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Liberals withdraw amendments to controversial gun law C-21

The federal Liberals are withdrawing an amendment to their gun bill that introduced a controversial new definition of assault weapon.

The amendment would have defined what type of firearms should be banned in Canada and added dozens of new semi-automatic rifles and shotguns to the list.

It caused protests in many parts of rural Canada, as hunters argued that it criminalized the guns they often use legally to hunt.

Liberal MP Taleeb Noormohamed made the surprise announcement at a meeting of the public safety committee this morning, tabling a motion to withdraw two sets of amendments known as G4 and G46. Following the withdrawal of the amendments the government's leader in the house of commons, Mark Holland, explained why they were backtracking.

It is not our intention to affect hunters. What we want to do is to make sure that assault weapons that we have seen used in mass shootings, like in the mosque in Quebec, or in the polytechnic and other places, are taken off the streets. It is not our intention to impact those who engage in hunting, nor firearms that are for hunting. We recognize and regret that the consultations that we did were not sufficient and there were gaps and problems in the amendments, and that is why we have withdrawn them and we want to make it very clear that our goal is to keep communities safe and to pursue the firearms that Canadians want removed, that is the priority.

The Liberals were also under pressure from many of their own MPs to change or withdraw the new definition of prohibited weapons.

MPs on the public safety committee unanimously agreed to the Liberal motion to withdraw the amendment.

Bill C-21 was introduced last May and aims to limit access to guns for people who pose a danger to themselves or others, and expand measures affecting the government-regulated ban on firearms.

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