Several media outlets gave the false impression that Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole wants to maintain the Liberal government’s sweeping firearms ban.

The claim was spread by both the Canadian Press and Global News following several statements made by O’Toole during Thursday night’s French-language leader’s debate which were taken out of context. 

“We will maintain the ban on assault weapons. And we will make sure that we work with police and we work to make sure there’s a transparent process to keep people safe and to make sure that we tackle rising gun violence,” said O’Toole. 

In response, the media interpreted O’Toole’s statements as claiming support for the Liberal order in council which banned 1,500 types of rifles — used for hunting and sport shooting — from being owned by law-abiding Canadians. 

However, O’Toole has always been unequivocal about planning to repeal this order in council. In reality, O’Toole was referencing maintaining a ban on actual assault weapons, which has been in effect since 1977. 

According to the federal 1977 Criminal Law Amendment Act, fully automatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns and rifles are banned from possession by everyone in Canada except the police and military. 

“We will start by repealing C-71 and the May 2020 Order in Council and conducting a review of the Firearms Act with participation by law enforcement, firearms owners, manufacturers, and members of the public,” the Conservative platform claims. 

“We will then update legislation by introducing a simplified classification system and codifying it in law so that it is clear what types of firearms fit into each category and classification decisions can be made quickly, and with the public and firearms owners having confidence that they are not arbitrary.”

Additionally, when O’Toole was confronted by Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau on whether he would maintain the gun ban, O’Toole replied in the negative saying that this was “not the case.” 

Despite this, both outlets published articles with misleading titles like “Erin O’Toole promises to keep Liberal assault rifle ban, directly contradicting his own platform” and “Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole vows to keep Liberal ban on assault-style firearms.” 

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