Politics

'Bad, scary' guns amendment shot down by Tories

The Conservatives shot down an NDP amendment to the bill to end the long-gun registry, which would have kept sniper rifles registered. The bill is going back to the House without changes.
The Conservatives shot down an NDP amendment to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews' bill to end the long-gun registry, which would have kept sniper rifles registered. The bill is going back to the House without changes. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The bill to end the long-gun registry is heading back to the House without changes after Conservatives shot down an NDP amendment that would have kept sniper rifles registered.

The House public safety committee went clause by clause through the bill and voted to send it back to the House of Commons without changes. It's one of the last steps for the bill before it proceeds to the Senate.

The committee's chair, Kevin Sorenson, will present the report Wednesday.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen, who has voted in the past to end the registry, said he can't support a bill that will allow more urban assault rifles into society. He pointed to examples of rifles that are not made for hunting.

NDP MP Jack Harris referred to the type of weapon as "bad, scary" guns, which are unrestricted but had been tracked through the long-gun registry. Harris argued they fall outside the realm of prohibited weapons but are still something that should be registered.

Despite initial speculation the Conservatives might support the amendment, they voted it down with little debate.

"The government will not be supporting this amendment," Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner said.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who sponsored the bill, said the amendment is a separate issue from the bill.

The change could be handled in the enacting regulation, which deals with details not included in the legislation, although the committee's legal staff advised that the amendment was admissible in the committee's discussion.

"That's got nothing to do with bill C-19... And I wish people would stop confusing the two things," Toews said.

Sniper rifle used in Afghanistan

One of the examples Cullen gave is a sniper rifle that was used in Afghanistan to record the longest-distance kill ever, where the subject was 2.5 kilometres from the shooter.

"This is not what the hunters and farmers in my part of the world use when they’re going after moose or deer," Cullen said.

"We all claim to seek safer streets. This amendment allows us to do that."

Cullen says previous versions of the bill, one that was tabled in the Senate and Hoeppner's private member's bill, included this exclusion.

The government has said it's a defining moment for them. The Conservatives have long campaigned against the registry and promised in last spring's election to eliminate it. 

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