No, Canada: Gun bill amended to ban common hunting rifles

No, Canada: Gun bill amended to ban common hunting rifles
(Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Canada is further down the thorny path towards a total ban on gun ownership than we are here in the United States, with the Trudeau government imposing an outright ban on most semi-automatic rifles and freezing the sale of handguns across the country. In fact, things are progressing so rapidly with our neighbor to the north that anti-gun politicians and their activist allies are now so emboldened they’re going after commonly-owned hunting rifles and shotguns despite repeatedly claiming that hunters had nothing to fear from their machinations.

Last week, the Liberal government introduced several last-minute amendments to C-21, the sweeping gun control bill that’s already started to be implemented thanks to Trudeau’s use of Canada’s version of an executive order. These new amendments would wrap up many common hunting rifles in the existing ban, and conservatives rightfully objected to the late additions given their impact.

The amendment adds long guns to the banned list in four different ways. First, it has a clause that would effectively ban any rifle or shotgun that could potentially accept a magazine with more than five rounds, whether or not it actually has such a magazine. Critics say that includes many rifles designed for hunters, not soldiers.

The list also names guns that fall afoul of two rules nominally intended to ban powerful military weapons such as .50-calibre sniper rifles and mortars. One rule bans long guns that can generate more than 10,000 joules of energy, and the other bans guns with a muzzle wider than 20 millimetres. Critics say those rules would ban everything from antique blunderbusses to the Nine O’clock Gun in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

Lastly, the amendment prohibits, by name, a large number of semi-automatic firearms that do not have detachable magazines and don’t meet the definition of an “assault-style firearm,” or infringe the other two rules, but which the government wants to ban anyway. They include a number of long guns in wide use by Canadian hunters.

The simple truth is that for the gun prohibitionists, there is no acceptable gun. Not an AR-15, a Glock 17, a Winchester repeating rifle, or even a single-shot black powder muzzleloader. The true believers will try to ban every gun they can, and right now Canadian activists are feeling pretty emboldened.

The reaction, however, has been loud and widespread enough that Trudeau and his minister of public safety are now trying to put some daylight between themselves and the amendments.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is listening to concerns that some of the firearms his government is looking to ban are in fact used more for hunting.

The remarks at a press conference in Ontario today suggest Trudeau is shifting his tone on a piece of gun-control legislation being studied by members of Parliament.

Opposition Conservatives say the proposed definition would bar some firearms used for hunting, which has prompted Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino to say that is not the government’s intention and accuse Tory MPs of “fearmongering.”

What you bet that, after supposedly listening to those concerns, Trudeau decides to move ahead with the amended version of C-21 regardless? There is no right to keep and bear arms in Canada’s constitution, so the prime minister doesn’t even have to bother with paying lip service to respecting anyone’s rights here. I suspect that Trudeau’s just going to ride out this particular news cycle without C-21 seeing any substantive changes in Parliament, and with the country’s peaceable gun owners still being blamed for the actions of violent criminals.