Gun Control: Liberals Propose Definition of Assault Weapon

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Gun Control: Liberals Propose Definition of Assault Weapon

The Liberal government's proposals have been criticized.

The Liberal government has provoked applause and anger on Tuesday by proposing a permanent definition of a prohibited assault-type firearm to be included in gun control legislation being considered by a House of Commons committee.

The measure, introduced during the clause-by-clause review of the bill, responds to calls from supporters of tougher gun laws who want a definition enshrined in law. It would build on a federal regulatory ban on many types of firearms two years ago.

Spokesperson for gun control group PolySeSouvient, Nathalie Provost, called the planned amendment another crucial step towards a full and permanent ban on assault weapons in Canada. /p>

She said that if the group were to analyze the definition and its effect in the real world, her preliminary assessment is that it would cover most if not all weapons in the world. conventional assault.

Tory MPs on the Public Safety Committee were quick to denounce the proposed definition, saying it would expand the existing regulatory ban by making a wide range of semi-automatic firearms illegal.

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Conservative public safety critic Raquel Dancho called the measure a sweeping war on hunters in Canada.

The Liberal government, with this amendment, is about to ban almost all shotguns and semi-automatic rifles. So we're talking about bird hunters – bird hunters use semi-automatic shotguns, she denounced, saying she was quite shocked.

Critics of the bill to get guns out of the wrong hands argued on Monday that the red flag measure was problematic. It could undermine efforts to provide more safety, especially for women at risk of domestic violence.

The government bill, currently being considered by MPs, would allow a person to apply to court for an emergency injunction which would prohibit someone likely to cause violence from possessing a firearm for up to of 30 days.

The identity of the person filing the petition may be kept confidential and the case may proceed without the owner of the petition. weapon is present in court.

In a press scrum on Tuesday, Justice Minister David Lametti stressed that the process before the committee is very important in the evolution of the bill.

On had tried to frame the system to often protect the identities of vulnerable people. […] We will look at the criticisms and suggestions, he assured. We are here to work with groups like PolySeSouvient precisely to move forward.

Minister Lametti said it was not too late to make amendments to the bill. “We had proposed a ''red flag regime'' precisely to help protect vulnerable people in difficult contexts, he explained. We are listening. We are never closed to solutions or suggestions that have been made in good faith. »

In May 2020, the government announced an order-in-council ban on more than 1,500 models and derivatives of what it considers assault-type firearms, such as the AR-15 and Ruger Mini-14.

These weapons were designed to kill people and had no place in hunting or sport shooting, the government had explained.

Liberals are planning a mandatory buy-back program to offer compensation to affected owners and businesses.

However, those in favor of the ban have repeatedly expressed concern that manufacturers are circumventing regulations by introducing new models.

Control advocates firearms have argued that a living definition of an assault type firearm should therefore be included in legislation.

The definition was not in the bill introduced by the Liberals last spring, but the government has indicated it will be added before the final vote on the legislation.

Liberal MP Paul Chiang, who served as a police officer for many years, told the committee on Tuesday that he had witnessed firsthand the damage that assault weapons can do to our communities.

I hope everyone will support these amendments to create a more comprehensive definition of a prohibited firearm and to improve public safety for all Canadians, a- he said.

The proposed amendment will be debated further when the committee resumes consideration of the bill on Thursday. Liberal MP Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, said the definition will ensure Canada has a fair and consistent standard for what constitutes an assault-type weapon, and that ;there will be no escape for gun manufacturers.

As Conservative politicians seek to legalize assault weapons again, we remain resolute in our work to make our communities safer, she said in a statement.

When introducing the bill earlier this year, the Liberals announced a plan to implement a freeze on the import, purchase, sale or transfer of x27;handguns to help curb gun violence.

Federal regulations to limit the number of handguns in Canada are now in effect .

The bill contains measures that would strengthen the handgun freeze. It would also revoke firearms licenses for those who commit domestic violence or engage in stalking, as well as increase maximum penalties for smuggling and trafficking firearms. fire from 10 to 14 years.

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