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The Federal Government has Withdrawn Two Important and Beneficial Amendments to Bill C21

On Friday, February 3, 2023, the Federal Government succumbed to pressure by those opposed to gun control - by withdrawing amendments to Bill C-21 that would have better defined and banned military-style weapons that are not reasonably used for hunting1. This step is a disappointing setback for victims and survivors of gun violence. We now must trust that the government will follow through on its stated intention to “craft a clear solution that keeps assault weapons off our street”2. To our group, this means revising and re-inserting amendments to that effect into the Bill C-21 framework, after thorough examination of the actual impacts of the proposed measures and further consultation with affected groups and other political parties in the House. Disinformation has clearly found its way into this debate and has caused immense damage to the cause, undoubtedly leading to this step being taken. For example, the survivors group PolySeSouvient did an excellent summary 3, exposing the fallacies of examples of gun models that a gun lobby group claiming they were captured by a much broader prohibition than what would be coming into effect via these amendments – presumably to upset law-abiding hunters who would actually be unaffected by the legislation. This pro-gun group and others have suggested that all legitimate hunters are under attack and all guns will be confiscated. Yet, a gun advocacy website, quoting an RCMP source, noted that more people now hold basic gun licenses that ever before 4 this government has actually expanded and not contracted the number of licensed gun owners, which allows for more hunters and legitimate users to have guns. The right to hunt is not under attack – not generally nor for any constituency. The amendments G4 and G46 are there to clarify what is reasonably used for hunting - and that is a clarification that is in the public interest. As DFSC and as so many others in favor of Bill C21 have stated, repeatedly, our call is to remove the type of guns that are optimal to commit crimes and that are designed to maximize human casualties: handguns and assault-style rifles like the AR-15, and the Mini Ruger 14. Now we are calling on Opposition parties to declare their support for banning assault weapons and to agree to tabled new – perhaps clearer - amendments. We are particularly perplexed that the New Democratic Party has been seeming to tow the line of the gun lobby, by obfuscating and delaying progress for this Bill and its amendments when it should be aiming to debunk disinformation and prioritizing public safety over access to the most dangerous weapons. Perhaps it is because the Danforth shooting occurred in the former riding of Jack Layton that The Danforth Families for Safe Communities now calls on the NDP, in particular, to proactively work with the Liberals to strengthen Bill C21 both on handguns and assault weapons. -

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