Semi-automatic AR-15's are for sale at Good Guys Guns & Range on February 15, 2018 in Orem, Utah.George Frey/Getty Images
An Alberta-led federal petition opposing a ban on military-style assault rifles without first having a debate has received more than a hundred-thousand signatures in just a short period of time.
As of Saturday, the 60-day petition, known online as e-2341, has received more than 107,000 signatures since launching on Dec. 17. The petitions main problem is how the Liberal government plans to impose a ban on military-style assault rifles through an Order in Council instead of having it debated in the House of Commons.
Medicine Hats Brad Manysiak, who started the petition, said how the government is approaching this doesnt sit well with him.
Thats an egregious overreach of parliamentary power, he said. When we change laws in Canada, historically, its debated, it goes to the Senate, it has a specific path it has to take in order for something to become law. Usually, there has to a lot of public support for it. This is a slippery slope.
A spokesperson from the Minister of Public Safety in an email said a ban is coming.
Military-style assault rifles have been used in Canada to target women and students, the spokesperson said. Police chiefs in our country have been advocating for restrictions on assault weapons for more than four decades. Weve listened, and, as promised to Canadians in the recent election, we will ban military-style assault rifles.
The spokesperson said the ban would not affect rifles and shotguns designed for hunting and pest control.
Ottawa is also looking at introducing a buyback program but the cost to do so is estimated to be in the hundreds of the millions. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told reporters months ago that there are about 250,000 semi-automatic assault rifles legally owned in Canada.
Manysiak called this a kneejerk reaction by the government, especially in light of an increased amount of handguns used in Toronto-area shootings. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised he would allow municipalities and provinces to implement handgun bans if they so choose.
Its not being directed in the proper way, Manysiak said. Its not directed at the problem.
He said owning a gun in Canada is a long and arduous process and even when someone passes, a gun owners name is constantly being run through the RCMPs database to ensure no crimes have been committed.
Medicine Hat MP Glen Motz is expected to present the petition in the House after its closed on Feb. 15. Manysiak didnt believe it would be enough to change the governments mind but will send a message to the Liberals given the amount of support and media attention the petition has received.
With files from The Canadian Press
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