Photo from THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Elaine Thompson.

Alberta Justice Minister addresses federal firearm ban

Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer discusses Alberta’s standpoint on the issue.

On May 1, 2020 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a ban on some 1,500 makes and models of military-grade “assault-style” weapons in Canada.

This ban was considered effective immediately and saw that licensed gun owners will no longer be allowed to sell, transport, import or use these sorts of weapons in Canada.

However, the Government of Alberta is not pleased with this decision.

“We know that the overwhelming majority of firearms used criminally in Canada are smuggled in illegally from the United States. Instead of addressing this, Ottawa will instead spend vast sums of money to criminalize law-abiding Canadians,” said Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney. “That money would be far better used to pursue the smugglers and drug gangs that plague our society.”

Alberta’s Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer says that the Federal Government’s decision on banning these weapons failed to consider Alberta and the impact on rural Albertans.

“We get law abiding Albertans who know how to properly use firearms and feel like they’ve been turned into criminals overnight,” says Schweitzer.

The federal decision has the Alberta Government taking a serious look into setting up a Chief Firearms Officer (CFO).

Schweitzer says that Trudeau’s “tone deaf policy” was not designed for rural Albertans. The Government of Alberta doesn’t want to see raids on homes for firearms.

“We don’t want to be punishing law abiding citizens,” says Schweitzer.

As the Federal Government moves forward with the firearm ban, the Government of Alberta wants to place its focus on consistent policing procedures.

Part of this focus will be on funding for the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) that has been crucial for getting illegal guns and drugs off the street.

“We heard loud and clear from Albertans,” Schweitzer says in regards to the frustrations with the federal firearm ban. As part of their response to the ban, the Government of Alberta is currently developing a “common sense” policy towards firearms.

This policy will be put in place to help with rural Alberta values, gun education and responsible gun ownership.



shaela.dansereau@pipestoneflyer.ca

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