and numerous other bolt action firearms. 

In addition to banning a number of long range, bolt action rifles, Trudeau’s ban also bans .22 caliber rifles that are built on the AR-15 platform. Two such guns are the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 and Mitchell Arms Car 15/22, both banned under Trudeau’s announcement.

On May 6, 2020, the Post reported the gun ban as “incoherent,” noting it bans some guns for having certain characteristics and actions while passing over other guns that have the same characteristics and actions.  Moreover, the Post notes the ban “focuses on rifles, which collectively are the least lethal form of previously legal weapons, while leaving handguns — which are used in 65 percent of firearm homicides — alone.

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