Liberals and Tories clash over proposed definition of assault-type firearms

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OTTAWA — The Liberals say their proposed definition of a prohibited assault type firearm only applies to firearms that belong on the battlefield.

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But Tory MPs continued to insist on Thursday that the federal decision would ban large numbers of regular shotguns and shotguns.

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The Liberal government wants to include a permanent definition of a prohibited assault type firearm in gun control legislation being considered by the House of Commons Public Safety Committee.

The measure, introduced Tuesday during clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, would build on a May 2020 regulatory ban on more than 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-type firearms. , such as the AR-15 and the Ruger Mini. -14.

Among other technical specifications, the proposed definition includes a centerfire semi-automatic rifle or shotgun designed to accept a detachable magazine capable of holding more than five rounds.

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During a committee meeting on Thursday, Liberal MP Pam Damoff said the definition would codify in the Criminal Code the types of firearms that were banned in 2020, providing a “clear definition of the specifications of those weapons designed for the war”. ”

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“I just want to clarify that we don’t chase hunters,” Damoff said. “We seek to remove weapons designed for the battlefield from our society.”

She said the amendment would ensure that gun manufacturers cannot alter the design of prohibited firearms to make them available again in Canada. “Codification and clear definitions in the Criminal Code will ensure that manufacturers cannot try to circumvent the system to continue selling weapons which, under any other name, would be prohibited.”

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Tory MP Glen Motz said the definition would effectively ban hundreds of thousands of firearms, including many non-restricted firearms.

“I think it was a deliberate attempt to mislead the Canadian public and to mislead Parliament,” he said.

Raquel Dancho, the Conservative public safety critic, said the proposed definition casts a very wide net – “the most significant shotgun ban in Canadian history”.

“If the Liberals had any integrity, they would have put it in the original bill and then it could have been debated in the House,” she said.

“But of course they didn’t.” During the hearing, the Liberals released an updated list of about 300 pages of the different models and variants of firearms that would now be prohibited.

In response, the provincial ministers of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan issued a joint statement denouncing Ottawa’s decision.

The federal effort to define an assault-type firearm responds to calls from advocates for tougher gun laws who wanted this wording enshrined in law.

Gun control group PolySeSouvient called the proposed amendment “another critical step towards a comprehensive and permanent ban on assault weapons in Canada.”


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