The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has tabled his official response to petition E-111 and its contents is of no surprise
The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Honourable Ralph Goodale – and by extension the Government of Canada – issued an official response on Wednesday to petition E-111, which sought to reclassify the Armalite AR-15 rifle to non-restricted so that it may be used for lawful recreation and hunting purposes. Goodale makes in no uncertain terms that the Government of Canada has no intentions of reclassifying the AR-15.
Goodale also toed the party line in his response, reiterating that the Government of Canada is committed to putting the decision-making authority about weapons classification back into the hands of police and not politicians.
The Government thanks these petitioners for their representations.
The Government believes in balanced, effective measures with respect to firearms that prioritize public safety while ensuring that law-abiding firearms owners are treated fairly under the law. The Government has committed to getting handguns and assault weapons off our streets and to strengthening controls on such weapons.
The Government is committed to putting decision-making authority about weapons classification back into the hands of police, not politicians. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is responsible for the technical determination of the classification of firearms in accordance with the criteria stipulated by Parliament in the Criminal Code.
The Criminal Code Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and Other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited, Restricted or Non-Restricted list the Armalite Rifle (AR)-15 as a named variant of the restricted M-16 rifle. The AR-15 is restricted because of its lineage to the military-issued M-16 assault rifle.
The Government has no intention of using section 117.15 of the Criminal Code to change the classification of the AR-15
Unfortunately this response should come as no surprise. Not long after the petition was presented in the House of Commons by Conservative MP Bob Zimmer, an “AR15-style” weapon was used to commit the deadliest mass shooting in United States’ history at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida. With the shooting came significant public outcry, both in the United States and Canada, over the sales of AR15 rifles. Chances for a favourable response by the Minister were slim to begin with, but after the shooting those chances became non-existent.
The fight is not over yet, however. Continue writing your Member of Parliament. Invite them to a range event. Continue advocating for the reclassification of AR15 rifles. Maybe one day we can finally hunt with them.