Last year, the Corner Brook man initiated an e-petition to have the current classification of the AR-15 — as the weapon is commonly referred to — changed from being considered a restricted weapon under federal law.
The online petition garnered a record 25,249 supportive signatures and was presented to the House of Commons by British Columbia Conservative MP Bob Zimmer in May 2016.
Not all that surprisingly though, the Liberal government never changed the rifle’s classification.
The Conservative Party of Canada is now in the midst of choosing its next leader. Among the candidates, Maxime Bernier has come out and said he would support a reclassification of the AR-15 should he win the leadership and someday become prime minister.
Bennett said Bernier is more of a libertarian than a true conservative and thinks he’s not just grandstanding to try to garner votes from others who believe the AR-15 should be more accessible.
Other candidates may possibly also be supportive, but Bennett feels Bernier has listened to the discussion and believes the AR-15 is unjustly classified because it looks more menacing than it actually is.
Bennett and those who supported his petition feel the AR-15 is no more dangerous than many other guns that do not have the restricted classification. He doesn’t think deeming it restricted prevents someone with criminal intent from carrying out their fiendish plans.
He noted how Bernier also supports abortion, legalizing cannabis and gay marriage, which is unlike many true-blooded conservatives.
“I think he’s looking at it for the personal freedom and property rights platform that his ideology coincides with,” said Bennett.
A libertarian, added Bennett, is typically someone who acts on their beliefs.
The trick, he said, will be getting the Conservative party to choose Bernier as their leader.
“If he does actually pull this off and gets the leadership, I think a lot of Liberals will transfer their votes over to Bernier because, when it comes to a libertarian, they want to get things done,” said Bennett.