As 2020 drags on, we’ve had lots of wild headlines, but for Canadian gun-owners, one constant storyline has played in the background. The Liberal government’s sweeping firearms ban in May spawned a saga of continuous twists and turns. Now, it looks like Alberta’s provincial government may be gearing up for a scrap with the feds on this issue.
On May 1, Canada’s Liberal-led federal government announced it would prohibit a wide range of tactical and hunting rifles. These rifles, many of them formerly non-restricted, would be outlawed for future use. Initially, the feds said they were banning 1,500 different firearms; closer examination of their list showed things such as websites and a coffee company. Despite the obvious rush job on the ban (prepared by Order In Council, not parliamentary debate), it’s still going ahead. Now, the government is looking for a private partner to design and possibly run a buyback program. Instead of making concessions to a Petition E-2341, with more than 175,000 signatures asking the government to stop banning firearms without debate, the Liberals say they instead plan to further restrict handguns.
That’s the story from the feds, but some provinces see otherwise. Saskatchewan’s provincial government already voiced its concern and appointed a new Chief Firearms Officer. Now, on November 9, the Alberta Firearms Advisory Committee said it’s looking for public input on the gun ban’s impact.
As per Kaycee Madu, Alberta’s minister of justice and solicitor general: “The Government of Alberta is committed to protecting public safety and ensuring law-abiding firearms owners are respected.Recent legislation announced by the federal government would punish hard-working farmers, hunters and other lawful gun owners, while failing to address the true problem: the flow of illegal firearms throughout Canada from south of the border. Albertans must be heard, and these consultations will help Alberta’s government develop a responsible firearms-use policy that deters criminals without attacking law-abiding gun owners – and in turn free up the courts for serious matters.”
Voice your opinion
The Alberta Firearms Advisory Committee is planning two townhall-style telephone meetings to discuss the matter, on November 17 and 23. The committee is also setting up an online survey about the issue, which closes December 6. What will Alberta’s government do with the information they gather? Committee chair Michaela Glasgo, MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat, uses fairly aggressive language in the press release: “This engagement will help the committee develop recommendations on how the province of Alberta can better assert itself in areas of provincial jurisdiction. Alberta’s long history of responsible firearms ownership by law-abiding citizens deserves respect; so do Albertans’ property rights …”
In other words, Alberta is looking to put together its own, sensible firearms policies.