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Under pressure to clamp down on semi-automatic rifles, Trudeau defers to police

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says the police, not politicians, should be the ones to determine the restrictions placed on specific kinds of guns.

The prime minister’s comments come as wounded people and family members of those killed in the Quebec City mosque shooting urge him to outlaw military-style semi-automatic weapons.

Trudeau touts provisions of his government’s firearms bill that would restore the authority of RCMP experts to classify firearms without political influence, repealing cabinet’s authority to overrule Mountie determinations.

In a letter to Trudeau, more than 75 people express disappointment the bill does not ban semi-automatic rifles like the one carried by mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette, who killed six people and wounded many others.

Bissonnette began his January 2017 assault with a .223-calibre Small Arms VZ58 Sporter rifle, which is legal, along with two illegal 30-cartridge magazines.

The rifle jammed on the first shot, and Bissonnette then used a handgun, but the letter asks how much worse the carnage could have been had Bissonnette’s rifle been working.

— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter

The Canadian Press

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