Kenora MP Eric Melillo says he’s glad to see the federal government back down from a bill that would have taken away firearms from sport shooters and hunters across northwestern Ontario.
On Friday, Liberal MP Taleeb Noormohamed announced the government is withdrawing a list of firearms that would have been classified as prohibited, which was created after amendments to Bill C-21 in December.
“I think the Liberals received a lot of criticism from rural Canada, and rightfully so,” explains Melillo.
“Our party has long stood up for the rights of law-abiding firearms owners with common sense measures that protect Canadians and address the root causes of the violence we’re seeing,” he adds.
In December 2022, the Liberals announced several amendments to Bill C-21 which would have made another 400 rifle and shotgun models illegal, in addition to the original bill announced in May, by changing the definition of a prohibited weapon.
It would have been the single-largest gun ban in Canadian history.
“It took the Liberals many, many months of denying and deflecting before they finally backpedalled. Of course, we’re happy to see that they’re stepping down from it,” adds Melillo.
“But I’m fearful that we have seen the true intent of the Liberals. If they do have the chance to do so, I do believe that they are going to move forward with this proposed hunting rifle ban and it's up to us to make sure that we don’t give them that power,” he stressed.
In October 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a national freeze on the sale, purchase and transfer of handguns in Canada as another amendment to Bill C-21. However, existing owners aren’t affected as long as they never try to transfer the handgun.
Prior to 2022’s laws, Trudeau’s Liberal government made over 1,500 assault-style firearms illegal in 2020 after 22 people were killed in Nova Scotia in one of the country’s deadliest massacres in history.
Gun control laws were a key promise of Trudeau’s 2019 election campaign, as well as expanded background checks. Violating firearm control laws can lead to up to 10 years of federal prison time.