Kenora MP Eric Melillo says he’s standing up to fight for the rights of sport shooters, hunters, trappers and Indigenous people across northwestern Ontario.
Earlier this month, the Liberal government revealed amendments to Bill C-21, the party’s divisive gun control legislation, which would prohibit another 400 rifle and shotgun models in addition to the original bill announced earlier this year, as well as a number of antique firearms.
The amendments alter the definition of a ‘prohibited weapon’ to include ‘a firearm that is a rifle or shotgun, that is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner and that is designed to accept a detachable cartridge magazine with a capacity greater than five cartridges.’
“The Liberals are now moving to ban a number of long guns. These are rifles and shotguns that are used by many hunters and trappers in our region and across the country,” explained Melillo on the Q Morning Show.
“We know the important value that hunting and trapping play in northwestern Ontario. It’s a big part of our economy and it’s a way of life for people in the north, especially for the 42 First Nations in our riding,” adds Melillo.
Melillo raised his concerns surrounding the firearm ban at the House of Commons earlier this month, as the move would be the single largest gun ban in Canadian history.
Of note, if the Liberals’ bill and amendments pass, their mandatory gun buyback plan is estimated to cost the country another $1 billion, on top of the already expected $756 million for the original buyback plan.
“Not only is this a direct attack on our way of life in northern Ontario, but I believe it will be completely ineffective in stopping crime,” adds Melillo.
“We have to stop violent crime, gang activity and gun smuggling that have become major issues in our cities...but banning hunting rifles used in northern Ontario isn’t going to do that.”
This isn’t the first firearm ban for the federal Liberal party.
In October, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a national freeze on the sale, purchase and transfer of handguns in Canada in an effort to bring down firearm-related crimes through the same bill. Existing owners aren’t affected, as long as they never try to transfer their handguns to someone else.
Prior to that, Trudeau and his government made over 1,500 ‘assault-style’ firearms illegal in 2020, just one month after 22 people were killed in Nova Scotia in one of the country’s deadliest massacres.
The Liberals have also worked to strengthen gun control laws and expand residents’ background checks, after making gun control laws a promise of their 2019 election campaign. Violation of the Liberals’ firearm laws can lead to up to 10 years of federal prison time.