Pro-gun marchers speak out on federal government’s assault weapon ban

The Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights is behind the outdoor event on Parliament Hill

OTTAWA — Pro-gun activists are marching in Ottawa today to contest what they describe as the “injustice and ineffectiveness” of the federal government’s assault weapon ban.

The Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights is behind the outdoor event on Parliament Hill, dubbed an “integrity march,” to advocate for the rights of its members.

The organization, which did not respond to a request for comment, says on its website that the event is aimed at showing Canadians that gun owners are “your friends, colleagues and neighbours.”

In May, the Liberal government announced it would be banning a range of 1,500 types of assault-style weapons, which it says were designed for the battlefield — not hunting or sport shooting.

Gun advocates say they are worried that a large swath of the public agrees.

Nathalie Provost, a survivor of the Polytechnique massacre and a spokeswoman for gun control group PolySeSouvient, says the objective of the federal government was not to penalize everyday citizens who take part in activities like hunting, for example.

“A hunter has the right to hunt. My family has hunters — there’s no problem,” Provost said. “What worries us the most is there is little gun control.”

Provost says pro-gun activists are organizing the march because they are worried.

“They are worried about losing a privilege,” she said. “I think they are very worried and they realize many Canadians want those weapons removed from the market.”

The Trudeau government announced in May that it is now banning the use, sale and import of assault weapons into Canada. The government has set up a buy-back program to take the guns out of circulation, but that program would be voluntary and not compulsory, which rankles gun control advocates.

“The tap that allowed the entry of new assault weapons is closed, but there are still quite a few in the pool,” Provost said.

Provost wants these types of weapons to disappear completely from the Canadian landscape.

“The worst horror scene of my life — it didn’t last very long, but it killed six people. And (for) me, it’s four bullets in my body,” she said.

“It’s maddening the speed at which these weapons destroy.”

For its part, the CCFR has challenged the constitutionality of the Trudeau government’s ministerial order in Federal Court.

It argues in its challenge that the banned rifles are weapons intended for hunting and sport shooting, since that is how their owners have used them for decades.

The group argues that the new regulations, enacted by ministerial decree, are illegal and go beyond the scope of the powers conferred on the federal cabinet.

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