By David Ljunggren

VANCOUVER, Sept. 4 (Reuters) – The leader of Canada’s opposition Conservative Party, who has a chance to beat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an election, on Saturday dismissed accusations he plans to weaken the gun control, a potentially costly problem.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has been pressed repeatedly this week over her campaign pledge to overturn a 2020 ban on weapons such as the AR-15, used by a gunman to kill 26 adults and children during the Sandy Hook massacre in the United States in 2012.

O’Toole declined to answer questions directly, noting that he planned to maintain a separate 1977 ban on assault rifles.

“Erin O’Toole is ready to tell Canadians anything to get elected. He lied to Canadians about his intention to end the Liberal ban on assault weapons, ”the Liberals said in a statement on Saturday.

Gun control is a sensitive issue in Canada, especially following a number of high profile murders. In April 2020, a man killed 22 people in an outbreak https://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-crime-novascotia/nova-scotia-gunman-killed-9-of-his-22 -victims-by-set-fire-at-their-police-say-idUSKCN22A3K6-homes in the province of Nova Scotia, killing 13 of them.

Over the years, Liberal governments have tightened gun control laws, which are stricter than those in the United States. Some Conservatives complain that the measures are too restrictive and unnecessarily penalize farmers and hunters.

“It’s very upsetting to see Mr. Trudeau trying to import American-style politics, especially on a public safety issue,” O’Toole told reporters in Vancouver, saying a big problem was arms smuggling from the United States.

O’Toole also promises a review of how guns are classified as dangerous in Canada.

The 2020 ban https://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-guns/canada-bans-assault-style-weapons-in-aftermath-of-mass-shooting-idUSKBN22D62V affected 11 categories of rifles assault and other weapons, including the Ruger Mini-14 rifle, used in a mass shooting in Montreal in 1989 in which 14 women were killed.

Trudeau called the September 20 snap election, two years ahead of schedule, on the grounds that he needed public approval for his plans to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. But amid the dissatisfaction with the call and voter fatigue, he slips.

An Ekos poll on Saturday gave Conservatives 35% public support, Liberals 28.8% and left-wing New Democrats 19.6%, enough to give O’Toole a minority administration and end six years of Trudeau’s reign. (Reporting by David Ljunggren in Vancouver Editing by Matthew Lewis)


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