AR-15 fascination defies the understanding of most people not fascinated with the popular rifle. It looks more like something you’d see in an episode of SWAT than it does something you’d see on a deer hunt.
But its versatility, variety of calibres, and the value of a collapsable stock for remote hunters have made it popular, or at least it was until the Liberal government outlawed it and 1499 other previously legal firearms last May.
This week, the Liberals tabled Bill C-21, which proposes harsher penalties on gun smuggling, would allow municipalities to ban handguns, and introduces the ability for a friend or neighbour to have your guns taken away should you start acting weird.
And the Liberals plan to buy back all those scary-looking guns like the AR-15 they banned last spring. Of course, the Liberals presented no details on the buyback or costs to taxpayers to do so.
Turn on the TV, and you’ll hear newscasters breathlessly talking about assault rifles and assault-style rifles.
For non-firearms owners, the terminology can be confusing. An assault rifle is a rifle that has selective-fire capability allowing the weapon to fire in bursts or automatic mode. These firearms, long prohibited under Canadian law already because of select-fire ability, are not the same as the “assault-syle” firearms banned last May and tossed around loosely in the media.
The definition of an “assault-style” firearm varies somewhat; however, the government considers it a semi-automatic rifle that can accept detachable magazines and modifications. None of the guns banned last year have the select-fire capability, the defining characteristic of an assault rifle.
Gun crime must be addressed, but so much of this Liberal assault on gun crime is laughable.
Last month, the Liberals and NDP defeated Conservative Private Member Bill C-238, which would have increased minimum sentences for gun smuggling and the possession of a smuggled gun from one year to three years. The Bill called for five years on a second conviction.
On Thursday, the Liberals introduced Bill C-22, which includes removing mandatory prison sentences for serious crimes, including illegal possession of a loaded handgun, robbery with a firearm, and possession of a firearm obtained through crime.
But as Prime Minister Trudeau has said repeatedly, and as recently as this week: “This is why our government has taken some of the strongest action in our country’s history against gun violence. We will continue to take steps to strengthen gun control measures, remove dangerous weapons from our streets, and make sure everyone can feel safe from violence.”
Each step this government takes seems to defy the PM’s words.
According to the supporting info for the defeated Bill C-238, , 80 per cent of the guns used in crimes are smuggled in from the US. They are not purchased at the local gun shop during Boxing Week sales. Yet those who have legally obtained their firearms under strict conditions for hunting or competition shooting are penalized in the PMs quest to end gun violence in the streets.
Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu may have said it best in a media statement Thursday:
“For the federal government to gut sentences for real gun crimes just days after scapegoating duly-licensed, law-abiding firearms owners (Bill C-21) is especially rich.
“Once again, Ottawa appears to be going soft on the criminals who perpetuate real gun violence while symbolically targeting law-abiding Canadians.”