(Ottawa) The government is dropping some controversial elements of its definition to ban assault weapons. The Liberals just introduced their new amendments to Bill C-21. However, these new criteria risk being easily circumvented by the industry, warns the PolySeSouvient group.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino is due to make the announcement Monday after question period. PolySeSouvient must react afterwards.

This new definition will encompass firearms “that are not handguns”, semi-automatic “that can fire centre-fire ammunition” and that were “originally designed with a detachable six-round capacity magazine or more “.

The government is dropping two other criteria included in the previous definition, namely weapons that can fire projectiles with a muzzle energy of more than 10,000 joules and those with an internal barrel area of ​​20 millimeters or more. They had been denounced by the pro-arms lobby.

The definition remains prospective, that is, it will apply to new weapons that enter the Canadian market and not to those that are already in circulation. Weapons already in circulation are subject to a buy-back program under a decree passed in 2020, the first phase of which was announced last week, but banning them will not be enshrined in legislation. Therefore, it could be more easily overthrown in the event of a change of government.

The Minister of Public Security, Marco Mendicino, announced last Tuesday that he intended to table a new definition of assault weapons taking into account one of the recommendations of the Commission on the killings in Portapique, Nova Scotia. He also indicated that his government was abandoning the long list of prohibited assault weapons included in previous amendments which had raised an outcry.

The SKS, a military-style weapon frequently used by hunters and Aboriginal people, would therefore remain legal. This firearm has been used several times in recent years to kill police officers. The government intends to reinstate the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee to review the classification of firearms in an attempt to resolve this issue.

The government had caused a surprise in February by withdrawing these two controversial amendments which added a ban on assault weapons to Bill C-21 on gun control. The gesture was then well received by all the main opposition parties.

Further details will follow.