Trudeau bill amendment would result in 'largest gun ban in Canadian history'

"The majority of Canada’s 2.2 million licensed firearms owners will now be criminalized, should these amendments to Bill C-21 become law."

A surprise last-minute amendment by the Liberals to Trudeau's pending gun control bill, initially pitched as a way to prevent the sale of Canadian handguns, would result in the largest gun prohibition in Canadian legislative history, the National Post reports. 

The amendment, tabled by Liberal MP Paul Chiang, would criminalize "a firearm that is a rifle or shotgun, that is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner and that is designed to accept a detachable cartridge magazine with a capacity greater than five cartridges of the type for which the firearm was originally designed."

In addition to this is a 478-page amendment that bans a number of other guns by name, including the SKS, a Soviet-designed rifle with an estimated 20,000 owners that is frequently used in sports shooting. 

This flies in the face of what the Liberals said in 2019, that their government would not ban guns designed for hunting.

"Hunters, farmers, and law-abiding recreational gun owners will be treated with fairness and respect," then-Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair said at he time.

One of the only semi-automatic guns not covered by the amendment is a shotgun that employs a "tube" magazine, primarily used for duck hunting. 

Due to it not having a "detachable magazine", it avoids the ban.

"Because of their ubiquity, a ban on these semi-automatic duck guns would create a significant backlash, so it’s not surprising that the Liberals have steered carefully clear of banning them," Canadian firearms expert Andrew Somerset told the National Post.

A number of tube-fed shotguns were however listed by name in the 478-page amendment.

The announcement has understandably drawn ire from a number of provincial governments, with some even vowing legal action.

"The federal government is clearly seeking to ban legal firearm ownership altogether," Alberta’s Minister of Justice Tyler Shandro said in a statement.

"Alberta [has already taken] unprecedented action to protect law-abiding firearms owners by announcing our intention to intervene in six firearms lawsuits," Shandro says. “With the amendments tabled on Nov. 22, it has become increasingly clear that these actions are not enough."

"In the coming weeks, Alberta will explore all available options to take action."

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe also expressed his staunch opposition to the amendment.

"These amendments do nothing to target illegal firearms use and further show the disconnect between the federal Liberal government and legal firearms owners in Saskatchewan and across Canada," he said in a statement.

Jesse Zeman, executive director of the B.C. Wildlife Federation, lamented that "banning and buying back rifles that are used for hunting and sport shooting will only affect law-abiding, RCMP-vetted Canadians who rely on wild game to feed their families or enjoy a day at the shooting range."

Conservative public safety critic Raquel Dancho has emerged as one of the most prominent opponents of the amendments.

"They’re going after Grandpa Joe’s hunting rifle instead of gangsters in Toronto," she said on Wednesday.

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