Official of Quebec City mosque where 6 killed urges passage of gun law

'We don't need weapons of war,' says mosque’s co-founder.

Official of Quebec City mosque where 6 killed urges passage of gun law

The co-founder of the Quebec City mosque where six worshippers were killed in a deadly shooting spree in 2017 urged Canadian lawmakers Thursday to toughen and pass a proposed gun bill.

Boufeldja Benabdallah said Bill C-21 should include a ban on assault-style semi-automatic weapons "that are not reasonably used for hunting. We don't need weapons of war."

Alexandre Bissonnette approached the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City on Jan. 29, 2017 as evening prayers ended. Attempting to unleash a barrage of bullets using a semi-automatic .223 rifle that fortunately jammed, he grabbed his 9-mm semi-automatic Glock handgun.

In under two minutes, he killed six worshippers and wounded 19, five seriously. It remains the worst shooting in a religious setting in Canadian history.

The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally banned about 1,500 types of firearms in May 2020. The government said the weapons, which included the AR-15 (America's most popular rifle) and the Ruger Mini-14, were not needed for hunting.

When Benabdallah appeared Thursday before the House of Commons public safety committee studying Bill C-21, he said Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino assured him earlier that an amendment to clearly define and outlaw assault-style weapons was forthcoming.

“The government needs to do this, and I’m confident because we discussed it verbally with Mr. Mendicino when he came to the mosque,” he said.

The bill would also outlaw the purchase, sale, import and transfer of ownership of handguns in Canada.

Hüseyin Demir

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