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INT’L – RETAILERS – As Ottawa irons out details of its proposed assault-rifle ban, new weapons are coming to market

Wolverine Supplies, one of Canada’s largest independent gun retailers, celebrated Valentine’s Day with a risky product announcement. After a year of research and development, the Manitoba-based gun shop sent an e-mail to customers unveiling its latest innovation, the WS-MCR, a semi-automatic rifle with a pistol grip, AR-15-type magazine and free-floating hand guard. It is virtually identical to another rifle developed by Wolverine’s founder and in-house designer, John Hipwell, that became one of the best-selling guns in the country. The WS-MCR should be destined for similar fortunes, but for one Howitzer-sized caveat: It is precisely the kind of gun that the Liberal government promised to ban during last fall’s election campaign. Mr. Hipwell is undeterred. “We can’t just stop looking for new products and ways to expand just because of some rumours about what might be banned,” said Mr. Hipwell, founder of the store and a prominent member of the country’s firearms retail community. “I still have to live. I still have a mortgage to pay.” As the Liberal government irons out details of its proposed assault-rifle ban, new models continue to hit the market, sowing greater confusion over what might be banned and when. One gun-control advocate says the government should impose an immediate suspension on new sales of certain semi-automatic rifles like the WS-MCR.  [full article]

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