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Derek Sloan, Belleville-area Liberal association feud over MP’s gun stance

Belleville Ont., area MP Sloan and local Liberal association feud over gun stance
WATCH: The Hastings–Lennox and Addington Federal Liberal Association takes aim at MP Derek Sloan for stance on guns.

The chair of the Hastings–Lennox and Addington Federal Liberal Association is accusing MP Derek Sloan of transforming the riding into “Trump’s America” after recent comments he made about the federal government’s assault-style weapons ban.

The rookie MP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington has been vocal on social media and through his supporter bulletin, saying he is opposed to the Trudeau government’s ban on 1,500 assault-style firearms.

“The type of guns that were banned, there’s no rhyme or reason to the ones they chose to do versus the ones they didn’t. It’s as if they wanted to be seen to be doing something to appease the city voter,” Sloan said via Skype.

READ MORE: Canada’s gun ban has some owners confused, angry. Here’s what we know about the rules

On Thursday, Aline Lamere, chair of the Hastings–Lennox and Addington Federal Liberal Association, said Sloan’s stance on guns concerns many Liberals and Conservatives in the riding.

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“We’re hearing also from some Conservatives that they have some concern with the direction that he wants to take us about a lot of things, but it’s gun control this time,” said Lamere.

Her comments come after Sloan was interviewed by the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights on Monday and addressed the impacts of the ban on legal gun owners, easing restrictions on using a firearm in self-defence and suggesting handguns should be a non-restricted weapon if properly licensed, among other topics.

“The problem we have is the direction, the U.S. style of the approach that Derek seems to have,” said Lamere.

Sloan reclaimed the riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington for the Conservatives last fall, bringing with him party leadership aspirations.

READ MORE: Majority of Canadians support new gun ban but want feds to focus on smuggling — Ipsos

Sloan says the Trudeau government’s ban on assault-style weapons and developing a buy-back program is overkill, saying the money can be used to fight gun-related crime and illegal smuggling.

“Some say six hundred million, some say a billion dollars to buy back. We don’t even know how many of these guns are outstanding, and the issue is there are things we can do right now that we know will impact gun-related crime,” said Sloan.

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According to a recent poll conducted by Ipsos exclusively for Global News, a third of Canadians believe the ban goes too far, eight in 10 say they agree with the move and about 70 per cent believe all handguns should be prohibited as well.

The poll, however, also shows that 87 per cent of Canadians agree with Sloan that the federal government should increase funding to prevent the smuggling of assault-style guns into Canada.

READ MORE: Legislation allowing cities to ban handguns to come, Trudeau says

As for the comments made by Lamere about his alleged Americanization of the riding, Sloan says there may be an election on the horizon and argues this is a possible political tactic to diminish his name in the area.

“I take a lot of this with a grain of salt and I get a laugh a little bit about it,” said Sloan.

He says he plans on addressing the comments in a video in the coming days.