Jean Charest in Calgary, Alberta on Thursday, March 10, 2022. The Conservative leadership candidate says he wouldn't change Canada's existing gun laws — including when it comes to a ban on 'assault-style' firearms.

By Stephanie TaylorThe Canadian Press

Thu., March 17, 20221 min. read

OTTAWA – Conservative leadership candidate Jean Charest says he wouldn’t change Canada’s existing gun laws — including when it comes to a ban on “assault-style” firearms.

Charest says in a wide-ranging interview that when it comes to gun control he believes the focus should be on stopping the flow of handguns coming into Canada from across the border.

Asked specifically about the Liberal government’s ban on some 1,500 models of firearms, he said he is “not seeking to change the laws as they are.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced the prohibition in May 2020 that has been rejected by many Conservatives and firearms-owner advocacy groups who make up part of the party’s base.

The federal Liberal government recently extended a two-year amnesty period for those who own the firearms covered by the ban until October 2023.

Trudeau has also pledged to bring in a buyback program.

During the last federal election, the Conservatives saw themselves stumble in the race after former leader Erin O’Toole backtracked on a platform promise to repeal the ban on so-called “assault-style” firearms, like the AR-15.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2022.

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