O'Toole supports assault weapons ban but challenges 'defund the police' movement
O'Toole has remained evasive about the party's stance on gun control, but it is rapidly switching to a firmer stance on the police.
"I want to make my position on firearms perfectly clear. First, the ban on assault weapons will remain in place. Second, the present ban on a number of other firearms that were reclassified in 2020 will remain in place," he told reporters in Vancouver.
At a French-language debate on Thursday, O'Toole said he would maintain a ban on assault weapons.
O'Toole's also added that "...we're maintaining the status quo that's in place right now," while simultaneously promising of a "public, transparent" review of Canada's gun classification system, a step he said will depoliticize gun regulation.
"Our intention is to take the politics out of this, because Mr. Trudeau has divided rural versus urban, he has demonized, in some cases, farmers, hunters, sport shooters and actually ignored the real problem of rising smuggling and organized gang activity," he said. He is still set to scrap Bill C-71, which expanded background checks for people seeking gun licenses as well as record-keeping requirements for gun sellers.
At the same time, however, O'Toole also made comments about hiring more police than ever before to fight gun smuggling, street gangs and illegal drug sales. Most of those officers would be deployed to the Greater Toronto Area and British Columbia's Lower Mainland, he said, and would work with American agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement to fight gun smuggling.
"We have Liberal and NDP candidates who are running in this election who think we need to defund the police. I couldn't disagree more. We need more police officers, not fewer," he said.