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Montreal Canadiens superstar goalie Carey Price’s stance on gun control sparks backlash

Montreal Canadiens‘ goalie Carey Price is speaking out against the current gun control debate in Ottawa.

In an Instagram post published Saturday, Price wrote in part: “I love my family, I love my country and I care for my neighbour. I am not a criminal or a threat to society. What Justin Trudeau is trying to do is unjust. I support the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights to keep my hunting tools.”

The accompanying picture shows Price with a hunting rifle.

The post went up just a few days before the 33rd anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre, one of Canada’s worst mass shootings.

READ MORE: ‘Anti-feminist attack’– École Polytechnique plaque changes reference to massacre

A lone man entered the school on Dec. 6, 1989, and fatally shot 14 women. Several others were injured, including Nathalie Provost.

“I think his comment just adds confusion to a very complex debate,” said Provost who is also a spokesperson for gun-control group PolySeSouvient. “I’m very sad that he did it because he’s a real Canadian symbol, and people love him and believe in this guy.“

Provost says the publication suggests that those in favour of gun control are against hunting, when it’s not the case.

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“We are for a better control and what we want is safety for all Canadians and assault-style weapons are extremely dangerous,” Provost added.

In late November, the Liberal government proposed an amendment to the government’s gun control bill C21, which defines what an assault-style weapon is.

It includes a clause that would ban any rifle or shotgun that could potentially accept a magazine with more than five rounds.

The proposal is currently being studied by the House of Commons’ public safety committee.

It builds on a regulatory ban of more than 1,500 models of what the government considers assault firearms.

Critics disagree with the definition in the amendment and defend Price’s comment.

“The proposed definition is so vast that it opens the door to targeting several models of semi-automatic weapons. That’s how hunting rifles are being targeted,” said Stéphanie Vadnais with the Quebec Federation of Hunters and Fishermen.

“Carey Price is saying out loud what many Quebec hunters think.”

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Meanwhile, Canada’s minister of public safety argues they are not targeting law-abiding gun owners.

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“But rather those AR-15 style guns which have been used in some of the worst shooting tragedies in the country’s history, including at Polytechnique,” said Marco Mendicino.

“I would say that based on the images that we’ve seen, that the gun in Carey Price’s social media post is legal and will continue to be legal. Even after we passed Bill C21.”

As for Price, France Margaret Bélanger, Groupe CH’s president, told Radio-Canada that he wasn’t aware the Polytechnique shooting had happened.

Later in the day, Price took to Twitter to double down on his message.

“My views are my own and I do believe in them. The only reason I bring up this issue is because it is what’s being brought up now and not out of disrespect to anyone,” he said in part.

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In a second tweet he wrote: “I continue to stand beside my fellow hunters and sport shooters who have legally acquired our property and use it in a safe manner.”

Price also said he didn’t agree with the “POLY” promotional code the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, a gun lobby, had created a few days before, offering a discount over the purchase of their merchandise.

Read more: Polytechnique shooting survivor objects to firearm coalition’s ‘disrespectful’ sales promotion

The gun lobby defended the use of their code but wouldn’t respond to questions of whether the organization was in touch with Price before his post went up or if it asked for his help.

“Our promo code was in no way a reference to the tragedy at Ecole Polytechnique. It was a two-week-old response to a Twitter account (@PolySeSouvient) criticizing us for fundraising. Any suggestion to the contrary is blatantly false,” wrote in an email Rod M. Giltaca, CEO and executive director of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights.

In another tweet, the Montreal Canadiens’ posted a statement confirming Price was unaware of the timing of his statement and of the promotional code.

“The Montreal Canadiens wish to express their sincere apology to any and all who have been offended or upset by the discourse that has arisen over this matter in recent days.”

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The statement continued saying the organization has made a donation to Polytechnique’s “Week of the White Rose” campaign to send 14 underprivileged girls to Polytechnique’s science summer camp.