No plans to end restrictions on prohibited guns, Harper says

by CBC News  |  published on December 7, 2012

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is distancing his government from recommendations made by an influential federal firearms advisory committee to further loosen restrictions on guns, including some prohibited weapons.

He was responding to a Toronto Star report that said the Conservatives were looking at the proposals, which include reclassifying “prohibited” firearms such as certain handguns and assault weapons as “restricted,” and extending the duration of gun-owner licences from five to 10 years.

Harper said emphatically in the House of Commons during question period Thursday that the government has no plans to eliminate the prohibited weapons list.

“I am aware of the [Star] story and let me be as clear as I can be: prohibited weapons exist as a category under the law for essential reasons of public security. The government has absolutely no intention of weakening that category of protections,” Harper said in answer to a question from Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair.

Before question period, interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said it was regrettable the advisory group was recommending a loosening of restrictions on firearms, and said the government must listen to “lots of different people: Chiefs of police, the suicide prevention groups, the domestic violence groups.”

“When you look at your advisory groups and who you’re going to be consulting with there’s a whole range of people you have to consult with, some of whom will take positions that are against the government’s and I think that’s something they have to recognize is the case,” Rae told reporters before question period.

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