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‘Chilling’: NFA president jokes about bringing guillotine back over gun control bill

Click to play video 'National Firearms Association president calls Liberal gun control bill ‘tyranny’; says he received suggestion to construct guillotines' National Firearms Association president calls Liberal gun control bill ‘tyranny’; says he received suggestion to construct guillotines
WATCH: National Firearms Association president calls Liberal gun control bill 'tyranny'; says he received suggestion to construct guillotines – Feb 17, 2021
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the comments were made during a taping of the NFATalk podcast, not a Zoom meeting.
The National Firearms Association (NFA) president is facing criticism after a video, apparently showing him and other board members joking about bringing back the guillotine, surfaced online.
In the video recorded during the NFATalks podcast on Wednesday, NFA president Sheldon Clare can be heard discussing a call he shared with an unnamed person who he said “suggested that we needed to revisit our old woodworking and metalworking skills and construct guillotines again.”

“And that that would really be the best kind of committee of public safety, to get that re-established,” Clare said. “They want to make it about public safety… that’s what this person told me.”

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Read more: Trudeau unveils details of ‘assault-style’ gun buyback program, municipal gun ban

NFA executive director Charles Zach can be seen in the video laughing at Clare’s remarks.

Clare’s comments come a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his government is launching the long-promised buyback program for what he has described as “assault” or “assault-style” firearms.

The program is one of several new gun control measures promised by the federal Liberals in the 2019 election campaign, and follows the announcement of an executive order last May that changed the classification listings to prohibit roughly 1,500 “assault-style” weapons.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Trudeau said his government will also increase criminal penalties for gun smuggling and trafficking, and enhance the capacity of police and border officials to keep illegal firearms out of the country.

Click to play video 'PM Justin Trudeau unveils new legislation to crack down on gun violence' PM Justin Trudeau unveils new legislation to crack down on gun violence
PM Justin Trudeau unveils new legislation to crack down on gun violence – Feb 17, 2021

“At the same time we will also create new offences for altering the cartridge magazine of a firearm and introduce tighter restrictions on importing ammunition,” the prime minister said.

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Trudeau said the federal government will also support municipalities to ban handguns through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation.

He said they are “backing up the cities with serious federal and criminal penalties” to “enforce these bylaws including jail time for people who violate these municipal rules.”

In the video, Clare said what is happening is “tyranny.”

Canadians “know tyranny when they see it,” he said. “And this, my friends, is tyranny.”

‘Chilling’

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Liberal Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington, Pam Damoff, called Clare’s remarks “chilling.”

Read more: Feds dig in on support for cities looking to ban handguns, despite provincial pushback

“Members of the Canadian gun lobby laugh about constructing guillotines for Committee of Public Safety of which I am a member,” she wrote.

“Shame on all of you.”

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A request for further comment was sent to Damoff, but was not immediately answered.

Click to play video 'Trudeau unveils details of ‘assault-style’ gun buyback program and municipal gun ban' Trudeau unveils details of ‘assault-style’ gun buyback program and municipal gun ban
Trudeau unveils details of ‘assault-style’ gun buyback program and municipal gun ban – Feb 16, 2021

However, in an email to Global News Tuesday afternoon, Clare clarified that the comment was made to him “in the context that the guillotine was a tool used in revolutionary France by the Committee of Public Safety to deal with tyranny” and that “the civil disarmament agenda of the past sixty years represented tyranny that warranted a like response.”

Clare said he believes the person who made the remarks to him was “sincerely angry” about the order in May and Bill C-21.

“Gun control has never been about public safety,” Clare said. “It has always been about civil disarmament.”

Clare said he does not know how anyone could think he was telling a joke, adding that he was “merely relating an example of the anger that is seething out there over what many are rightly seeing as tyranny.”

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— With files from Global News’ Amanda Connolly