The Liberals have withdrawn a controversial amendment to Bill C-21, which would ban numerous models of rifles and shotguns used by hunters and farmers in Canada.
Bill C-21, which cements the Liberals’ ban on handguns, is before the House of Commons public safety committee. Last year, a Liberal MP introduced an amendment banning in criminal law, rather than regulations, any rifle or shotgun that could accept a magazine with more than five rounds, regardless of whether it has such a magazine.
In practice, this would prohibit hundreds of types of guns used by hunters and farmers, as well as short-shooters.
The amendment was widely condemned by gun owners, including many from Indigenous nations.
The Liberals said the withdrawal was because they “heard” Canadians.
“In order to get this bill right, Canadians need to know that we heard them, and it’s important for us to hear those voices that have not been heard and hear some of those voices that have been heard in the past,” said Liberal MP Taleeb Noormohamed. “We have to get this over the finish line in a way that respects victims but also respects hunters, farmers, and Indigenous communities.”
In November, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said that the Conservatives and other critics of the C-21 amendment were “whipping up fear.” In a statement Friday morning, he acknowledged there have been “legitimate concerns raised.”
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre trumpeted the amendment’s withdrawal as a victory, but cautioned that the Liberals were still keen on banning hunting firearms.
“We know his agenda,” Poilievre said. “He’ll reintroduce this either in this parliament or he’ll dream that, God forbid if he ever got a majority, he would ram it through. That’s why the only way that law abiding hunters and farmers will be able to protect their way of life is to elect a Conservative majority government led by Pierre Poilievre.”
The Liberals are still proceeding with Bill C-21, which, if passed, will ban handgun sales and introduce “red flag” and “yellow flag” laws to expand the ways authorities can seize firearms of individuals believed to be a danger to themselves or others, or those suspected of owning firearms without a license.