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Chatel announces gun bill changes

Brett Thoms
Pontiac May 1, 2023
The office of MP Sophie Chatel released a press release on Monday detailing changes made to the draft of Bill C-21.
Chatel’s office wrote that these amendments reflect the consultation process with Canadians undertaken by Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, which included a December 2 meeting with Outaouais hunters and sport shooters in Gracefield.
The changes include the following:

  • There will no longer be a list of makes and models for the assault-style firearm ban. Instead, Bill C-21 will establish a new technical definition which contains the characteristics of an assault-style firearm, but this definition will only apply to firearms designed after the provision comes into force, meaning it would not apply to firearms currently on the market.
  • Following Recommendation 38 (C-21) of the Mass Casualty Commission, the Government will re-establish the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee to independently review the classification of existing firearms and inform an Order-in-Council to add to the list of banned firearms. With a diverse membership, including but not limited to hunting sporting experts, First Nations, Inuit and Metis, and gun restriction advocates, the Committee will make expert recommendations on the classification of firearms.
  • Regulations will also require that manufacturers seek a Firearms Reference Number before being allowed to sell in Canada. These regulatory measures will ensure that no firearm goes unaccounted for in the classification process. Indeed, hunters should not have to worry about whether their newly purchased firearm is prohibited or not, as this will become the responsibility of manufacturers.
  • Bill C-21 will also tackle the growing issue of ghost guns by enacting new offences and classifying ghost guns and other illegally made firearms as prohibited.
  • The Government will also reinforce measures to stop illegal importation of guns at Canada’s borders.
  • The Government also intends to update regulations regarding large capacity magazines in the very near future. Other regulations would ban the sale of transfer of magazines capable of holding more than the legal number of bullets.
  • Bill C-21 will include a specific amendment that makes it clear that nothing proposed in the bill derogates from the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

In the release, Chatel stated she believed that these changes will address many of the concerns expressed by hunters during the consultations.
In conclusion, she wrote that: “No single program or initiative can tackle the challenge of gun violence alone. These measures are part of the Government’s comprehensive plan to keep Canadians safe from gun crime. It begins with strong borders, where we’ve added resources to fight smuggling and stop guns from coming into Canada. Finally, it includes strong prevention strategies, most notably the $250 million Building Safer Communities Fund, which aims to stop gun crime before it starts.”

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