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As many of you know – the Conservative Party of Canada (Parti conservateur du Canada) is slated to select its next leader on May 27th, 2017. Currently there are twelve candidates vying for this incredibly important position as not only leader of the CPC, but leader of the Official Opposition in Ottawa. We decided reach out to every single candidate to see where they stood on issues that were important to millions of Canadian firearm owners.

Erin O’Toole Opposition Critic for Public Safety (2015-2016) Minister of Veterans Affairs (2015-2015) MP Riding of Durham (2012-Present) Canadian Forces Decoration for 12 years of service to Canada (RCAF, Rank of Captain)

Do you think Canada’s existing gun laws need to be rewritten?

Canada is a nation with proud rural and outdoor traditions. Learning to hunt or target shoot with a family member is a way of life for millions of Canadians and must be respected. Firearm owners, be they hunters, farmers or sport shooters are among the most law-abiding citizens in Canada.

As Prime Minister, I will end the politicization of firearms and rollback measures that have no impact on public safety. Within 180 days of forming government, I will overhaul the classification system,with manufacturers and firearm owners involved in the process, to ensure that it is clear, fair and has law-abiding firearm owners directly involved in the process.

Should the RCMP continue to be the body in charge of firearms regulation in Canada? I believe that the final authority for classification decisions should be the cabinet. It is essential that these important decisions are made by people who are directly accountable to Canadians. I will also mandate a return to the 180-day period for the re-designed classification system to release firearm import decisions.

Do you think self-defense is a legitimate reason for firearms possession?

Canadians have many reasons to own firearms. I don’t believe that it is the government’s place to decide which reasons are okay as long as they are lawful.

It is important for the resources of the federal government to be focused on criminals engaged in the trafficking and use of illegal firearms instead of imposing more layers of bureaucracy on law-abiding Canadians. That’s why I support specialized illegal firearms enforcement led by the CBSA and RCMP working closely with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States, to target smuggling operations before illegal firearms reach the border.

Do you believe the AR-15 should remain restricted?

I believe that the current classification system needs to be re-examined. I’ll commission an expert-driven redesign of firearm classification based on a clear legislative definition of the term “variant” in consultation with manufacturers, owners and law enforcement. It is essential that these decisions are made by firearms experts based on facts, not politics.

Will you commit to removing sound suppressors from the prohibited devices list? Further to that, what are your thoughts around magazine size restrictions?

Magazine size restrictions are a perfect example of arbitrarily imposed and poorly worded regulations. The criminalization of law abiding owners of 10/22 magazines is just the latest example. The classification system needs to be re-examined through an expert-driven redesign of firearm classification based on a clear legislative definition of the term “variant” in consultation with manufacturers, owners and law enforcement.

Will you commit to ensure that no existing non-restricted firearms, restricted firearms or devices would be classified as prohibited under your leadership?

I believe that the final authority for classification decisions should be the cabinet. It is essential that these important decisions are made by people who are accountable to Canadians. A cabinet under my leadership would look with great skepticism at any arbitrary recommendations for further prohibition.

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