Public Safety Minister to address new federal firearms bill

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is set to appear before a House of Commons public safety committee today to address the federal government's new firearms bill.

More than 75 people have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to amend the legislation to ban assault weapons like the one used by the Quebec City mosque shooter.

Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty in March to six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder for his rampage in January of last year, which he began with a .223-calibre Small Arms VZ58 Sporter rifle, which is legal.

When the rifle jammed on the first shot, he turned to a handgun and five 10-bullet magazines.

The letter asks how much worse the carnage could have been had Bissonnette's rifle been working.

The federal bill introduced in March has been criticized by other gun-control advocates as too weak, while some firearms owners have called the legislation a misguided attempt to revive the long-gun registry.

The letter suggests the absence of explicit new curbs on access to assault weapons could be a result of the government bowing to firearms advocates.