A restricted gun licence holder holds a AR-15 at his home in Langley, B.C. on May 1, 2020. A leading proponent of stricter gun control says allowing owners of recently banned firearms to keep them would make it easier for a different government to reverse the ban in future. In a letter to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, the group PolySeSouvient urges the Liberal government to implement a mandatory buyback program for all assault-style guns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Ottawa proposes to pay $1,337 for AR-15 under mandatory firearms buyback program

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

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, have their designated firearms rendered inoperable at the government’s expense or otherwise lawfully disposed of.

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

“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.

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.

The Canadian Press

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