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Survivors, victims' loved ones call for stricter gun laws ahead of mass shooting anniversary

Last Updated Dec 3, 2018 at 9:55 am PST

(Cormac MacSweeney, 1310 News Photo)

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Those affected by some of Canada’s worst mass shootings are calling on federal politicians to take action.

Survivors and relatives of victims are urging them to strengthen a gun control bill that’s before parliament, and finally take action on assault weapons.

Their plea comes just days before the anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, which took place on Dec. 6, 1989. More than a dozen people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the university.

Heidi Rathjen, who survived that shooting, is critical of the way the Trudeau government has been following through on its promise to tackle gun violence

She and other say the federal government is doing the bare minimum to ensure its promise becomes a reality, and takes issue with “the foot dragging before a bill was finally tabled, with the weakness of the bill.”

Rathjen points to an increase in the number of gun-related homicides nation-wide.

“Canada’s gun homicide rate in 2017 has reached its highest rate in 25 years,” she said.

She’s now calling on senators to step in and take action to toughen up the federal gun control bill and bring in more restrictions on the transportation of guns and keeping track of sales.

Meaghan Hennegan, who was shot twice in the deadly Dawson College Shooting, also in Montreal, back in 2006, says for another year she is calling for a ban on assault weapons.

“There’s no reason anybody in this country needs an assault weapon,” she said.

The Trudeau government is currently consulting on that, but Hennegan is not holding her breath.

“I’m not very hopeful for it right now, if a lot of their discussion is just a pat on the head to try and placate us,” Hennegan said at a news conference Monday morning.

They argue if politicians want to deal with these issues, they have the ability to act quickly.