January 21, 2020

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Gun-control activists say Liberal party has best platform on gun control

MONTREAL - The families of people killed in mass shootings in Quebec warned Tuesday that a vote for the Conservative party next Monday is a vote for the gun lobby.

"That's what we are telling Canadians," gun-control activist Heidi Rathjen told reporters. "If the Conservatives get in, the gun lobby will have won."

Rathjen is with PolySeSouvient, a gun-control group formed following the 1989 mass shooting at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique, during which 14 women were murdered. She was joined on Tuesday by family members of people killed in that shooting, as well as Boufeldja Benabdallah, president of the Quebec mosque where six men were shot dead in 2017.

The gun-control activists held a news conference to announce which political parties they thought had the best policies on firearms. Rathjen said the Liberals have the most precise gun-control policies.

"The Liberal party, the Bloc Quebecois, the New Democratic Party and the Green party all support gun control but the Liberal platform is the strongest," she said.

The Liberals' plan bans all so-called "military-style assault rifles," creates a gun buy-back program and seeks to give authority to municipalities to further restrict or ban handguns.

Conservatives are focused on punishing criminals as opposed to banning weapons. Tory leader Andrew Scheer has promised his government would impose mandatory minimum sentences for certain gun crimes and list known street gangs in the Criminal Code, similar to the way terror groups are identified.

Scheer called the Liberal plan "lazy and ineffective" because it creates more laws for law-abiding gun owners to follow, which he said are ignored by criminals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2019.

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